Dear Club Chairperson
I would like to thank you once again for the excellent work you and your club colleagues have undertaken in recent months to ensure that the safeguards we have in place to protect children within the game are as robust as they possibly can be. The progress you have collectively made is extremely encouraging and we can now prepare for the new season with a real sense of optimism.
I last wrote to you and your club colleagues back in January to introduce the Club Safeguarding Visits that County FAs were being asked to undertake. The programme of visits, which will close within the next few weeks, has been extremely successful with almost 1,800 teams visited, 3,400 parents consulted and 2,400 coaches engaged. The feedback from clubs has been that the visits are a welcome opportunity for club and County FA representatives to meet, so I can confirm that they will they will now be repeated by each County FA each season.
Whilst reviewing the feedback collected from clubs during these visits, it has become evident that many club officials, (particularly those operating as club committee members feel concerned by their own lack of knowledge of safeguarding matters. This is an understandable concern and one which my team take very seriously. Given this and that all clubs signed up to the Safeguarding Commitment Statement in December 2016, which included training for committee members, it is important that we make available to you the tools you require to carry out your safeguarding responsibilities with confidence.
To that end I am delighted to confirm that The FA has worked with club officials to develop an easy to access online Safeguarding for Committee Members course designed specifically for key club officials (namely club secretaries, chairpersons, welfare officers and treasurers). I wrote out to the club secretaries of all youth clubs last week to inform them of the new course and am delighted to confirm that almost 1,000 club officials have already completed it. Feedback from club secretaries over the past week has been extremely positive; a typical example being that received from Neddingworth Colts FC’s Elsie Rundle, who wrote, ‘I have just completed the Committee Members' Safeguarding Course online. I think it's a brilliant idea. In my current roles within football I have never had to complete one of these before. I think it's a very good way of bringing the safety of our players to everyone's attention and reminding us of our roles and responsibilities’.
The course, which is free of charge, includes;
· a reflection on what makes an effective club committee
· a consideration of the role of the committee in protecting children
· advice on how to build a safe club
· advice on how to recognise and report harm and abuse
The course is typically taking between 40 and 75 minutes to complete and has been developed in such a way to allow you to complete it in separate sittings should that be more convenient for you. On completing the course you will be able to download a certificate to demonstrate successful completion. Guidance is available to help you access and complete the course, including FAQs which are attached to this email.
To provide a consistent level of understanding across all youth clubs, it has been decided that successful completion of the course is mandatory for specific committee roles. A minimum of three officers, including club secretaries, club chairpersons and club welfare officers will need to complete this for affiliation to be approved in 2017-18 season and this will increase to a minimum of four officers and include the club treasurer, for affiliation periods from 2018-19 season onwards. Other club officials may also access the course although for them it is entirely optional at this stage. Please remember that as this course deals specifically with the responsibilities of acting as a club committee member, you will still be required to undertake any other safeguarding training as required for other roles you may have within your club.
The course can be accessed using the following link https://learning.thefa.com/enrol/index.php?id=308 – should you require any guidance accessing it please use the short e-learning resource which you can find here.
Thanks once again for your on-going support in these matters and please free to send me through any feedback you may have regarding the course content and process.