Safeguarding Update

News and Information to Keep You Informed


Keeping Grassroots Essex Football Safe

Please find below a Covid-19 update from our Safeguarding Department:

How does The FA's guidance affect safeguarding?

Following the recent announcements and guidance issued by The FA on the resumption of grassroots football, please see below some of the factors in the Covid-19 Safeguarding Risk Assessment Guidance published on 18th July 2020. For more details, please refer to Update 24 on this Covid-19 web page.

* consent document for parent/carers (must be filled in for children aged 15 and under. The FA supports informed, written self-consent form those aged 16 and 17. In these unusual times, clubs may wish to gain consent from parents/carers as well
* template risk assessment
* water bottles/sanitiser etc should all be named and taken to the football activity and left in a certain place only for that child
* players should arrive in kit, where possible
* a screen document is available
* registers should be taken, enabling track and trace

Face-to-Face Identity (ID) Document Verification for DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Checks

Verification of FA DBSs may now resume, and guidance is available for clubs to consider. Club committee members may be verifiers of checks and, if you wish to add a new verifier, please send your club details and the name of the new verifier to (please remember to state whether this is a new or additional verifier for the club).

We are working to support applications where we need to be the verifier, and further details will be shared.  Details for appointments have recently been shared here.

What if I have a safeguarding concern for an under-18 or adult at risk?

The normal processes still apply. If you have an immediate concern outside of office hours, the police or another agency should be notified. The department is fully functioning, and can be reached via E-Mail or telephone. We stress that all normal reporting processes must continue, and that contact should be made immediately (or as soon as possible) to the department.

Guidance for Engaging with Children Aged Under 18 in Football - Virtual Interactions

We encourage all leagues and clubs to familiarise themselves with the most up-to-date guidance notes to keep abreast of best practice when engaging with children aged under 18 in football.

Online Procedures for Coaches/Managers
Online Tips for Parents/Carers

I’ve booked onto a Safeguarding Children Workshop or a Welfare Officer Workshop. What is happening regarding my workshop?

The Safeguarding Children and Welfare Officer Workshops are now available via The FA Boot Room. The Welfare Officer Workshop can be booked directly, as can the recertification for the Safeguarding Children Workshop, by following this link. The initial Safeguarding Children Workshop will be released shortly.

Workshops: How will this affect my/the club’s position for re-affiliation?

As all workshops are accessible, the criteria for affiliation will remain the same as for previous seasons. N.B. If you have a new Club Welfare Officer who does not hold a Safeguarding Children Workshop qualification, please liaise with the Safeguarding Department, who will be able to assist until the publication of the workshop.

Safeguarding Children Workshop - three years
Welfare Officer Workshop - does not have to be renewed after completion
Safeguarding for Committee Members - extended five years
DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) - three years (Please Note: FA DBSs which had an extension for a year during the first lockdown will not qualify for a further extension and must be renewed by the end date of the extension)

If you have previously completed a Safeguarding Children Workshop in person (three hours), for renewal purposes you will now complete the new online two-hour Safeguarding Children Workshop as the three-yearly renewal.


During the periods of lockdowns, The FA made some temporary changes to DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks in football for the period for which football was suspended due to Covid-19, up to and including the start of the 2020/21 season. These changes are outlined below, and apply to all roles in football.

1. All volunteers carrying out regulated activity with under 18s (in accordance with DBS guidance) require an Enhanced DBS with a check of the Children’s Barring List before they commence their role within football. This is current practice, and will remain in place. For the avoidance of doubt, volunteers will not be permitted to carry out regulated activity with under 18s until they have obtained a FA DBS check.

2. FA DBS checks due for renewal between 1st October 2020 and 31st May 2021 will have a one-year extension. N.B. Any FA DBS which was awarded a one-year extension in the previous lockdown do not qualify for this further extension. The FA currently requires DBS checks to be renewed every three years, in accordance with industry standards and best practice. However, an informed decision has been made to extend that to four years, in these limited circumstances, on the basis of the current health crisis, associated difficulties in DBS check renewal and the fact that these individuals already hold a DBS check which has been accepted by The FA.

A. The FA’s proposals outlined above are applicable to all DBS checks completed through The FA.
B. The FA’s Whole Game System will be updated to reflect these changes.

Please note that the changes outlined above are temporary, and The FA reserves the right to review and amend the position, including to reflect changes in legislation and/or statutory guidance with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic. The above changes are made to support the footballing family in the immediate term and to support a return to football activity in the longer term whilst ensuring The FA’s commitment to safeguarding remains in place.

Can I arrange a face-to-face DBS verification?

Following The Football Association’s re-introduction of face-to-face FA DBS verification sessions, we are now able to support certain individuals needing to have their FA DBS verified.

These appointments are available at the County Office in Chelmsford for referees, Club Welfare Officers and, in certain cases, coaches. Any coach who is looking to renew or apply for their first check must approach the Club Welfare Officer of their club initially.

It is important to remember that the application form must be completed online prior to the verification appointment, and the correct identification documents are produced on the day (original documents only). Due to ongoing health and safety requirements, and in-line with Covid-19 guidelines, these appointments are for DBS verification only.

Once you’ve completed your DBS application, please follow this link to book a verification slot. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the contents, included in the booking. If you have any questions, contact the relevant member of Essex County FA staff. Should Government policy or guidance change, affecting these arrangements, any updates will be posted on our website.

What if my DBS expires?

As it is now possible for face-to-face verifications to take place, the FA DBS process may resume. We are in regular communication with The FA, and have received guidance on this process. We are aware that individuals will be receiving notifications of their DBS expiry date and will be looking to renew.

We are mindful that not all Welfare Officers may feel comfortable, at this stage, to conduct verifications and we would ask you for your understanding. For Welfare Officers who do not have another committee member to verify their FA DBS, the Essex County FA will look to support this.

How do I commence new, or renew an existing, DBS application?

You may already notice that, if your DBS is due to expire between 1st October 2020 and 31st May 2021, the expiry date on your FAN made have been updated. Please read the above section on FA DBS. We will continue to share all updates as well as the processes which will be put into place for DBS checks upon the return to football.


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.

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