Safeguarding advice for parents and carers

At Sport England we're working towards an active nation where everyone feels able to do sport and activity, no matter what their age, background or gender.

Parents and carers play an essential part in encouraging and supporting their child to be active and play sport.  

Rights and responsibilities

It's your right as a parent or carer to be able to check how well a sport/activity provider operates – for the sake of your child's safety and your peace of mind. Below we cover the key points you should consider when choosing a sports club, coached session or activity. It's also important to consider what impact you as a parent will have on how your child experiences sport. 

Selecting a club or activity provider

These are the key points you should check when choosing a sports club/provider or activity for your child:

  • Has the club or organisation achieved a sports body or local council accreditation (such as Clubmark) that's up to date? If so, then this can be viewed as evidence that the club or organisation has attained a certain level of safe practices as assessed by the awarding body
  • The Club Matters portal provides a list of all Clubmark-accredited clubs and is a good starting point for finding a club
  • If your sport is recognised but your club hasn’t achieved Clubmark, please follow the quick checklist under the 'assessing a club or activity provider' heading below and encourage your club to achieve Clubmark
  • If the club/provision is martial arts, they can work towards the Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts, whether or not they are eligible for Clubmark. Details can be found here

Assessing a club or activity provider

Even if a club is accredited, you should check that the organisation has:

  • A safeguarding policy, with a clear procedure for dealing with concerns or risks of abuse. You should be advised how you can access the policy
  • A named and contactable welfare officer responsible for the implementation of their safeguarding policy and dealing with issues relating to the protection of children, young people or adults in sport
  • Procedures for dealing with complaints or concerns regarding poor practice, abuse or neglect
  • Written standards of good practice, such as a code of conduct or behaviour
  • A parental consent and emergency details form that you must return to the club or activity provider
  • Safe recruitment procedures for those working with young people that include a clear job description, appropriate references, criminal records checks (e.g. DBS) for relevant posts and technical qualifications
  • Access to appropriate safeguarding or child protection training for its staff and volunteers.

Assessing a freelance coach or instructor

If you're looking at engaging a coach or instructor who operates outside the structure of a club or activity provider, you should check that they have:

  • A valid DBS which is relevant to their role
  • The relevant minimum qualifications for the role they're undertaking
  • A valid registration or licence from their governing body to coach, teach or instruct
  • A valid public liability insurance
  • Undertaken safeguarding training such as UK Coaching's Safeguarding and Protecting Children workshop, the Local Safeguarding Children's Board's basic awareness training. Or sport-specific training in line with their national governing body's guidelines

Remember, a well-run club or activity provider will welcome questions about their activities and policies. They'll know they have a responsibility to give this kind of information to anyone who leaves a child in their care.

For more information and support: