Safeguarding Update

News and Information to Keep You Informed


Action Required

Following communication from The FA, all County FAs are now sharing requirements and best practice of safeguarding across grassroots affiliated football which encompasses 16/17-year-olds playing in open-age football.

The communication confirms that everyone working (i.e. coaching/managing) with under 18s, whether in youth or open-age adult football, are subject to The FA’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures, underpinned by legislation. Having undertaken an audit on the FA Whole Game System, some clubs have been highlighted as having 16/17-year-old players.

Where 16- and 17-year-olds will be playing in the team, the coaching/management team require an FA DBS. If the club also have a youth section, the Club Welfare Officer may be able to assist with the DBS. If this is not possible, please contact Helen or Chloe (details below), who will be able to offer support.

Listed below are areas which these clubs will now need to consider, with the intention to implement. We recognise this will be a change in practice for some clubs and would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to share that our Designated Safeguarding Officer Helen Hever and colleague, Chloe Hookins, are here to support and assist clubs in this process.

* DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) Checks - coaches/managers and assistants, first aiders and Club Welfare Officer
* Adopting a Safeguarding Children Policy
* Appointing a Club Welfare Officer
* Sharing “Know your Rights” with 16/17-year-old players

The links below offer information, guidance and templates:

Full Guidance, Including Downloads (e.g. Safeguarding Children Policy)
Guidance and Information for 16/17-Year-Olds Participating in Open-Age Football

Contact Details
Helen Hever, Designated Safeguarding Officer,, (01245) 393098
Chloe Hookins, Safeguarding Support Officer,, (01245) 393093

Young referees aged under 18 in several Essex youth leagues are wearing yellow armbands during matches as part of an Essex County FA pilot aiming to have a positive effect on levels of dissent from the touchlines.

At fixtures on these leagues every Sunday, these officials don the bright armbands to signify their age and that they’re still in the early stages of their development. In conjunction with the Respect Campaign’s #WeOnlyDoPositive initiative, the project supports young referees and reminds all involved in the game that they are learning and, like all humans, will make mistakes. Read more by following this link.

This pilot is analysing aspects linked to the impact of the armband’s presence. Specific metrics are being collated to gain insight and shape the future of the programme. “It’s important to protect our young referees as they make up one third of the total within Essex,” explained Referee Development Officer, Lukas Wood. “They officiate the majority of youth football.”

DBS Checks

Parent and Carer Guidance
DBS Checks have become a part of the game at youth level to ensure the country’s youngsters can enjoy football in a secure environment, providing parents and carers with piece of mind that their child is in the safest possible hands.

The FA are keen to ensure the DBS process runs as smoothly as possible and have provided the facility for checks to be undertaken online. Further details on how to achieve this can be found below, as well as a brief background on why DBS Checks are necessary.

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) (SVGA), was drafted following the death of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in August 2002. It aims to prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults.

This act had an impact on football for under 18s and The FA has worked hard to ensure the voice of football has been heard and understood by Government. There is an increasing level of awareness about this act and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) were created by it.

There is also natural anxiety. The FA takes its responsibilities as a national governing body seriously and are providing counties, leagues and clubs with a systematic approach to the requirements of the Act. The FA and the Essex County FA are providing support, answers to frequently asked questions and training.

Each season, grassroots football clubs with youth sections must do the following in order to affiliate:

* ensure they have a Club Welfare Officer in place who has an FA DBS Check and has completed Safeguarding Children and Welfare Officer Workshops;
* ensure their Club Welfare Officer is familiar with The FA’s Online Safeguarding Children Service. This is The FA’s tool for ensuring Club Welfare Officers can see who has been DBS checked. The system also allows Club Welfare Officers to see who has completed their Safeguarding Children training.

No. The FA will only accept their own version of the DBS certificate. Please do not complete a DBS via another website.   However, if the applicant has registered for the DBS Update Service, it may be possible to port the DBS over to the FA database. For more details on this, please contact GBG on (0845) 210 8080.

In order to access this facility, clubs should contact GBG (FA DBS Unit) on (0845) 210 80 80 (or E-Mail to gain the relevant information. Please ensure you provide your FAN Number in the Personal Reference Number field provided (if known).

Once completed and submitted, you are required to provide proof of identity to your County FA Verifier/Club Welfare Officer in support of your application. All Identity Documents (ID) must be original. The list of acceptable ID and an ID selection tool form part of the online application.

The verifier will look through your original ID documents and submit the application to GBG (FA DBS Unit) where the application will be validated before progressing. Upon completion, GBG will issue you with a copy of the DBS Disclosure, update their records and forward the disclosure result to The FA.

The FA is aware that people are anxious about the cost of the new scheme. The Government will not be charging volunteers though, at present, The FA needs to levy an administration charge (currently £20 for the DBS, or £10 online). The aim is to keep this low as possible.

Volunteer Fee: £10
Non-Volunteer Fee: £54

A volunteer is defined as a person engaged in activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party other than, or in addition to, a close relative.

By completing an online DBS Enhanced Disclosure application, the applicant is allowing The FA to have sight of any criminal record or non-conviction information that is held and released by the police via the DBS process.

This information may include outstanding prosecutions and relevant allegations of criminal behaviour. In-line with the DBS Code of Practice, The FA may disclose this information to those involved in making a suitability decision. The FA may use any or all of this information to help decide on your suitability to be involved with children or vulnerable adults in football.

Yes. The online service is tested, approved, audited and used by several Government departments. Information security management: UKAS accredited, ISO27, 001:2005. Should you require any further information regarding the FA DBS online service, please E-Mail or phone (0845) 210 80 80.

Related Articles

View All