English Chess Federation Child Protection Policy Statement
The English Chess Federation (ECF) is the national governing body for chess in England. It promotes and develops chess. It acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people aged up to 18 years and is committed to ensuring safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice.
The policy recognises that the welfare and interests of children and young people are paramount in all circumstances as enshrined in the Children Act 1989. It aims to ensure that regardless of age, gender, religion or beliefs, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or identity, or socioeconomic background, all children
- have a positive and enjoyable experience of chess in a safe and child centred environment
- are protected from harm and abuse whilst participating in chess or outside of the activity.
It also aims to provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.
The ECF acknowledges that some children, including disabled children and young people or those from ethnic minority communities, can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and we accept the responsibility to take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure their welfare. As part of our safeguarding policy the ECF will
- promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people
- value, listen to and respect children and young people
- ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people
- make clear who the designated Lead for Safeguarding and Safeguarding Officer is/are and their roles.
- ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of abuse and support provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern
- ensure that confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored
- prevent the employment/deployment of unsuitable individuals
- ensure robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation
- share concerns with agencies who need to know, involving parents and children appropriately.
The policy and procedures will be widely promoted and are mandatory for everyone involved in the ECF including staff, officers, volunteers and anyone working on behalf of the ECF. Failure to comply with the policy and procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from the organisation.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely –
Children Act 1989
United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
Data Protection Act 1998
Sexual Offences Act 2003
Children Act 2004
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
Relevant government guidance on safeguarding children including: Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018 and 2019).
The policy will be reviewed annually by the lead safeguarding officer and reported to the ECF Board or in the following circumstances:
- changes in legislation and/or government guidance
- as required by the Local Safeguarding Children Board or the ECF Board
- as a result of any other significant change or event.
The ECF Child Protection Policy is approved by the Board of the ECF
Name and Designation of Signatory:
Date of last Review: / /
(On behalf of the ECF Board)
1. Safeguarding Children/Child Protection
Safeguarding in this document means the process of protecting children and young people up to the age of 18 from harm. Harm can include deliberate abuse, neglect (deliberate or not), bullying, exclusion and prejudiced attitudes. Child protection is part of safeguarding and is the process of protecting individual children who are identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This policy concentrates on the latter but acknowledges the principles of the former.
Safeguarding involves assessment of risk to a child/children. One part of this is deciding whether a Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check is required or whether other safeguarding measures put in place are sufficient. Not all staff or volunteers require a DBS check, indeed it is illegal to apply for a DBS check if the applicant’s role is ineligible. There is a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks Guide attached (Appendix 1) and where a DBS is not required an organisation should consider other measures such as following the code of conduct (Appendix 2). The ECF recommends that those applying for a DBS join the DBS Update Service (this is service is free for volunteers) as this will mean that the DBS is transferable between organisations and is automatically updated. This means that future applications for a DBS certificate will not be required.
The ECF recognises that its members, including its volunteers may work in schools as part of the curriculum teaching chess and advises that in such circumstances those volunteers should follow the school’s policies and procedures.
Each organisation must have a Lead for Safeguarding. Working Together 2015 stipulates that one of the key responsibilities of organisations working with children is “a senior board level lead to take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements”. There must be a clear line of accountability for the provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. In addition there must be a Safeguarding Officer who has responsibility for providing advice and support to other staff, volunteers and members, and ensuring that safeguarding children remains a priority in all the work that the ECF does. A role description is included (Appendix 3). This may be the same person as the Lead for Safeguarding if the Safeguarding Officer is a senior official of the organisation. Organisations are also recommended to appoint a Deputy Safeguarding Officer in case the Safeguarding Officer is unavailable.
The Lead for Safeguarding for the ECF is Julian Clissold Email: email@example.com
The Safeguarding Officer for the ECF is Samantha Ali Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Deputy Safeguarding Officer for the ECF is TBC
The safeguarding officer should undergo/have undergone at least “introductory” and preferably “leading on” safeguarding training or its equivalent so as to be able to undertake their role. Other staff and volunteers may also access appropriate training or non-accredited learning as part of individual safeguarding risk management if deemed appropriate by the Safeguarding Officer.
Training can be undertaken online e.g. via the NSPCC or SAFEcic or by personal attendance e.g. at a local school or training company. The local authority in most areas provides free/low cost training for voluntary groups. The ECF has subscribed to SAFEcic, a non-profitmaking organisation who advise on all aspects of safeguarding and offer subsidised training both online and face to face. The ECF office can advise on accessing this.
2. Recognising the signs and symptoms of abuse
Staff and volunteers are required to recognise signs and symptoms of abuse.
There are 4 main areas of abuse –
Neglect (intentional and unintentional)
These are explained in Appendix 4.
Possible signs of abuse include –
- Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries or the explanation of the cause of the injury is does not seem right.
- You observe or the child discloses abuse, or describes what appears to be an abusive act.
- Someone else (child or adult) expresses concern about the welfare of another child.
- Unexplained change in behaviour such as withdrawal or sudden outbursts of temper.
- Inappropriate sexual awareness or sexually explicit behaviour.
- Distrust of adults, particularly those with whom a close relationship would normally be expected.
- Difficulty in making friends.
- Eating disorders, depression, self-harm or suicide attempts.
3. Becoming aware of a safeguarding issue
The ECF recognises that there are many ways that an organisation or individual may become aware about a child or young person’s safety.
For example –
- a third party or anonymous allegation is received;
- a child or young person’s appearance, behaviour, play, drawing or statements cause suspicion of abuse and/or neglect;
- a child or young person reports an incident(s) of alleged abuse which occurred some time ago;
- a written report is made regarding the serious misconduct of a worker towards a child or young person;
- an incident is witnessed;
- a police charge is made.
No safeguarding issue will be ignored or dismissed by the ECF as “minor”
4. Acting on a safeguarding issue
It is important that allegations are treated seriously and the ECF procedure includes recommendations to English chess-based organisations as well as its own staff and volunteers
Overview of actions if you have concerns about the welfare of a child
a) Is the child in immediate danger or are they injured?
If yes – Contact the emergency services 999
b) Report the concern
It is important that there should be no delay in contacting either the Social Services or the police if someone thinks a crime may have been committed. Any individual can do this, 24 hours/day, it does not have to be the Safeguarding Officer.
If it is not thought that a crime has been committed but there is concern for a child’s welfare then the issue should be reported to the safeguarding officer within 24 hours as per below.
- If the issue arises during an ECF event report the concerns to the ECF designated safeguarding officer who will contact the local Children’s Social Care Services (Social Services) for advice or to make a referral in the first instance and follow up with a written report within 24 hours. If the safeguarding officer is not available the organiser or the individual raising the concern must do this.
- If the issue arises at any other time or event report the concerns to your organisation’s safeguarding officer who will contact the local Children’s Social Care Services (Social Services) for advice or to make a referral in the first instance and follow up with a written report within 24 hours. If the safeguarding officer is not available the organiser or the individual raising the concern must do this. The organisation’s safeguarding officer may in addition contact the ECF safeguarding officer for advice, however, this must not delay contacting Social Services.
- If there is no one else available to help, contact the police 101.
c) Ensure you keep a record of your concern and how you reported it (see appendix 5 for a form to record it on).
This form is completed by the person raising the concern. All information recorded is confidential. Please note that parents/carers should not be spoken to if the discussions may put the child at risk of harm.
Stages in acting on the concern
There is further advice on acting on the concern in Appendix 6. This includes advice on talking to the child and this should be used in conjunction with the “Form for recording concerns/allegations of abuse, harm or neglect” (Appendix 5). All information recorded is confidential.
5. Safe recruitment
The ECF recognises that sometimes there are people who work, or seek to work, with children and young people who may pose a risk to children and who may harm them. Ensuring that there is a clear process for recruiting staff and volunteers should help reduce this risk. The following guide will be used by the ECF in recruitment of those working with children:
- A clear job description (what tasks the applicant will do) and a role profile (what skills the person will be expected to have) will be used where possible.
- If it’s an elected (or similar) post then the post will be conditional on successful completion of all other safeguarding recruitment processes and provision of a personal/professional history.
- The organisation will make it clear that it has a commitment to safeguarding and protecting children.
- Where practical and appropriate, there will be a face-to-face interview with pre-planned and clear questions.
- The applicant will be required to declare whether they have any criminal convictions, cautions, other legal restrictions or pending cases that might affect their suitability to work with children as per the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. This declaration will preferably be part of an application form.
- The candidate’s identity will be checked by asking them to bring photographic ID, preferably a passport.
- It will be checked that the candidate actually holds any relevant qualifications they say they have.
- A DBS check will be applied for if the role requires it. This will be considered for all staff who have contact with children or have access to records and this might include any volunteers, trustees, and committee members. (See the guide in Appendix 1). DBS checks can be applied for through the ECF Office.
- References will be sought from reliable sources which can be checked for authenticity. References will always be checked and referees specifically asked about an individual’s suitability to work with children.
- All candidates will be provided with a copy of the child protection/safeguarding policy.
On occasions where the ECF wish to appoint a worker from abroad the ECF recognises that it may not be possible to undertake DBS checks. However a ‘certificate of good conduct’ may be applied for from the country the person is moving from. For UK Nationals returning from abroad an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) may be requested from www.acro.police.uk. Additional references may need to be undertaken on any worker from abroad.
6. Management and supervision of staff and/or volunteers
Staff and volunteers will know who their safeguarding officer is and how to contact them if they have a concern (see section 1).
Staff and volunteers should be advised that they must follow their organisations Child Protection Code of Conduct (See Appendix 2).
Staff and volunteers will be advised that they are expected to make themselves aware of the organisation’s child protection/safeguarding policy. They will be provided with a copy of the policy or given electronic access to it. A record should be kept that the copy/advice has been given.
7. Allegations against staff and volunteers
If an allegation of abuse (please see the definitions in appendix 4) is made against staff or volunteers it should be reported immediately to the safeguarding officer. If the allegation is about a senior member of staff at the organisation then the incident may be passed to an alternative official, for the ECF this will be the Chief Executive Officer.
In all cases the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) should be involved in the immediate discussion with the safeguarding officer or the alternative official to confirm next steps. The LADO should be made aware of the incident within one working day. Extra considerations following contact with the LADO are included in appendix 7.
The police and/or Children Social Work Service investigation takes precedence and no internal investigation may take place until the organisation has been advised they may do so by the LADO or police. When an internal investigation is undertaken, consideration should be given to the operation of disciplinary procedures. In most circumstances the options available for the organisation are:
- no further action
- immediate suspension
- discontinue the use of the service.
The severity of the allegation, information and evidence available can often determine the next stages taken.
The ECF Board should agree who will hear an appeal if required.
8. Recording and managing confidential information
A form for recording concerns/allegations of abuse, harm and neglect which is completed by the person raising the concern is included (See Appendix 5).
Records relating to child protection may include –
Safe recruitment documentation such as employment and engagement applications, references, identity verification, records of DBS or similar statutory disclosure checks.
The safeguarding/child protection policy and any revisions, records of distribution to or receipt of the policy, records of any protection policy training offered or received.
Accident records, incident records, records of concerns/allegations of abuse, harm and neglect (including actions taken such as referrals, assessments, plans and support), correspondence related to child protection.
Storage of records
Some best practice advice for when considering the storage of records:
- Information about concerns, allegations, and referrals should not be kept in one ‘concern log’ rather information or items relating to individuals need to be kept in separate files.
- Records of referrals to the Social Services and Police will be kept by those organisations
- Files containing sensitive or confidential data should be locked away and access to the keys strictly controlled.
- Access to those records needs to be limited to people in named roles who either need to know about the information in those records and/or who manage the records/files.
- If records are stored electronically then password-protect those records, which only limited staff should have access to.
- Records are kept for an appropriate period from adoption of the policy. This is 30 years for the purposes of the current ECF insurance policy.
Children and young people have a right to confidentiality unless the organisation considers they could be at risk of abuse and/or harm. The legal principle is that the “welfare of the child is paramount”. Privacy and confidentiality should be respected where possible but if doing this leaves a child at risk of harm then the child’s safety has to come first. Legally, it is perfectly acceptable to share information if someone is worried about the safety of a child but only people who need to know should be told.
9. Distributing and reviewing the policy
The policy will be freely available to all members. It will be displayed on the English Chess Federation website, constituent member organisations and members secretaries will be made aware of this, its location and how to access it so that they can disseminate the information. The ECF will keep a record of the distribution of the information to those constituent member organisations and members’ secretaries. A photocopy of the policy will be available from the ECF Office on request.
The policy will be available electronically during all ECF events involving children. This may be the internet or as a downloaded file.
The policy will be reviewed annually by the ECF designated Safeguarding Officer signed by a member of the ECF board. In line with best practice a young person may be invited to be involved in the review.
10. Responsibilities of management committees
The ECF Board is responsible for approving the ECF policy and its implementation within the ECF. It is also responsible for approving a review of the policy or delegating this to an appropriate official.
The ECF Board is responsible for adding new procedures as required and informing its staff and volunteers of changes, which includes advertising it on its website.
The ECF has a responsibility to monitor which staff and volunteers (not members) in their organisation have enhanced DBS checks and safeguarding training and advise those who may need either due to their work.
The ECF board has a responsibility to ensure the Safeguarding Officer undertakes periodic monitoring and review to ensure that safeguards are being implemented and are effective in the organisation and that risk is being managed.
11. Online Chess
Online chess raises specific areas of concern. In recognition of this, the ECF has established a number of policies and a Code of Conduct.
ECF Safeguarding Policy
There are a number of elements of the ECF policy –
- The ECF recognises that online play is a significant feature of children’s chess.
- The ECF seeks to facilitate and encourage children to be involved with on line chess in a manner which allows them and their parents to be more confident about their online safety in ECF online events
- The ECF recognises that there are a number of different and specific safeguarding hazards in relation to the use of the internet. The ECF has developed a code of conduct intended to address these in the context of online chess and social media.
- As with its overall policy, the wellbeing of children is paramount.
- The reporting framework and processes for recording and managing safeguarding issues applies to those arising from online activity.
- The ECF recommends the Code of Conduct for all online chess for children. This should be read in the context of the safeguarding policy as a whole.
- Measures will be taken to reduce safeguarding risks for ECF online chess events and all ECF social media communications
- Parents and guardians should be encouraged to exercise suitable parental controls for junior accounts in ECF clubs
- The ECF will publicise what controls are available for parents/ guardians and provide support in setting accounts up if requested.
- The ECF will seek to monitor Group conversations and Group chat during ECF online events as far as practicable to identify and take action on safeguarding issues
- The ECF will respond appropriately to issues raised by juniors or parents in accordance with the reporting framework and reporting processes set out in the safeguarding policy.
- The ECF will so far as practicable, limit the publication of names of minors to results and grading/ rating data
ECF Code of Conduct
The ECF code of conduct relating to safeguarding and online chess is set out in Appendix 10.
The ECF will engage with stakeholders in relation to its policy and Code of Conduct. Stakeholders include parents, schools, chess team managers, congress directors, arbiters, league secretaries and chess clubs.
12. Other Policies that relate to this Policy
a) Whistleblowing (Appendix 8)
b) E Safety (Appendix 9)
c) Fair Play Policy (Appendix 10)
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks Guide
(Appendix 1 is currently under review)
DBS checks provide information about a person’s criminal history. It is only one part of the safeguarding process and only certain activities and posts are eligible for checks. Organisations should assess the risk carefully and determine whether other safeguarding measures are sufficient protection before requesting a DBS check.
An enhanced DBS check discloses information about spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings from the Police National Computer as well as local police forces. If the role involves “Regulated Activity” (see later), it can also involve a check against lists of people barred with working with children and vulnerable adults. The DBS “A guide to eligibility for DBS checks” gives an overview of determining eligibility. However you will find a simpler breakdown of this guide below and links to help you to do decide if the role of the individual includes regulated activity and requires a DBS check. The ECF recommends that you click on the links as they give valuable advice.
Assessing whether a DBS check is required
The person being considered for a DBS check should be 16yrs or older
If the answer is NO
You MUST NOT request an Enhanced DBS check unless the role qualifies for a DBS Barred List check because it is regulated activity. (See below for regulated activity). It is illegal to apply for a check unless the role is eligible for one.
If the answer is YES
This role is ‘work with children/vulnerable adults’. You MAY request an Enhanced DBS check. You should also consider whether the role includes undertaking “Regulated Activity” (see below)
“Regulated Activity” is work a person who appears on the DBS barred list is prohibited from doing and includes unsupervised contact with children. For regulated activity “supervised” means regular supervision by someone who themselves is in Regulated Activity. See the Department for Education’s guidance on supervision, available via http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/safeguardingchildren/a00209802/disclosure-barring
The full legal definition of regulated activity is set out in Schedule 4 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. HM Government have produced a factual note on Regulated Activity in relation to Children: scope.
It is a criminal offence for organisations to employ a person or recruit a volunteer who appears on the child DBS barred list, to undertake “Regulated Activity” with children if they are barred from working with them. It is also a criminal offence for a person to seek or engage in activities from which they are barred.
Applying for a DBS
A DBS check can be applied for via the ECF office if the applicant is eligible. Volunteers are not charged by the DBS but the umbrella group that runs the service makes a modest charge. Those who undertake their role in a paid capacity, such as some coaches, have to pay the DBS for a check to be carried out.
DBS certificates have very limited transferability between organisations and different checks may be required for different roles. Therefore the ECF recommends that those applying for a DBS join the DBS Update Service (this is service is free for volunteers) as this will mean that the DBS is transferable between organisations and is automatically updated. This means that future applications for a DBS certificate will not be required.
Posts in the ECF that may require an Enhanced DBS Check
There are a number of posts which are very likely to involve a considerable degree of unsupervised contact with children. In general the type of work will involve regularly caring for, supervising, training, communicating with or being in sole charge of these children and young people. Persons in the following positions will be required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance if they meet the eligibility criteria and to provide suitable references –
- Director of Junior Chess and Education
- Safeguarding Officer
- Director of Home Chess
- International Director
- Arbiters who perform their duties at junior congresses
- Persons travelling abroad as designated officials with ECF teams which include junior players
- Other roles which involve contact with children and young people
English Chess Federation Child Protection Code of Conduct for Staff and Volunteers
The ECF recognises that its staff (officials, coaches, arbiters) and volunteers, and those of its constituent member organisations, involved in chess for children and young people have a great opportunity to be a positive role model and help build an individual’s confidence. Staff and volunteers are expected to:
- Ensure the safety of all children by providing effective supervision and proper planning of organised chess activities.
- Consider the wellbeing and safety of participants before engaging in activities such as coaching or organising playing of chess.
- Encourage and guide participants to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour.
- Treat all young people fairly and ensure they feel valued and respected. Have no favourites.
- Encourage all children not to discriminate on the grounds of religious beliefs, race, gender, social classes or lack of ability.
- Not allow any bullying, or the use of bad language or inappropriate behaviour.
- Appreciate the efforts of all young people and encourage sensible participation in chess activities. Never exert undue influence over performers to obtain personal benefit or reward.
- Be positive, approachable and offer praise to promote the objectives of the club/organisation at all times.
- Not let any allegations of abuse of any kind or poor practice to go unchallenged or unrecorded. Incidents and accidents to be recorded in the line with the procedures of the ECF. Parents will be informed.
- Never use sanctions that humiliate or harm young people.
- Report accidents or incidents of alleged abuse or poor practice to the designated Safeguarding Officer/ person.
- Administer minor first aid (if appropriate) in the presence of others and where required refer more serious incidents to the designated “first aider” or send for/to medical assistance. Avoid administering First Aid involving the removing of children’s clothing unless in the presence of others
- Have access to telephone for immediate contact to emergency services if required.
- Ensure the rights and responsibilities of children or young people are enforced.
- Establish and address the additional needs of disabled participants or other vulnerable groups.
- Not abuse children or young people physically, emotionally or sexually.
- Not engage in a sexual relationship with a child or young person for whom they are responsible
- Maintain confidentiality about sensitive information.
- Respect and listen to the opinions of young people.
- Develop an appropriate working relationship with participants, based on mutual trust and respect.
- Be a role model, displaying consistently high standard of behaviour and appearance (disciplined/committed/time keeping), remember children learn by example.
- Refrain from smoking and consumption of alcohol during direct coaching.
- Avoid taking photos without permission, especially of individuals
- Not accept or give individual gifts to Children and young people without permission from parents/guardians
- Not add minors to their social media accounts or have telephone numbers unless parents have given permission.
- Not spending excessive amounts of time alone with children unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- Never taking children to their home, hotel bedroom or similar (e.g. for coaching) without the additional presence of a person who is, or is authorised by their parent/guardian, or without explicit parental/guardian consent.
- Plan activities which involve more than one other person being present or at least are within sight or hearing of others where possible. This applies to such activities as one-to-one training and travelling to or from chess events.
- Not have any inappropriate verbal or physical contact (Including suggestive gestures) with/in front of children or young people
- For activities such as coaching chess: Hold appropriate valid qualifications/accreditation and/or have appropriate experience in playing chess or engaging in chess activities with children and young people.
Emergency action and first aid
Chess Organisers, coaches and leaders should be prepared with an action plan in the event of an emergency. This will include as a minimum –
- Access to First Aid equipment and a first aid book and/or other similar resource
- Plan for actions if no qualified first aider is available
- Emergency evacuation plan
- Telephone contact if the participant is a minor for consent and information purposes (although prior consent for minor first aid may also be gained in addition to this)
- Telephone contact to the Emergency Services
Safeguarding Officer – Role Description
Organisation: English Chess Federation
Reports to: Lead for Safeguarding/ ECF Board
Grade: Voluntary Position
Requirement: Appointment is subject to a satisfactory enhanced DBS check if eligible and references. Legal background or safeguarding experience is highly desirable.
Purpose: To ensure that the ECF has appropriate arrangements for keeping children and young people safe. To promote the safety and welfare of children and young people.
- Ensure that all issues concerning safety and welfare of children and young people who attend ECF events are properly dealt with through policies, procedures and administrative systems.
- Ensure that everyone involved with the ECF has access to the Child Safeguarding Policy and procedures and is aware of what they should do if they have concerns about a child.
- Receive, record and report information from anyone who has concerns about a child who attends an ECF event.
- Advise and support staff and volunteers on safeguarding/child protection
- Undertake annual monitoring and review of the policy
- Assist with updating the policy in consultation with the Lead for Safeguarding
- Take the lead on dealing with information that may constitute a child protection concern or an allegation about a member of staff or volunteer. This includes assessing and clarifying the information, and taking decisions where in consultation with colleagues, the Lead for Safeguarding, chair of the committee/board and statutory child protection agencies as required. Handle all information sensitively and confidentially.
- Consult with, pass on information to and receive information from statutory child protection agencies such as the local social care department and police. This includes making formal referrals to those agencies if required.
- Undertake “Duty to Refer” to the DBS if required
- Report to each board/committee meeting as required but at least once per year, on the level of risk management being achieved
- Be familiar with how the local safeguarding board works and how to contact them
- Be familiar with issues relating to child protection and keep up to date with developments.
- Attend training in issues relevant to child protection from time to time and share knowledge from that with other members of the ECF.
May involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent/carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.
Is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or “making fun” of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying, (including cyber- bullying) causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non- penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
(Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015)
Form for recording concerns/allegations of abuse, harm or neglect
To be completed by the person with the concern. Only fill in details that you know – do NOT investigate
Date and time of incident/disclosure
Name of your organisation/club/group
Name of child
Date of birth
Name of parent/guardian of child
Contact details (if known)
Are you –
a) reporting your own concerns or
b) responding to concerns raised by someone else?
(delete as appropriate)
Name & role of person raising the concern
Names and details of anyone alleged to have caused the incident or to be the source of any concerns
Names and details of anyone who has witnessed the incident or who shares the concerns
Please provide details of the incident or concerns you have, including times, dates, description of any injuries
Have you spoken to the child’s parents/carers? If so, please provide details of what was said. If not, please state the reason for this.
Please note: concerns should be discussed with the family unless –
- the view is that a family member might be responsible for abusing the child
- someone may be put in danger by the parents being informed
- informing the family might interfere with a criminal investigation.
If any of these circumstances apply, consult with the local authority children’s social care services to decide
Has the situation been discussed with the safeguarding officer? Yes/No (delete as appropriate)
If so, please summarise the discussion
After discussion with the safeguarding officer, do you still have child protection concerns?
If in doubt you or the safeguarding officer should ring Children’s Social Care Services for advice.
Have you informed the statutory child protection authorities?
Date and time:
Name and phone number of person spoken to:
Local authority children’s social care services: Yes/No
Date and time:
Name and phone number of person spoken to:
Date and time:
Name and phone number of person spoken to:
Any action agreed with child protection authorities?
Where relevant, the reasons why a decision was taken not to refer those concerns to a statutory agency
Where relevant, what has happened since referring to statutory agency/agencies? Include the date and nature of feedback from referral.
Any further actions undertaken by you or the organisation e.g. support to the child or family.
Name of the person completing the report
Signature of the person completing the report
Designation of the person completing the report
Advice- Stages of Acting on a Concern
- Initially talk to a child/young person about what you are observing. It is okay to ask questions, for example: “I’ve noticed that you don’t appear yourself today, is everything okay? But never use leading questions
- Listen carefully to what the young person has to say and take it seriously. Act at all times towards the child as if you believe what they are saying.
- It is not the responsibility of groups to investigate incidences of suspected child abuse but to gather information and refer only. Since you are not investigating, do not take photographs of injuries or video the child.
- Always explain to children and young people that any information they have given will have to be shared with others, if this indicates they and or other children are at risk of harm;
- Notify the organisation’s Named Person for safeguarding
- Record what was said as soon as possible after any disclosure; the person who receives the allegation or has the concern should complete a pro-forma and ensure it is signed and dated.
- Respect confidentiality and file documents securely;
- The Named person(s) should take immediate action if there is a suspicion that a child has been abused or likely to be abused. In this situation the Named Person should contact the Children and Young Peoples Service or police.
- Once you have made contact with Children and Young Peoples Service they should within 24 hours of receiving your referral –
- discuss reasons for the concern with the referrer
- involve and discuss with appropriate professionals/agencies
- establish if a criminal offence has been committed and involve the police
- take into consideration, based on available information, whether there are concerns about the child’s health or developments.
- look at a further enquiry, assessment or take immediate action if necessary
- consider timescales and how best to undertake it.
NB Parents / carers will need to be informed about any referral to Children & Young People’s Service unless to do so would place the child at an increased risk of harm.
Sometimes concerns about a child may not be about abuse. You may be concerned that a child or family need some help in making sure all the child’s needs are met to address a particular problem. Examples of this might be where a child is suffering because of poverty or has a disability and needs extra help. In these instances you can get them help from the Children and Young Persons Services who can use Common Assessment Framework (CAF) as a means of support.
Considerations in allegations against volunteers and staff
Following an allegation
The LADO will pursue the allegation firstly with the organisation to obtain further details of the incident and circumstances. The liaison with the organisation should determine whether the allegation is unsubstantiated.
If the allegation is a definite possibility and there is cause for concern that a child is suffering, at risk or likely to suffer significant harm, then the LADO should initiate a strategy discussion with Children’s Social Services. The LADO and organisation should be involved in the loop of activity and outcomes.
If a criminal offence has occurred then the LADO should immediately involve the police and decide whether an investigation is needed. The organisation should be involved in any discussion. If relevant, the LADO or police will advise the organisation that they have a “duty to refer” an individual to the DBS
‘Whistleblowing’ and Handling Allegations Within the Organisation
It is the duty of everyone in the organisation to pass on any concerns or allegations of child abuse without delay
- There should be a Safeguarding Lead or Officer to whom all concerns are referred. That person would then refer to Children’s Social Care Services.
- It is important to share any child protection concerns with Children’s Social Care Services and to make a joint and open decision as to how to proceed.
- In the rare situations that the concerns are about the child protection person, it is important to refer to the deputy person. This may not be appropriate, in which case any member may personally refer direct to Children’s Social Care Services.
For an academy or similar, in the case that the Safeguarding Lead or Officer is implicated, the head/director/principal should be informed. In the case of a head/director/principal being implicated then the supervising board should be informed. In extremely exceptional circumstances it is the duty of the person with the concern to refer under “Whistle Blowing” and contact the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer, or the police if a crime may have committed.
- In an emergency, dialling 999 may be the only sensible course of action.
- The LADO, Children’s Social Care Services and/or the police will advise, assist and support you in any future actions you would need to take e.g. informing parents
- Ensure that all everyone understands that any whistleblower disclosing information in good faith will be protected if he/she has a reasonable suspicion of child abuse.
Photography and Videos
Recording the event with photos or videos can be really important to celebrate children’s achievements. Unfortunately, photos and videos, including the use of camera phones, can be misused by child abusers, especially via the Internet.
It is therefore important to be clear about –
- explaining to parents and carers why caution is necessary
- the purpose of photos e.g. parent’s own record, media & publicity etc
- the content required when using a professional photographer
- informing parents and seeking their consent for any publication or media use
- publishing only limited children/young people’s details alongside their photos in newspapers etc
- any club/group photos being taken only during the activity or on the premises
- all those taking photos signing a registration form
Make sure parents understand that you will be taking photos or video footage and be clear how you will use them.
If the images will be reproduced in the media it is vital to seek parental permission and give a general description to the press instead of names or other identifying information of children are used.
If the public wish to photograph or video the activity ensure they register their name and address with you beforehand, put up a sign near the area, suggested wording “Anyone wishing to use photographic/film/video equipment should register their intent with the promoter of the event”.
Be wary of adults who take photos who do not appear to be with any children as parents or carers. Exercise extra caution if you post any images on a website, it is safer to use large group shots or blurred images for this.
If you have concerns about the welfare of a child contact your local Children’s Social Care Services Office or out of hours / emergency duty officer
CHILDREN’S SOCIAL CARE SERVICES POLICE: 101
NSPCC: 0808 800 500
CHILDLINE: 0800 1111
In an emergency Dial 999 for the Police –REMEMBER DO NOT DELAY
Online Chess Code of Conduct
The ECF will –
- Seek to ensure that children participating in ECF organised online events are either able to retain their anonymity or are not identified as juniors except where participation in the event is limited to juniors or the publication of details is made clear on entry forms.
- Either disable the group chat facility for online tournaments and events organised by the ECF or seek to monitor chat where it is not disabled.
- Email direct links for joining junior invitational tournaments where feasible and consider using passwords.
- Keep relevant records of individuals joining ECF online events or clubs and handle these in accordance with the ECF’s GDPR policy.
- Take all decisions regarding children’s participation with appropriate reference to their parents and guardians.
- Provide parents and guardians with access to the ECF Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct for children
- Ensure that parents are informed about reporting procedures for breaches.
- Maintain a logged record of contacts from parents by the event organiser.
Parents and Guardians
Parents and Guardians should be encouraged to –
- Understand the protections for juniors offered by the platform on which their children are participating and make use of those facilities where feasible and appropriate.
- Review their child’s profile and consider whether any information provided (and which is generally available) might compromise the privacy of their child or provide third parties with the ability to communicate with their child.
- Consider other measures to protect the privacy of the child, such as not permitting “followers” and preventing unmonitored messaging to and from the child.
- Consider exercising the ability to disable chat or other unmonitored communications between the child and other users except where this is necessary for the purposes of participation.
- Be familiar with online child safety.
All players whether adult or junior will be encouraged to observe minimum standards of behaviour in online clubs or events, including –
- Complying with fair play standards and the rules of platform providers.
- Refraining from inappropriate language.
- Not sending spam or persistent unsolicited messages.
- Not harassing other players or administrators or otherwise acting offensively.
- Not sharing passwords or access to other accounts.
Organisers and administrators (including coaches) should exercise caution and should seek to –
- Communicate with juniors on a one-to-one basis only via their parents, e.g. with the email address provided on the tournament entry form or on the ECF membership database, except when authorised for teaching purposes.
- Only communicate with juniors on a one-to-many basis via tournament websites, e.g. to inform members of the team or group about a specific upcoming match or tournament for members of that team or group.
- Encourage parents to set their child’s account to a child-friendly mode, sometimes called Safe Mode or Kid Mode.
- Avoid one to one messaging with juniors either through an unmonitored platform or social media.
- Either disable chat for juniors or monitor where it is permitted.
- Monitor behaviour standards of both juniors and adults interacting with juniors.
- Apply appropriate sanctions in respect of inappropriate behaviour such as muting a player or excluding them.
- If any examples of abusive behaviour targeted at a junior is identified in ECF tournaments, report this to either the ECF Safeguarding Officer or Deputy Safeguarding Officer, rather than dealing with the incident themselves.