Child Protection Policy

Background

UK Athletics has recommended that all Athletic Clubs appoint a Child Protection Officer, and have a clear procedure set down in writing to which parents can refer if they or their child has any issue or complaint which they wish to raise in relation to the Club's coaches. The following policy has therefore been adopted by Sevenoaks Athletics Club.

Principles

The following policy sets out a code of practice to be followed by the Club should any complaint be received regarding the improper behaviour of a Club member with or towards a child in their care and control at training or other Club sponsored events. It also sets out the coaches and parents responsibilities whilst children are in the coaches care and control. The policy is in no way meant to inhibit the coaches ability to pass on their knowledge to younger members of the Club and parents should understand that sometimes a 'hands on' approach is necessary, particularly with younger children when showing them how to perform new exercises and techniques correctly.

Definitions

'Child' means any child that has not yet reached the age of seventeen ; it should be noted however that the Club does not normally accept children under the age of nine.'Child Protection Officer' is a person appointed by the Club Committee to be a point of contact between the Club, parents, the Police, the Social Services etc; 'Occurrence Book' is a record held by the Child Protection Officer of complaints received or injuries received whilst children are in the care or control of the Clubs coaches.

Complaints Procedure

1. If a child or parent has any complaint regarding any aspect of the behaviour of a coach with or towards their child, the initial complaint should be made to the Child Protection Officer. The Child Protection Officer appointed by the Club Executive Committee is Paul Tabor who can be contacted in confidence on  07731 333391 .

2. If the complaint appears to be an allegation of a criminal offence, the complainant will be advised to report the matter immediately to the Police. A record of the complaint should be made as soon as possible in the Occurrence Book together with a note of any action taken. The complaint should be referred to the Club Committee who will meet at the earliest opportunity to decide whether the person complained of should continue in their coaching capacity during or at the conclusion of any subsequent Police enquiry.

3. Where the complaint is not one that involves the Police, and it can be resolved in an informal manner, then a record should again be made of the complaint and the way in which it was resolved.

4. If the complaint cannot be resolved this should then be referred to the Club Committee whose decisions on the matter will be final. The Committee reserves the right at all times to dispense with the services of any coach or suspend the membership of any club member.

5. It is the policy of the club that coaches be vetted by the Police as to their suitability to perform that role.

Responsibilities of Coaches & Parents

1. The coach is responsible for making a record or causing a record to be made in the occurrence book of any injury sustained or complained of by a child, or any serious concern or anxiety expressed by the child, whilst a child is in their care or control.

2. The parent is responsible for ensuring the coaching staff have an up to date contact number in case of an emergency

3. The parent is responsible for dropping off and collecting their children from training and Club events. Coaches cannot be responsible for children away from the track or the sports hall

4. The coach is responsible for the child until he or she is collected. The child will not be left on their own in the event of the parent being delayed. This reinforces the need for an up to date emergency number to be provided by the parent.

5. Unless prior arrangements have been made the parent is responsible for transporting their child to and from training and club events.

6. The coach reserves the right to refuse to coach disruptive children. Initially the coach should work with the parent to encourage the child to behave in a more appropriate manner. If however this behaviour continues the coach can ask the child to sit out of the training session until the arrival of their parent.

7. Any observations by a child or parent as to the ability of the coach should normally first be taken up with the coach concerned. If the problem cannot be resolved amicably, then the parent should write to the Chairman of the Club who will, again, try to resolve the query. As a last resort, if the parent is not happy and cannot resolve their concern they can of course withdraw their child from the Club