Why is it important for my club to have a club welfare officer?
The main purpose of a club welfare officer is to assist with the safeguarding and protection of children and young people within a club, and to promote the club’s policies and procedures on this. They also act as the main point of contact to deal with any concerns around safeguarding within your club. As part of HSBC UK Go-Ride registration, we ask that the club welfare officer does not also hold the position of club coach, so that there is someone who is independent should there be an issue with delivery of the session.
What knowledge, skills and training should a club welfare officer have?
A club welfare officer should be friendly, approachable and confident enough to deal with sensitive and confidential matters discreetly and tactfully. They should also be good listeners and effective communicators.
It is essential that club welfare officers in Go-Ride and Clubmark clubs attend a Sports Coach UK 'Safeguarding and protecting children' course. This course will enable them to understand welfare issues in a sport specific context, learn how to handle situations if they have any concerns, know where to go for extra support and signpost appropriately to other services.
All club welfare officers will need to have a DBS (formerly CRB) check. British Cycling’s compliance team will contact club welfare officers about this and it is important that Go-Ride Clubs keep us up-to-date with their current volunteers so we are aware of who requires this check.
It is also a good idea for club welfare officers to familiarise themselves with the British Cycling safeguarding and protecting children policy, which will assist in the role.
Upon completion of safeguarding training, club welfare officers should forward a copy of their course certificate to the Go-Ride team at British Cycling HQ, to help us to ensure that appropriately qualified volunteers are operating in clubs and so we can keep our records up-to-date.
Welfare officers will need to provide evidence of safeguarding training and undergo a British Cycling Enhanced DBS check within 90 days of taking on the role. If the club fails to have a compliant Welfare Officer within 90 days then removal of British Cycling club affiliation may be considered.
How often do club welfare officers need to update their training?
The safeguarding and protecting children training is valid for three years and it is important that club welfare officers keep their knowledge of safeguarding up-to-date. Go-Ride and Clubmark club welfare officers who have previously attended a face-to-face safeguarding and protecting children course are able to update their training via an online course through the NSPCC.
An additional training course called ‘Time to Listen’ is delivered by sport-specific tutors and can further enhance the knowledge of club welfare officers in a cycling club setting. There is also the opportunity for further training at the annual HSBC UK Go-Ride Conferences, which are open to all volunteers within Go-Ride Clubs and also provide an opportunity to meet other club volunteers.
How many Club Welfare Officers should my club have?
To ensure the role of the club welfare officer does not become too much work for one person, it is a good idea to appoint a deputy welfare officer as well. Having more than one person responsible for safeguarding young people within a club ensures that any particularly difficult situations are not left entirely to one individual to deal with.
It is also a good idea to have both a male and female welfare officer identified within your club, to ensure everyone is comfortable when raising any gender sensitive concerns.
How can a club promote the role of the club welfare officer?
It is important for club welfare officers to make themselves known at club coaching sessions, races and events. Clubs could display a photo and basic contact details of the club welfare officer on their website, notice boards and in the welcome pack for new members, to ensure that all members are aware of who to contact should they need someone to confide in. It is also a good idea for club welfare officers to be on the club committee, to ensure that safeguarding is fully embedded within the club.
What additional support is available for club welfare officers?
We send out a club welfare officer newsletter on a quarterly basis, which informs club welfare officers of any safeguarding updates and potential development opportunities. Here are the links to the last four issues.
If you are interested in becoming a club welfare officer and would like to find out more, or if you are an existing club welfare officer and need additional guidance in your role, please get in touch with the Go-Ride team: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0161 274 2070.