All Alliance Clubs should strive to have a Welfare Officer (WO) to ensure children’s welfare is prioritised at their club. This is a vitally important role in the Alliance’s safeguarding plan, and WOs make a real difference in clubs who welcome under-18s onto the mat.
The WO needs to be well supported by the club and have a formally recognised role within the club. It is the whole club’s responsibility to ensure children’s welfare and everyone has a role to play.
The WO plays a key role in advising the Club as a whole on its approach to welfare and safeguarding, and ensuring that this is monitored and reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Due to the nature of this role the WO, best practice suggests that he/she should have no relation to the Head Coach. In the interests of best practice, the WO should ideally be a separate role from coaching.
What does the Club Welfare Officer do?
- Assist the club to fulfil its responsibilities to safeguard children and young people.
- Assist the club to implement the Alliance Safeguarding Policies and Procedures.
- To identify which individuals in the club require a DBS check and to arrange this with their Association Safegarding Officer
- Be the first point of contact regarding concerns about children’s welfare, poor practice or child abuse.
- Be responsible for following Allicance policy and procedures especially in relation to safeguarding and in particular the reporting procedures.
- Maintain appropriate records and assessing information promptly and carefully, clarifying or obtaining more information about the matter as appropriate.
- Consult initially with statutory child protection agencies such as the local social services department or health board, or the NSPCC, to test out any doubts or uncertainty about the concerns as soon as possible.
- If required, make formal referrals to statutory child protection agencies e.g. social services department or the police without delay. It is NOT the role of the club or the WO to decide whether a child has been abused. This is the task of the social services department and/or the police or NSPCC.
- Be the first point of contact with their Association Safeguarding Officer and, if required, the Alliance Lead Safeguarding Officer.
- Maintain contact details for local Social Services, Police, and and other local safeguarding policy/procedures. Contact details for local/national help lines should also be maintained and publicised within the club.
- Promote the clubs best practice guidance/code of conduct within the club in line with the club’s plans. This may involve working with children/young people and parents on developing the club’s approach to the best behaviour of everyone at the club.
- The WO should ensure that everyone is aware of what training is available and work with the Alliance LSO to ensure that training requirements are met.
- Ensure confidentiality is maintained alongside the club’s management committee.
- Promote anti-discriminatory practice. The club must ensure that it has made clear its commitment to anti-discriminatory practice in its policy, procedures and plans for safeguarding children and young people’s welfare.
- Promote the Alliance Policy on Anti Bullying and implement the Alliance’s Equity Policy.
Who is best suited to be a Welfare Officer?
Welfare Officer roles are suited to those people who want to volunteer on a regular basis. They are ideal for existing club members or parents who want to get more involved with a few spare hours each week, and those who already work in social services or the police would bring valuable skills and knowledge to the role. Their Association Safeguarding Officer will be available to give support as will the Alliance Lead Safeguarding Officer. The Welfare Officer should be present at the club (i.e. not a desk-based remote role) – they should be a familiar face and their role should be promoted within the club as the “go to” person for safeguarding queries or concerns.
How can I get involved as a Welfare Officer?
In order to become a WO you will need to inform your Association Safeguarding Officer and ensure you complete the following:
- An Alliance induction to Safeguarding (this can be completed by your Association Safeguarding Officer or by the Alliance Lead Safeguarding Officer)
- A Club Welfare Officer Registration Form
- A Disclosure and Barring service (DBS) check (this can be arranged by your Association Safeguarding Officer)
It is also recommended that you attend:
What does my Club need to do?
We have prepared a basic checklist for clubs with under 18s. The Club can also contact your ASO or the Alliance Lead Safeguarding Officer for more help.
The Alliance Lead Safeguarding Officer Is Sue Ward. If your ASO is unavailable then feel free to contact Sue on 07527 992059 or email firstname.lastname@example.org