Welfare & Safeguarding

We place the safeguarding and welfare of young people high on our agenda and employ a County Welfare Officer, Helen Hever, who is based at the County Office in Springfield. Helen can be contacted on (01245) 393098 or via E-Mail at helen.hever@essexfa.com.

Follow these links for more information on:

Criminal Records Checks (CRC)

It’s important to remember that every child or young person, defined as any person under the age of 18, who plays or participates in football should be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in football, thus every club is required to endorse and adhere to The FA’s Safeguarding Children Policy.

At the beginning of each season, all clubs need to name a Club Welfare Officer (CWO). We recognise that, without volunteer CWOs, football in Essex wouldn't have as many safeguards in place. Although their hard work is not always noticed when things are going well, you can be sure everyone will be asking questions if they go wrong! These people, who are Criminal Records Check (CRC) checked, will be able to advise you of any concerns you may have regarding young people.

They will have, or will be, attending a Safeguarding Children Workshop enabling them to be able to deal with welfare issues. The details of your club’s CWO should be available in your club material. As well as a CWOs, the league also has a League Welfare Officer. The FA only uses checks called 'Enhanced Disclosures', which are conducted on an individual to make sure they do not have any convictions which might mean they are not safe to work with young people.

If you are in a welfare role, you can also attend the Welfare Officer Workshop. This course builds on the Safeguarding Children Course and is directed specifically towards the Welfare Officers, whereas the Safeguarding Children is attended by referees, coaches etc. Do you need to complete either of these workshops? If so, information can be found via the ‘Development’ link above then clicking on 'Courses'.

We like to make sure we're offering the support needed by Welfare Officers and welcome concerns or suggestions. The feedback we've had has been really positive and we’d like to provide networking opportunities and chances to meet Helen. All those involved in the welfare aspect are working hard to provide the best possible environment for young people to participate in football. If you have any concerns regarding the welfare of a young person/s, you should contact the relevant party, and should your concern be of an urgent and immediate nature, the telephone numbers listed will assist you.

Emergency Contacts

NSPCC - (0808) 800 5000
Local Safeguarding Children - (Outside Office Hours): (0845) 606 1212
Childline - (0800) 11 11
Police - 999

If you are IMMEDIATELY concerned about a child’s welfare, contact the Police or Social Services on (0845) 603 7634 (during office hours) or (0845) 606 1212 (outside office hours).

Workshops (Book Online Now)

The Safeguarding Children Workshop is a mandatory module on all 1st4sport coaching courses. It is designed to promote positive and pro-active attitudes in order to best protect all children and young people who play football, so enabling them to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment. Meanwhile, candidates attending the Welfare Officer Workshop should hold a Safeguarding Children Workshop (formerly known as the Child Protection Workshop) Certificate.

All youth clubs are required to designate a person as their Welfare Officer in order to affiliate each season. The named person is required to have a Criminal Records Check (CRC) completed or ‘in progress’ and attendance at a Welfare Officer Workshop is necessary before affiliation for each campaign. The qualified Club Welfare Officer will then be able to verify club volunteer CRC forms, thus eliminating the need for important documents of volunteers to be sent to The FA CRC Unit in the post. In addition to this role, the CWO is the first point of call for any concerns within the club from parents, coaches, players or any other volunteers.

Welfare Officer Requirements

Before the annual affiliation process in May it is essential that youth clubs discuss with their current Club Welfare Officers (CWO) whether they plan to remain in the role for the the following season. If a new CWO is coming into post it is important that they have the mandatory FA qualifications in place in order to permit affiliation.

If your CWO is happy to remain in place they should already comply with The FA’s mandatory requirements shown below and your affiliation process will be straightforward. However, if they do not, it is important that your club committee acts now to identify a new CWO and assess if they meet the mandatory requirements stated below.

The FA requires clubs with designated youth teams to have a named CWO who has:

* an accepted, enhanced FA CRC
* attended an FA Safeguarding Children Workshop (SCW)
* attended an FA Welfare Officer Workshop (WOW)

Further information regarding the role of CWO can be found at www.thefa.com/TheFA/WhatWeDo/FootballSafe/ClubWelfareOfficers.aspx

Safeguarding Online

The Online Safeguarding Service at www.thefa.com/TheFA/WhatWeDo/FootballSafe/2010/OnlineService allows Welfare Officers to:

* view individuals' FA CRC status and SCW Certification via the ‘Club Status’ screen
* filter records by FA CRC status
* remove individuals who are no longer involved with the club
* add individuals missing from the club's records
* print the safeguarding records of individuals at the club
* view the safeguarding profile of individuals attached to your club
* query records, and request changes to, contact details

Staying Safe Online

Millions of children across the UK have access to the Internet and its now central to how they stay in touch with their friends and family. However, the World Wide Web is also a public place and, while offering many benefits and opportunities, it also opens up new risks and challenges.

That’s why The FA and the Essex County FA supports the work of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre. CEOP is part of the UK police, set up to tackle the sexual exploitation of children. The CEOP Centre aims to educate children, young people, their parents, carers and fans to understand the risks they may face online and what they can do to empower themselves to stay safe. They also track, locate and hold child sexual offenders to account.

Football uses the internet to communicate to coaches, referees, medics, welfare officers, young leaders, players, parents/carers and fans. We all need to understand how to make use of this technology appropriately and working with the CEOP Centres education programme ‘Thinkuknow’ will help to do this.

Thinkuknow is an excellent education programme developed by the CEOP Centre, which delivers online safety messages to young people, their parents and the public. The ‘Thinkuknow’ programme uses innovative materials, aimed at empowering young people and their parents, to make the right choices when using the Internet. The materials include films, leaflets, posters and a website, which focus on three key themes: how to have fun online, how to stay in control online and how to report. We recommend you take the time to visit the ‘Thinkuknow’ website at www.thinkuknow.co.uk

Codes of Conduct

You can get ideas for Codes of Conduct at www.thefa.com. Simply click on the ‘Respect’ banner and follow the ‘Codes of Conduct’ link on the left-hand menu. This gives a clear message as to what the club’s expectations are. You don’t have to be signed-up to the Respect Programme to have codes of conduct.


It’s FA procedure that Under 7s and 8s football results should not be collated and published in any way. This is to encourage ‘playing for fun’ on a festival basis rather than adding the pressure of league positions.

Playing Abroad

If your club plays another club from outside of England, either home or away, there is a requirement to get clearance from The FA? You will need to initially contact the Registrations Department at Soho Square who will forward the necessary forms to you. They can be contacted via the main switch board on (020) 7745 4545.

Personal Hearings

If a child or young person is to attend a Personal Hearing they are entitled to bring along an adult or carer to sit with them. The adult/carer is there in a supporting capacity only. It is important to remember that if the adult/carer is also going to be a witness in the hearing, they cannot sit with the young person, so an alternative adult should be available, for example the Club Welfare Officer.

“The verbal abuse of players from players and coaching staff has got to stop” Spectator

“I just want to play and enjoy the game without the crowd having a go” Player

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