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Welfare and Safeguarding

As an event organiser, it is critical that you consider the welfare of those attending the event, whether as participants, workforce or spectators. This is particularly relevant for children, young people and adults identified as being at risk. 

Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of these individuals and protect them from harm.

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Safeguarding Officer

All events should have someone who is responsible for safeguarding at the event. They will be the main point of contact for any safeguarding concerns people may have during the event and be responsible for managing any situations that arise. Where possible, this person should have previous experience in this area, e.g. as a club welfare officer. 

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The person should have attended the UK Coaching Safeguarding and Protecting Children workshop (or Home Nation equivalent) and an NSPCC Time to Listen or In Safe Hands (Scotland) workshop to gain an understanding of the requirements of the role and to identify how to operate. This training should be regularly updated and refresher courses should be undertaken every 3 years.

More details on the training required and how to access it is available on the British Canoeing website

Safeguarding Plan

Any organisation providing activities for children, or adults identified as being at risk, should have a safeguarding policy and safeguarding plans in place.

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A policy sets out the organisers’ commitment to keeping children, young people and adults identified as being at risk safe, and how, in broad terms, they will do so.

The event safeguarding plan describes how this policy and procedures will operate in the context of the specific event.

The Child protection in Sport unit has a Safe Sports Events Management Tool which may be useful to review. 

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Safeguarding policies

Good governance is dependent upon organisers having clear, robust policies in place that are regularly reviewed.  These policies must be structured in such a way as to make them easy to understand and apply when necessary. 

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The content of any policy must be both clear and concise if it is to be effective.  The content should include what the policy is trying to achieve and why, the process that will be taken by the organisers when applying the policy and, if applicable, the potential outcome(s) should the policy not be adhered to.  It is important that all policies are regularly reviewed by the organisers to ensure their continued applicability and relevance.

Many event organisers will be able to use existing policies for clubs or committees and adapt them where required for the specific event. British Canoeing has a range of safeguarding policies that can be adapted to suit clubs and centres of all sizes.  All of the policies can be found on British Canoeing’s website. The CPSU also has some within it's resource library

Photo Consent Forms

British Canoeing recognises and acknowledges that publicity, pictures and/or recordings of young people enjoying Paddlesport are vital to celebrate the achievements of children and to promote the sport to a wider audience.  However, in accordance with Child Protection in Sport Unit guidance, British Canoeing will not permit photographs, video or other images of young people to be taken and used without the consent of the parents/carers and the child or young person involved.

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Event organisers should always follow industry best practices for the use of photographs and videos and adhere to the written guidelines for the use of Photographic and Filming equipment which is available via the British Canoeing website.

There is also additional guidance via the CPSU website

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Activity Consent Forms

Depending on the type of activities that you are offering as part of your event, it may be necessary to gain consent, particularly when working with juniors. 

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For some basic activities, a simple consent form that people can sign is sufficient. This may include acknowledgement that:

  • Participants understand the activity taking place 

  • Participants understand the risks involved in the activity, e.g. risks associated with water and physical activity

  • Participants will listen to briefings and instructions and behave accordingly

  • Participants have notified organisers of any medical condition they should be aware of

In order to register consent, it’s worth collecting the following information:

  • Name of participant

  • Signature of participant or parent/guardian

  • Date

The consent may be gained as part of wider data collection such as registering contact, or emergency contact details. If the event includes a competition, then the entry form will include information needed for the competition as well this additional information. There is additional detail on entry forms in the safety and participant interaction sections of the toolkit.   

It’s also important to make sure that any consent form includes basic information on data protection and how the information will be stored.