Footballs in a training session

Safeguarding Visits: What good looks like

As part of our commitment to safeguarding young people in the game we (West Riding FA) routinely undertake Safeguarding Reviews with clubs which have youth teams.  

How are clubs selected for a Safeguarding review? 

Clubs are selected based on the following criteria: 

- Randomly selected from clubs who have not had a visit within the last 3 years or;
- Clubs with a high number of poor practice referrals and/or; 
- Clubs with a high number of safeguarding referrals and/or;
- Clubs with a high number of disciplinary referrals

What does a Safeguarding view involve?

A Safeguarding Review is split into two sections: 

Section 1:

Desktop Review – This involves conducting a detailed review of the club’s polices and processes relating to safeguarding. Clubs should have the following in place: 

- Club Portal – Ensuring all coaches are listed against youth teams and all coaches and officials meet the minimum safeguarding requirements for their role 
- A transparent and accessible Safeguarding Children policy – Either the FA Safeguarding Children Policy Template or bespoke policy which aligns with the FA Safeguarding Children Policy.
- Named roles on the Clun Committee included on Club Portal with a named Club Welfare Officer 
- Transparent and accessible contact details for the Club Welfare Officer 
- Transparent and accessible policy and process for how to report a concern including reference to the West Riding FA and FA referral processes 
- Transparent and accessible policy and process how to report a concern about the welfare of a child including who to contact at the club 
- Transparent and accessible Complaints Policy and procedure
- Transparent and accessible Codes of Conducts 
- Transparent and accessible Codes of Conduct and clear process to deal with breaches 

In addition, where applicable, a review all club managed social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) will be undertaken. The review is intended to highlight best practice in safeguarding and identify any poor practice in terms of imagery, language etc. 

You will find all polices and guidance you need at the bottom of this page. 

Section 2:

Face to face visit (announced or unannounced).

Members of West Riding FA Safeguarding Team will visit the clubs at either training or on a match day to speak with coaches, parents and players regarding the safeguarding culture at the club. The discussion will be fluid but will include the following questions: 

- Who is the Club Welfare Officer and how would you contact them? 
- Who would you speak to if you had a concern involving a child or the environment created for children at the club?
- If you felt your concerns weren’t being managed by the club, who would you speak to? 
- How would you describe the culture at the club? 
- How does the club re-enforce the standards of behaviour expected of members?
- How does the club introduce new members into the club? 
- What information were you give when you joined the club? 

What happens after the review has taken place? 

Following the Safeguarding Visit and Desktop Review the club will either be marked as ‘meets the Standard’ or ‘working towards the standard’ and will be informed accordingly:

- Meets the Standard: The club satisfies the criteria listed.

- Working Towards the Standard: There is an absence of information available at the desktop review or following information presented at the face to face meeting. The club will be issued with a action plan that clearly details the steps they need to take to meet the standard. The action plan is live for 2 months from the date of issue allowing clubs time to action the requirements. During the period of the action plan, the club will be supported by the Designated Safeguarding Officer (Paul Ratcliffe) and National Safeguarding Officer (Gemma Webster) who will provide guidance on how to bring the action plan to life. 

What happens if the club fails to meet the standard after being issued an action plan?

Invariably, if the club works in partnership with West Riding FA to achieve the Action Plan, the club will meet the standard. If the club chooses not to engage in the process and continues to be non-compliant, the club will be suspended and unable to participate in any organised football.