The Football Association have published a new safeguarding strategy, which sets out a joined-up ambition to build an ever-safer culture at every level of football in England, detailing how this will be achieved over the next three years.
The strategy, ‘Building an Ever-Safer Culture’, is being implemented over the course of the 2021/22 to 2023/24 seasons and reflects football’s everyday work to safeguard children and adults at risk, as well as the recommendations from Clive Sheldon QC’s Review.
The strategy covers workstreams designed to continuously develop and improve football’s framework and approach to prevent abuse in all its forms, as well as to manage concerns robustly.
Key safeguarding principles, including the importance of listening to the voices of children, adults at risk and those with lived experience, underpin the five focus areas of the strategy, which each have their own strategic goal:
1. Leadership and Governance: To provide strong leadership of safeguarding across the game and deliver effective governance frameworks.
2. Standards: To clearly communicate the expected standards, regulations, and policies across the game and to support those in designated safeguarding roles to drive and monitor safeguarding practice and culture.
3. Prevention: To create ever-safer football environments through robust recruitment processes, driving safer working practice and culture, utilising insight and delivering clear messaging and inspirational campaigns.
4. Education and Empowerment: To deliver accessible, impactful safeguarding education programmes, resources and information to help create ever-safer football environments for children and adults at risk.
5. Protection: To make the reporting of concerns as easy as possible, to continue to build strong partnerships with statutory agencies in managing abuse cases, to provide guidance on managing low-level concerns and to deliver robust case management by The FA.
Sue Ravenlaw, Head of Safeguarding at The FA, said: “Safeguarding sits at the heart of everything we do. We are focused on continuing to accelerate progress for safeguarding in football over the next three years to ultimately serve one simple objective: to create fun, positive and ever-safer football settings, where children, young people and adults can enjoy the great game we all love.”
The FA Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group welcomed the new strategy, saying: “The new safeguarding strategy reflects all the recommendations from the Sheldon Report, as well as building on The FA’s existing safeguarding framework.”
“We need to ensure that lessons are learned from the past and we are grateful to everyone who has come forward and reported or shared their experiences, privately or publicly. This bravery has been a catalyst for change not just in football, but in the wider sporting community.”
“As a group, we are focused on making football as safe as possible and playing our part to ensure safeguarding is at the heart of the game.”
“Several initiatives are being rolled out across football over the next three years, and we hope that the five key safeguarding principles highlighted in the strategy will enhance the focus in building an ever-safer environment for children now, and in the future.”
For further information on safeguarding, and how to report concerns, please visit The FA's website. Details can also be found in our 'Safeguarding & Welfare' section, by following @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.