Sport helps children to grow and develop, and can provide opportunities for enjoyment and achievement. Through sport children can develop valuable qualities such as leadership, confidence and self-esteem. In order to gain the full benefits of involvement in a sports activity it is essential that the organisation is operating in a safe and child friendly manner.

It is important that sports clubs and their coaches and volunteers have a good understanding of good practice when coaching young people. This will ensure that they can enjoy sport within a safe and secure environment where they and you feel protected and empowered to make the most suitable choices. Providing children with positive sporting experiences means that they will be more likely to achieve their true potential.

It is the responsibility of everyone involved to ensure that sports activities are safe and fun!

Questions which should be considered when delivering a sports activity

1) Do you have Clubmark?

Has your club achieved a quality standard such as Clubmark, if not contact your National Governing Body

2) Are your coaches qualified?

All coaches should hold a current recognised National Governing Body qualification in the appropriate sport.

3) Do they have appropriate training?

It is recommended that coaches have attended safeguarding and child protection training. If coaches are working in schools it is recommended that they have attended education awareness (AOTTs) training.

4) Are coaches and club personnel suitable to work with children and young people?

All coaches and club personnel who have direct contact with children and young people should have been appropriately screened. This should include:

  • The successful completion of an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
  • Appropriate references taken

5) Are the coaches insured?

Coaches should have appropriate insurance cover

6) What is the player/coach ratio?

The ratio of coaches to participants varies from sport to sport and should be based on:

  • The age of the children involved
  • The risk involved in the activity
  • Needs of young people with disabilities in the group

Contact the sports National Governing Body for sport specific guidance.

7) Does your Club have medical registers for participants?

Sports organisations/coaches need to be aware of any medication that the child is taking.

Policies and procedures to look out for

National Governing Body Accreditation

Your sports club/organisation should have, or be working towards National Governing Body Accreditation, or equivalent, that outlines minimum operating systems of the sport. National Governing Body Accreditation ensures that the club is committed to providing a safe, effective and child friendly environment. Your sports club/organisation should be working to minimum operating standards outlined by their National Governing Body.

Child Protection Policy

Your Club/organisation should have a child protection policy, which outlines procedures for dealing with possible abuse. Parents/carers should be aware of the policy and be able to view the policy on request.


Your club/organisation should have public liability insurance.

Code of conduct

Your Club/organisation should have a written code of conduct for parents/carers, coaches, club staff/volunteers and participants.

Health and Safety

The premises/venue should satisfy fire regulations. Your club/organisation should issue a consent form for all new members requesting details of emergency contacts and medical history.

Your club/organisation should have:

  • Somebody on site who holds a first aid qualification and has access to a first aid box
  • Guidelines for dealing with injuries
  • Mechanisms in place to ensure the safety of the venue and equipment

What to do if you have any concerns?

Your club/organisation should have a designated child protection/welfare officer. They are the first point of contact if there are any concerns.  Please contact your National Governing Body Child Protection Officer.

Useful Contacts

Child Protection in Sport Unit
Telephone 0116 234 7278 / 7280

Child Protection Helpline 0808 800 5000

Please click here for a link to the National Governing Body contacts

For detailed information on child protection in sport, please visit the Child Protection in Sport Unit website. This includes links to excellent resources and publications, including the Safesport Away guide for clubs taking children and young people away on trips.