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Procedures - Pre-event

The pre event procedures are key to a successful trip. This section summarises the steps you should take and offers checklists and templates for key areas of work to help ensure smooth planning before you go away. 

1.1 Selection

Selection takes place as per agreed and published selection policies.

1.2 Athlete acceptance of places

On selection for the teams and trips athletes will be sent an email and request to accept places before a defined date. The email will include a relevant logistics briefing with all generic information for the trips in that year. When athletes don’t accept their place the place will be offered to the next eligible athlete. 

There may be circumstances where pre acceptance of places is required (particularly if costs are incurred by the committee for the trip prior to selection). In this instance athletes withdrawing after selection may be liable for any costs incurred.

Team staff and athletes contact, medical and emergency contact details should be collated at the first opportunity and stored in line with GDPR. A template can be found here.

1.3 Junior athlete parent meeting

For Junior and U23 teams an athlete-parent meeting will be organised early in the season so the parents can meet the Junior/U23 team manager. In the meeting trip expectations and the logistics planning should be explained with an opportunity for parents to ask questions.

1.4 Kit

All British selected teams will be expected to wear the kit of the British Canoeing official supplier.

Kit orders should be placed with British Canoeing in line with the order schedule (shared at the start of each season) using this order form 

1.5 Anti Doping

All members of British Canoeing have to abide by British Canoeing and UKAD anti-doping rules.  All persons entering ICF and/or IRF events have to abide by ICF/IRF anti-doping rules.

Anti-doping education is not just in case an athlete is tested, but the integrity of sport to ensure our athletes are competing clean, making informed decisions and reducing the risks of inadvertent doping.

British Canoeing have an anti-doping education strategy “Paddle Clean” which sets out the education requirements set by the ICF and UKAD. 

National Team Athletes

  • Clean Sport 1 workshop every other year (delivered annually face to face or virtually - liaise with British Canoeing staff to organise)

  • For those selected for ICF or ECA events, the online WADA Alpha course (free and only required once in an athlete’s career).  

  • Team Managers are recommended to keep a copy of certificates on file as this is a condition of participation and sometimes the WADA Alpha system and ICF system don’t align.

National Team Coaches

National Team Staff

  • UKAD Clean Sport Advisor - free online and renewed every other year (at least one member of team staff on the trip must have this).

1.6 Risk assessment

Risk Assessments illustrate good practice forethought planning and collective expertise. They should be recorded and reviewed. All elements of travel have potential hazards and risk to volunteers and athletes, therefore the control measures identified should be sufficient to reduce the risk to acceptable levels. 

In the early stages of trip planning a risk assessment should be written. The risk assessment will detail mitigations to reduce risks that need to be considered. It should highlight risk that can disrupt trips, eg,  loss of passport, accidents on and around the water, medical issues. 

 The Risk Assessment process must be seen as on-going’ and ‘dynamic, ie, professional judgements and decisions regarding safety will need to be made during the activity. If the control measures aren’t sufficient, the activity must not proceed. 

 The Team Leader has the overall responsibility to ensure that the trip risk assessments are appropriate, and should make any necessary additions or changes. Risk assessments should consider food, drink and hygiene risks and also physical safety away from the course and hotel. 

Risk Assessment guidance and template.

Driving and vehicle risk assessment example

1.7 Welfare and Safeguarding

British Canoeing Safeguarding Policies for adults and children can be found here and here.

Key recommendations for safeguarding (standards should be consistent for all trips wherever possible):

  • All team staff should have an up to date DBS certificate.

  • All team managers of U18 trips and all coaches of U18s should have had face to face safeguarding training. 

  • Trip to have a named person (Welfare Officer or Welfare Point of Contact) for concerns

  • At least one volunteer on the trip should be trained in safeguarding

  • Male and Female volunteers for U18 trips

  • Parent/ Carer contact details for all U18s

  • Reporting and escalation routes known by all team staff

  • Disciplinary procedure in place and understood

  • 2 adults in group chats with U18s

  • Adults should not share rooms with children (other than athletes own parents/ carers)

  • Rooming must be age and gender appropriate

  • Incorporate safeguarding issues around training and competition venue within the risk assessment

  • Supervision ratio 1:10 for U18 trips

  • Consent and medical forms completed and accessible

  • Volunteers should not drink alcohol whilst duties are outstanding

Social Media – key recommendations

  • Set up a group chat including the whole team 

  • Write down any rules and expectations in a group chat so you can refer to them if needed

  • Communicate rules and expectations with volunteers, athletes and parents in advance of the trip

  • Understand safe security (passwords, pin codes, logging in on other devices, WiFi)

  • Be careful with location tags and GPS 

  • Don’t use full names or tag accounts on images of U18s unless you have consent from parents

  • Avoid posting publicly about incidents or information that might be considered sensitive 

  • Explain to athletes they are representing GB and so posts on their own social media accounts should be responsible 

  • Be aware of the risks to young people on social media: bullying, grooming, exposure to inappropriate, violent, disturbing or hateful content

Useful Downloads

Nat Teams Image 2

1.8 Discipline

Managing behaviour

  • Set clear rules and expectations in advance of the trip 

  • Circulate a Code of Conduct in advance of the trip

  • Clarify that breaches of the rules or Code of Conduct will not be tolerated, and why:

    • They are for YOUR safety

    • We have a Duty of Care 

    • Your behaviour impacts others on the trip – athletes AND volunteers

    • The purpose of the trip is performance – rules are there to give everyone the best chance to perform at their best.

  • Agree on a reasonable escalation for behavioural issues and communicate this in advance of the trip (example)

    • Conversation about the concerning behaviour/informal resolution

    • Formal warning and notify parents 

    • Remove privileges on the trip

    • Send home/exclude from future trips

  • If disputed or sufficiently serious, Disputes and Disciplinary procedure may be required

1.9 Visa and immunisation requirements

Check the visa and immunisation requirements for the country to visit via the FCO website. Please ensure you check requirements for minors. When immunisation is required please speak with your GP. 

1.10 Athlete contributions

Athletes may be required to contribute financially to the trip. You should communicate the amounts as soon as possible, ideally prior to selection so that athletes (and parents) can make informed decisions around participation.

Discipline committees may want to consider setting up a hardship fund to help paddlers who may not be able to afford the costs of a trip. There should be an open, transparent and robust process for assessing applications to any hardship fund.

1.11 Entry/Accreditation

Entry/Accreditation registration for ICF and ECA events will be registered on the ICF system by British Canoeing. 

The following information is required for accreditations:

  • Full name

  • DOB

  • Country of Birth

  • Nationality 

  • Passport type photo

Deadlines for the receipt of entry/accreditation information will be shared by British Canoeing on an event by event basis.

1.12 Trip Planner

The trip planner highlights the key logistical details on one document. The document should be used by team managers to ensure flights have been booked and all important information is at hand. It also includes important information for other team staff so they are aware of flight times, pick up times, car hire details, rooming etc. Please see the template for the trip planner here.

1.13 Insurance

All athletes on official British Canoeing competitions or trips must buy in to the British Canoeing insurance policy to ensure that they are covered for competition (most normal travel insurance policies do not cover individuals for competition).

Team staff are covered by a separate British Canoeing staff/volunteer policy with no charge.

Any team staff who are paddling in the competition environment, e.g. Ocean Racing para escorts, will require the athlete travel insurance.

At least 1 month before the trip email British Canoeing to request athlete travel insurance. The following details are required:

  • Date of trip

  • Athlete names

  • Location of trip

1.14 WhatsApp planners for Athletes

Athletes will have received generic trip information and trip headlines in the trip planner. 

WhatsApp can be used effectively for follow up planning information for athletes, eg:

  • 2-3 weeks prior, trip logistics (template)
  • On arrival important practical details like room numbers for staff (template)

  • Before departure logistics for the return home (template)

1.15 Reserve hotel

As soon as possible the reservations for the hotels for trips should be made. Often hotels will be revisited after previous visits. When new hotels need to be found other disciplines/ nations can be asked for experience in the same area.

Extra hotel rooms should be booked to accommodate the maximum amount of athletes and coaches. Cancellation T&C’s need to be clearly understood before signing and the cancellation date(s) highlighted on the trip to do sheet. 

Payment deadlines should be added to the trip to do sheet.

1.16 Reserve Training Water

Whilst looking at hotel bookings the options for training water should be investigated and booked where required and if possible.

1.17 Book minibuses

British Canoeing have a fleet of minibuses which Non-Olympic disciplines can hire. All drivers should read the British Canoeing Driving Guidelines.

Where possible Team Managers should identify potential drivers pre season (December/January) and share the details listed below.

The booking process is outlined below:

  • Email Dawn Keall: [email protected] with your booking request. Include dates of use including pick up and drop off date, whether a trailer is needed, contact name and number.

  • All drivers need to send:

    • a copy of their driving licence

    • a PDF of their DVLA driving licence summary 

    • a statement either declaring any points or accidents they have had in the past 5 years or stating that they have not had any.

Drivers must be 25 or over and not over 70. Certain exceptions can be made, but would need to be approved by British Canoeing.

All British Canoeing Minibuses have a driver pack inside them. If you are hiring you’re your own vehicle it would be good practise to include the same pack. 

Drivers planning to tow a trailer must have B+E entitlement on their driving licence. Older drivers will have this entitlement, younger drivers who passed their test after 1 January 1997 will need to take a test to tow a trailer. 

(NB - an exception is the WWR trailer which was bought specifically as lightweight trailer with a MAM (weight of trailer including the maximum authorised load) under 750kg and can be towed with only category B entitlement).

1.18 Hold and book flights

Ensure the cancellation T&C’s are understood. Make a note of the date final names and numbers need to be confirmed on the trip to do sheet. 

Low costs airlines can be used once the names for the trips are confirmed. 

Tickets are often cheapest about 3 months out from the trip. 

Special offers from the used airlines can be useful. 

1.19 Luggage on flights

Depending on trip length, climate, overland travel the number of travel bags gets decided. 

If the team manager feels there is a need for extra luggage allowance, extra bags can be booked for specified paddling items only. 

When it is not possible to drive or fly canoeing items or other luggage, freight would need to be considered. 

1.20 Print boarding cards/check in

Depending on the airline check-in can be done between 7 days and 24 hours in advance. Please ensure you know what the earliest check in date is and make a note of this on your trip to do planner so you can ensure reservation of seats and meals where applicable. 

Boarding cards are added to the trip pack or digital boarding passes will be shared in the trip WhatsApp group. Please ensure athletes are careful only to use their own boarding card, if you have concerns this might be a challenge please share athlete boarding passes with coaches only.