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  • Sport Parks and Leisure

BSI introduces guidelines to help operators design child safeguarding policies

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has introduced safeguarding guidelines to protect children in out-of-school settings, such as health clubs and sports facilities.

Child safeguarding: Provisions for out-of-school guidelines apply to all providers of activities for children in out-of-school settings, offering a clear framework to embed safeguarding measures into governance, policies and procedural operations. This includes activities that are provided free of charge or at cost, by paid staff or by volunteers.

The launch follows the release of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse report in 2022, which raised concerns that children were at risk in some out-of-school settings due to a failure of management to adhere to basic child protection standards. 

It recommended that all those who come into contact with children should follow child protection standards and have suitable policies and procedures in place and that safeguarding policies should be clear and easy to follow and implement.

The new standard is comprehensive, covering governance, accountability and responsibility; developing a safeguarding and child protection policy; assessing risks, monitoring, mitigation, recording and documenting; documenting safeguarding measures; employment checks; inducting new personnel; safeguarding training; record-keeping and safeguarding incidents response plans and reviews. 

The guidelines have been initiated by a former senior detective, Mark Bramah, who investigated child abuse while in the police force. He approached the BSI about the need for the standard which offers a step-by-step guide of how to put a safeguarding framework in place that will protect children as well as organisations, and assure parents, caregivers and those responsible for governance.

“The issue of safeguarding children in adult environments has very much been at the core of my professional, academic, and even personal life,” says Bramah. “This guidance is designed to close the gap where organisations or individuals hold responsibility for children’s care outside of education, but are not covered by statutory guidance and where ambiguity regarding safe practice exists. This includes out-of-school activities, such as are delivered by operators in the leisure industry.”

Anne Hayes, director of sectors at the BSI said: “Prioritising safeguards for children, among society's most vulnerable, can ensure a safe environment in which they can flourish and develop in their formative years. This new standard is intended to address the lack of statutory guidance and processes for organisations and individuals responsible for the care of children in non-educational settings.

“The guidance is designed to empower organisations, parents and carers alike to have confidence about care being given to children.”

A copy of the guidelines can be downloaded here.

Safeguarding minors is something the UK sport and leisure industry has been taking seriously for more than 20 years, following several high-profile cases of child abuse in sport, initially swimming, yachting and football. The NSPCC set up a unit in 2001 to work with the leisure sector to put safeguarding procedures in place.


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