Safeguarding guidance for coaches, volunteers & clubs 

To get a useful overview of what safeguarding means in a sports setting check out this animation from the NSPCC.

Sport and physical activity help children to grow as individuals. They can also provide opportunities for enjoyment and achievement.  It’s important that organisations providing sport and physical activity operate in a safe and child-friendly way so that children can get the full benefits of involvement in an activity.

Having an understanding of good practice when coaching children, young people or vulnerable adults protects participants and providers alike. It also empowers everyone to make choices that create a positive sporting experience.

It’s the responsibility of everyone involved to ensure that activities are safe and fun!

Questions that should be considered when delivering sport or physical activity:

1. Do you have Clubmark?

Has your club achieved a quality standard such as Clubmark? If not contact your National Governing Body.

2. Are your coaches qualified?

All coaches should hold a current recognised National Governing Body qualification in the appropriate sport.

3. Do they have the appropriate training?

It’s recommended that coaches have attended safeguarding and child protection training.

4. Are coaches and club personnel suitable to work with children, young people and vulnerable adults?

All coaches and club personnel who have direct contact with children, young people and young people should have been appropriately screened. This should include:

5. Are the coaches insured?

Coaches should have up-to-date and appropriate insurance cover for the activity they are delivering

6. What is the player/coach ratio?

The ratio of coaches to participants varies from sport to sport and should be based on:

  • the age and ability of the participants
  • the risk involved in the activity
  • needs of anyone with disabilities in the group

Contact the sport’s National Governing Body for sport-specific guidance.

7. Does your club have medical registers for participants?

Clubs/organisations/coaches need to be aware of any medication that participants are taking.

Policies and procedures to look out for: 

National Governing Body Accreditation

Your club/organisation should have or be working towards National Governing Body Accreditation, or equivalent, that outlines minimum operating standards of the sport. National Governing Body Accreditation ensures that the club is committed to providing a safe, effective and child-friendly environment.

Child Protection Policy

Your club/organisation should have a child protection policy, which outlines procedures for dealing with possible abuse. Parents/carers should be aware of the policy and be able to view the policy on request.


Your club/organisation should have public liability insurance.

Code of conduct

Your club/organisation should have a written code of conduct for parents/carers, coaches, club staff/volunteers and participants.

Health and Safety

  • The premises/venue should satisfy fire regulations.
  • Mechanisms should be in place to ensure the safety of the venue and equipment.
  • Your club/organisation should issue a consent form for all new members requesting details of emergency contacts and medical history.

Your club/organisation should have:

  • somebody on site who holds a first aid qualification and has access to a first aid box
  • guidelines for dealing with injuries, including protocols for notifying emergency contacts and arrangements for medical assistance

What to do if you have any concerns:

Your club/organisation should have a designated Child Protection/Welfare Officer. They are the first point of contact if there are any concerns.  If you need help with anything else or need more information, please see the links below.

Football Coach Photo by Adrià Crehuet Cano on Unsplash

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