HAMPSHIRE RUGBY

PRINCIPAL SPONSORS

SnowsNewRFullers


Dear Club Chairs and Directors of Rugby

 

Ahead of the opening of the new season 2017, so that we can all have a confident and effective start to the season, I would like to remind you of your statutory obligations under the duty of care you have to all the players at your club under the age of 18 years:

 

You MUST appoint a Club Safeguarding Officer (CSO) (or Team) who MUST compile a list of all adults who work regularly with children or who may have unsupervised access to children or their details. This is called the Children’s Workforce List (CWL).  Ideally, the CSO or member of his/her team should be able to be available on a Sunday when the majority of young players are present. This CSO (and his/her team members) MUST be DBS checked themselves. This is not optional. Your club cannot operate a Youth Section without a trained CSO in post. Your club is legally responsible for the safety and welfare of the children in its care during stated training or game times and any touring time away from the club: therefore it is your LEGAL responsibility to ensure your CSO is supported to undertake this role effectively in your club. It is not sufficient to appoint someone and then abdicate all responsibility.

 

All CSO’s and their team members MUST attend the Play It Safe course and the In Touch course and must be trained to use the Disclosures website in order to access on-line DBS checking facilities. The workload on CSO’s is generally too much for one person, especially in clubs with large youth sections. Please support your CSO in identifying at least a deputy, or even a team. A First Aid Coordinator should form part of this team: all clubs should have one.

 

ALL adults on the above mentioned list MUST be DBS checked by the RFU BEFORE they commence any responsibilities towards the children, including team managers, coaches, coaching assistants, first aiders, database holders, tour organisers etc. This is also not optional. If you cannot guarantee that a person will NEVER have unsupervised access to a child then GET THEM CHECKED as a volunteer. It costs you nothing. Conversely, when things go wrong and a child is affected by your club’s lack of care in this area, it costs the child everything.

 

All children who are being proposed to play out of age grade MUST FIRST be assessed for suitability by an impartial Level 2 coach (or above). The RDO’s and their teams can help with these assessments if you are unsure if your L2 Coach is experienced or impartial enough. Once assessed as suitable for playing up or down, each player must then have a consent form filled in, signed up and copied to me. There are different rules for playing up or down an age grade, all explained clearly in Regulation 15* and in the guidance to support this regulation. The player needs a new form and a new assessment EACH season.

 

(*Please note – there are some significant changes to Regulation 15 this summer (Aug 2017), which we will be discussing at length at the Youth Forum at Eastleigh on 11th September

 – please ensure you have a representative from your club attending).

 

All Youth tours (in the UK or out of the country, any age group) MUST have a signed tour checklist plus list of travelling players BEFORE any age group coaches take children away on behalf of your club (available from the HRFU website under “Safeguarding” - https://www.hampshirerugby.co.uk/safeguarding/tours.html - all tour guidance and paperwork is there). This also applies to any under 18’s on an adult tour. Remember: these are other people’s children, not yours.

 

With all the bad weather in the winter, many age groups head to drier ground in order to get some game play or training time. If ANY coaches are going to take young players off site for this reason some basic common sense needs to be applied: stick to safeguarding ratios of at least 1 adult to 10 players, no lone adults in charge of children, ensure any adults are DBS checked, make sure a first aider is present, do a risk assessment of the park/common/field you are going to use (dog mess, broken glass, is it council land, if so they need to be notified...) and ensure age group coaches LET THE CLUB KNOW where they are taking those children and when, to ensure liability cover. As long as the club approves it then the normal playing insurances will apply, but of course the club will be held accountable for having done these basic checks in the first place. Remember: these are not YOUR kids; you cannot do what you like with them!

 

If you haven’t had a Play It Safe course held at your club recently (in the last 2 years) I would suggest you think about arranging one as soon as possible, making it mandatory for all key age group coaches/coaching assistants/team managers in your club to attend. I would also like to see more Chairs/Directors of Rugby attending these courses so they can better understand the responsibility their club has regarding safeguarding our young players. The course is now totally rugby specific and has changed a great deal since its inception.

 

The RFU has asked me undertake a Safeguarding Audit in every club in Hampshire over a three year cycle: we are almost through this cycle and some clubs are now experiencing their second audits. Your CSO will be working live with the audit from the beginning of the season, you should minute at Senior Committee meetings how this is going. A successful Safeguarding Audit is required for a successful RFU Accreditation or Renewal. If I haven’t visited your club yet I hope to see you this season: your CSO should have the Audit template to help you prepare, and in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me with any queries.

 

PLEASE ensure your club is compliant and has not left any room for individuals with alternative agendas towards children to find a way to gain access to the children in your club.

 

Definitions:

 

Legal Duty of Care

A duty of care is a statute imposed under Civil Law. It means that a sports body needs to take such measures as are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that individuals will be safe to participate in an activity to which they are invited to or which is permitted.

 

When children, young people or vulnerable adults are involved in organised sports activities and are to any extent under the care and/or control or one or more adults, the adult(s) have a legal duty of care to ensure their safety and welfare.

 

Liability for the legal duty of care arises when an incident occurs and it can be demonstrated that the risk was foreseeable, but no action had been taken to remedy it.

 

Within the sporting environment the duty of care would start by ensuring the activity is authorised by sport and that the coaches etc are qualified for the task and that the activity is managed in a safe manner throughout.

 

It is expected that any club or association would adhere to the National Governing Body (NGB, in our case, the RFU) policies and procedures and incorporate reference to them in the club constitution.

 

Legal negligence may occur when

  • the legal duty of care to keep participants safe at all times and to eliminate all dangers is not followed
  • NGB policies and procedures are not followed

 

 

Our CB has really excelled over the last 18 months in the effective management of return to play after concussive injuries and we are justly proud of our achievements in this area. Please can I remind everyone to ensure that suspected or confirmed concussions for ADULTS OR YOUTH are reported in to HRFU according to the protocol described at:  https://www.hampshirerugby.co.uk/safeguarding/1st-adi-advice.html and can I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their actions in this regard.

 

Kind regards,

 

Michele Amos

Hampshire RFU Safeguarding Manager

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