A national plan for sport, health and wellbeing Contents

Chapter 6: Duty of care and safeguarding

327.This chapter will begin by setting out the existing duty of care and safeguarding framework. We then identify limitations around the system and set out how to create a robust duty of care and safeguarding framework from grassroots to elite sport in a national plan. This includes examination of the need for an independent sports ombudsman, mandatory reporting, and improvements to adult and elite safeguarding. Finally, we look at issues around monitoring and evaluation of duty of care and safeguarding.

328.In this chapter, we primarily use the term “safeguarding” to refer to the obligations organisations have to protect children and adults from harm proscribed by legislation and standards established in the sector.461 The term “duty of care” is used to denote wider responsibilities that those who facilitate sport and recreation offers have to ensure the welfare, personal safety and mental wellbeing of participants, volunteers and staff.

Existing framework

329.The 2015 Sporting Future strategy identified duty of care responsibilities in the following areas:

330.Sport England and UK Sport’s Code for Sports Governance (‘the Code’) was published in 2016. It established requirements relating to duty of care and safeguarding for bodies, such as NGBs, in receipt of public funding that Sport England and UK Sport distribute.463 In July 2021, Sport England and UK Sport announced that the Code was to be revised and that it would include new requirements including funded bodies appointing a Director responsible for welfare and sport safety. The revised Code is expected to be published in December 2021.464 This is coupled with existing work by Sport England and UK Sport to support organisations with their own safeguarding work, and the expansion of the Safeguarding Case Management Service, which is offered by Sport Resolutions465 to provide NGBs with access to administrative support and expert safeguarding services.466

Safeguarding children, adults, and elite athletes

331.The Standards for safeguarding and protecting children in sport were established by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) in 2006 and revised in 2018. The Standards cover 10 areas including policy and procedures for responding to concerns, prevention, codes of ethics and conduct, and access to advice and support.467 The CPSU provides guidance, education and training, and evaluation and benchmarking to organisations across the sport and physical activity sector, including NGBs.468 Sport England works with the CPSU to support child safeguarding in the sector and provides £500,000 to the CPSU each year.469

332.The Ann Craft Trust leads on providing advice, guidance and targeted training for sports organisations around safeguarding of adults.470 Its Safeguarding Adults in Sport Framework covers safeguarding and governance, implementation of safeguarding responsibility, training, recruitment, codes of conduct and case management.471 Sport England provides £300,000 to the Ann Craft Trust each year.472 The CPSU and Ann Craft Trust inform professional safeguarding standards established by CIMSPA for children and young people, and adults at risk.473

333.For elite athletes, UK Sport funds the British Athletes Commission which provides independent, confidential expert and professional support to athletes. If necessary, the British Athletes Commission can provide athletes with legal advice and support to challenge discriminatory or inappropriate behaviour.474 UK Sport also facilitates the Sport Integrity Team which works with the Ann Craft Trust “to develop better ‘adults at risk’ safeguarding procedures” for NGBs funded by UK Sport.475

The role of NGBs

334.NGBs and other bodies in receipt of public funding from Sport England or UK Sport are required to uphold standards set out by the Code for Sports Governance and have “clear, legally compliant athlete disciplinary and grievance policies”. The Code states that individual funding agreements between Sport England and UK Sport and NGBs “contain specific obligations concerning safeguarding” that require appropriate policies and procedures to be put in place.476

335.NGBs funded by Sport England or UK Sport must implement and adhere to the Standards for safeguarding and protecting children in sport issued by the CPSU.477 This requires any organisation providing activities for people under the age of 18 to have a child protection and safeguarding policy consistent with relevant legislation and Government guidance, and to have a lead safeguarding officer.478

336.Smaller, unfunded NGBs and sports bodies, from charities to coaching companies, are not required to meet those standards except as necessary to comply with statutory requirements for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. Unfunded NGBs and other bodies are not routinely monitored or assessed for compliance.

337.Examples of how NGBs are meeting duty of care and safeguarding standards in their sport are included in Box 4.

Box 4: Examples of duty of care and safeguarding initiatives by NGBs

The LTA established dedicated venue welfare officers who ensure that appropriate criminal record checks for staff at the venue are undertaken. The LTA said that its coaches are LTA-accredited and therefore meet safeguarding standards. Oliver Scadgell, Participation Director for the LTA, told us that they partnered last year with Sport England on a ‘Safe to Play’ campaign. This used augmented reality and real-life safeguarding cases to train coaches, venue staff and parents.479

Swim England launched its ‘Stronger Affiliation’ accreditation scheme which acts as a kitemark of safeguarding quality. It noted that over 450 swimming clubs have achieved accreditation which gives pool users confidence that personnel “have the necessary safeguarding checks in place to ensure members’ safety”.480

338.Sport England has run a pilot project with smaller NGBs to explore how NGBs’ safeguarding processes can be supplemented and supported by the provision of outsourced case management expertise. Working with nine NGBs, this initial pilot tested and developed four support services: initial case advice, investigation services and access to the National Safeguarding Panel for investigations, hearings and appeals, an online case management system for children and young people, and accredited training for NGBs’ lead safeguarding officers. 481

339.The evaluation of the initial pilot in autumn 2020 concluded that the programme successfully improved the effectiveness and ability of NGBs to handle safeguarding cases and made several recommendations that are being implemented by Sport England. These include the phased roll-out of support services to NGBs, further help to share expertise, and efforts to ensure consistency and embed safeguarding best practice and oversight.482

Creating a robust duty of care and safeguarding system from grassroots to elite sport

340.Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all participants is critical to deliver the national plan’s principle of a welcoming and inclusive environment in sport and recreation.

341.We heard about the challenges that NGBs face to uphold high duty of care and safeguarding standards for both adults and children. Ralf Rimmer, CEO of the Rugby Football League (RFL), Natalie Justice-Dearn, CEO of Rounders England, and Adrian Christy, former CEO of Badminton England, told us there is a lack of resource available to uphold safeguarding standards and deal with incidents and complaints consistently. Nick Pink, CEO of England Hockey, told us that publicly funded NGBs also struggle with resources because public funding cannot be used to cover duty of care and safeguarding responsibilities.483

342.We heard that resource constraints can be more acute among smaller NGBs and those which are not publicly funded. Professor Mike Hartill, Director of the Centre for Child Protection & Safeguarding in Sport at Edge Hill University, told us that “smaller governing bodies do not have the resources of the bigger and richer governing bodies to implement safeguarding … at the same speed or scale as other bodies.”484 Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport, told us that although some governing bodies “are very well equipped … there are other sports that are probably less mature and need some more help.”485

343.Lisa Wainwright, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, warned that smaller, unfunded bodies that do not have strong standards in place present a potential safeguarding risk.486 The CPSU said that “there are millions of children taking part in activity outside the traditional sport structures” and called for additional resources to support safeguarding in those activities too.487

344.British Cycling suggested that NGBs should receive ring-fenced funding to ensure that the quality of safeguarding services offered to individuals is not dependent on revenue.488 Kimberley Walsh, Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager at the Ann Craft Trust, suggested that some of the public funding for NGBs could be ring-fenced for adult safeguarding.489

345.In addition to resource constraints, we heard that duty of care and safeguarding is not always given the priority it needs from those in senior leadership positions. The CPSU warned that a “block” to progressing and elevating duty of care and safeguarding can be found “at a senior level where safeguarding is not seen as so much of a priority”.490 Kimberley Walsh told us that there are instances of “a real disconnect” between lead safeguarding officers in NGBs and the senior leadership.491 Professor Hartill told us that some NGB lead safeguarding officers have felt isolated and found it very difficult to do their role.492 EMD UK noted that in some organisations, the lead safeguarding officer roles “are wrapped into other roles” reducing the amount of time given to this area of work and this is more likely to be the case in smaller, unfunded NGBs.493

346.The CPSU noted that although safeguarding is part of the funding agreements for NGBs and Active Partnerships, there is no regulatory body or clear process about what would happen if they were not meeting their safeguarding requirements.494 Adrian Christy, former CEO of Badminton England, told us that currently the sector cares “more about what someone sticks in their arm than we do about someone protecting a child”.495

347.The EFL Trust, the charitable arm of the EFL, said that “it is vital” organisations work with the CPSU and the Ann Craft Trust to review their standards and clearly define the responsibilities relating to safeguarding throughout all levels of organisations. It added that this includes “clarity of responsibility for board members and leadership teams, through to the designated safeguarding staff, project managers and delivery staff.”496

An independent sports ombudsman

348.Baroness Grey-Thompson, a member of this committee, published her independent review on Duty of Care in Sport in April 2017. The call for an independent ombudsman is one of seven priority recommendations made in the report. The priority recommendations are set out in Box 5.

Box 5: Seven ‘priority recommendations’ in Baroness Grey-Thompson’s independent review on Duty of Care in Sport

  • To create a Sports Ombudsman (or Sports Duty of Care Quality Commission);
  • Develop an independent benchmark survey to measure duty of care, to monitor whether duty of care policies are working, and to inform future policy and investment decisions;
  • All NGBs to have a mandatory, named Duty of Care Guardian with responsibility for engaging with participants across the talent pathways and in community sport and to provide assurance at board level;
  • All prospective elite athletes (and families, if relevant) to be given a full induction including steps involved with entering the elite system, training and competing expectations, and what to expect when exiting the elite level;
  • Conduct independent exit surveys for participants leaving formal programmes, the results of which would be taken into account in future funding discussions;
  • To establish a Duty of Care Charter; and
  • To independently fund the British Athlete Commission (BAC).

Source: Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, DL, Duty of Care in Sport: Independent Report to Government (April 2017): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/610130/Duty_of_Care_Review_-_April_2017__2.pdf [accessed 17 November 2021]

349.The independent review stated that an independent sports ombudsman should have powers to hold NGBs to account “for the duty of care they provide to all athletes, coaching staff and support staff, providing independent assurance and accountability”, and could support the British Athletes Commission by providing “third party assurance”.497

350.At present, NGBs are responsible for investigating complaints made within their sport. If a criminal offence is alleged, the NGB would be expected to report it to the police and appropriate safeguarding authorities. Otherwise, the complaint will fall within the NGB’s own internal procedures. UK Sport developed new athlete discipline and grievance policies in response to the independent review. This mandated an independent appeal element facilitated by Sport Resolutions in cases where matters remain unresolved following an NGB internal process or when a complaint would be best resolved by independent intervention.498

351.Witnesses expressed disappointment at the pace at which Baroness Grey-Thompson’s recommendations had been implemented. The CPSU said the Government’s lacklustre response to the report and subsequent delays in implemented recommendations “has not been helpful”.499 Anna Kessel, Women’s Sports Editor at The Telegraph, said the independent review was “a landmark moment” but that it has not been properly taken forward by Government or the sector.500

352.Explaining the lack of progress in implementing the review, Ben Dean, Director for Sport and Gambling at DCMS, told us that “some of the resources for duty of care had to be reprioritised to focus on urgent Covid work”.501

353.On the issue of the independent sport ombudsman, we heard that athletes at all levels are increasingly coming forward to speak out about duty of care and safeguarding issues but more support was needed, including from an independent body such as an independent sports ombudsman. We also heard that the capacity of NGBs to deal with complaints can vary and that NGBs themselves would welcome more support in this area.

354.Joanna Coates, former CEO of UK Athletics, told us that increasing diversity within NGBs and better governance standards has contributed to athletes being more willing to come forward to raise duty of care and safeguarding issues.502 However, Kimberley Walsh expressed concern that failure on the part of NGBs to deal with complaints effectively can lead to participants feeling that their only options are to “put up with it” or leave the sport.503

355.Jane Nickerson, CEO of Swim England, told us that there are some cases which do not meet existing thresholds for a full investigation or fit within the internal complaints system which end up being difficult for NGBs to adjudicate. She suggested that some centralised support including resources would be helpful in dealing with such cases.504 Women in Sport said that an independent sports ombudsman would support vulnerable individuals to come forward.505

356.Barry Jones MBE, Secretary and Founder of the Police Community Clubs of Great Britain, Active Partnerships and the APPG on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights all spoke in favour of an independent body on safeguarding issues.506 Goalball UK called for an independent body to act “across all sport and recreation bodies” independent of UK Sport and Home Nations Sports Councils.507 Adrian Christy, former CEO of Badminton England, called for a UK Anti-Doping-style body for safeguarding to ensure that the sector implements consistent standards.508 Kimberley Walsh said that an independent body should have the jurisdiction to address issues that it finds in regard to sport organisations’ duty of care standards.509

357.Joanna Coates suggested that an independent body could triage cases so that those which do not meet a certain severity threshold would be referred back to the NGBs for an internal investigation whilst the most serious cases would be investigated by the independent body. She also recommended an independent hotline which could be used by athletes and participants to report concerns.510

358.Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, noted that all funded bodies need to comply with common safeguarding standards but that Sport England is not a regulator and therefore is “not in a position to do anything other than hear complaints about organisations’ compliance” with their funding agreements.511 Sally Munday of UK Sport was “open minded” about an ombudsman and agreed that there does need to be enhanced independence around duty of care and safeguarding issues.512

359.The Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society at DCMS, Nigel Huddleston MP, said that the Government is “keeping an open mind on the ombudsman”. He told us that there has been progress in duty of care and safeguarding in recent years “with many governing bodies taking their responsibilities far more seriously.”513

360.We are unimpressed by the Government’s assertion that progress on implementing recommendations from the independent review on Duty of Care in Sport was de-prioritised to redirect efforts to the Government pandemic response. Issues raised in the independent review have not gone away. The lack of progress on the implementation of an independent sports ombudsman, which pre-dates the outbreak of COVID-19, is unacceptable.

361.We strongly recommend that the Minister for Sport, Health and Wellbeing proceeds with implementing the remaining recommendations in the independent review on Duty of Care in Sport, prioritising the establishment of an independent sports ombudsman with a remit to cover all bodies delivering sport regardless of whether they receive public funding.

362.The Minister for Sport, Health and Wellbeing must work with Sport England and UK Sport to ensure that publicly funded bodies are dedicating sufficient resources and attention to uphold duty of care and safeguarding standards at all levels of their sports.

363.We welcome the additional requirements in the revised Code for Sports Governance including for publicly funded bodies to appoint a Director responsible for welfare and sport safety. However, we are not convinced that this will be enough to shift the culture within publicly funded bodies that do not prioritise duty of care and safeguarding standards. We recommend that Sport England and UK Sport conduct and publish a review after 18 months which evaluates the impact of the revised Code to ensure that the ambitions for the updated Code are being delivered by funded bodies and NGBs, and that it is making a difference on the ground.

Mandatory reporting

364.We heard evidence on the lack of communication between sporting bodies, police and local authorities around safeguarding issues and on the potential for mandatory reporting to place an obligation on individuals, and bodies delivering sport and recreation to report concerns of abuse to the appropriate authorities.

365.The Government’s current guidance on Working together to safeguard children514 states that paid and volunteer sport staff need to be aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.515 However, there is no legal requirement for those within the sport and recreation sector to report suspected duty of care or safeguarding issues to the police or local authorities, and no penalty for failing to report suspicions.

366.In 2016, the Government conducted a consultation on the introduction of mandatory reporting and concluded that it did not intend to introduce it. This was due to concerns that the likely increase in referrals “risks creating a ‘needle in a haystack’ effect in which it is less likely, rather than more likely, that the social care system will identify key cases”. It also said that mandatory reporting may “undermine effective practice by instilling risk-averse behaviour driven by the fear of sanctions, rather [than] empowering the workforce to make the right decisions.”516

367.We heard that the links between the sport and recreation sector and safeguarding authorities, including local authority safeguarding boards and the police, are inconsistent and inadequate. For example, Professor Hartill told us that relationships between NGBs and local authorities and local authority-designated officers vary considerably, and called for engagement between them to be “stronger”.517 Oliver Scadgell, Participation Director at the LTA, noted that there could be more consistent processes for sharing information between the police and NGBs.518

368.The LGA identified a weakness in current safeguarding contingency plans, describing a scenario in which the local council takes over responsibility for a leisure trust without sufficient knowledge of the current position of safeguarding issues. In such situations, communication between sporting providers and local agencies needs to be improved to prevent lapses in safeguarding.519 Active Partnerships called for local authority safeguarding boards to engage proactively with local sports bodies, including Active Partnerships, to ensure awareness, coordination and compliance with local procedures.520

369.Mandate Now, a pressure group supporting the introduction of mandatory reporting, said that the absence of a well-designed mandatory reporting law is at the heart of the safeguarding shortcomings in institutional settings like sport and recreation. It added that the Government’s failure to implement mandatory reporting is based on “an irrational and exaggerated fear of cost increases” and “a fear of capacity shortcomings in the relevant agencies”.521

370.Gary Cliffe, Ambassador for the Offside Trust, strongly favoured the introduction of mandatory reporting which would help to “focus people’s minds to report thorny issues”.522 He added that a concern that mandatory reporting would lead to a deluge of referrals was not a good reason to not introduce it and he predicted that the quality of referrals would improve over time.523

371.Professor Hartill supported the introduction of mandatory reporting, telling us that it “would be a very important addition” to the child safeguarding system.524 However, he cautioned that further consideration would need to be given to how it is constituted including whether “it can apply to different groups and offences”.525

372.The CPSU was more circumspect about how much impact a mandatory reporting system would have. It told us that there is little evidence at this time that children are safer because of mandatory reporting in jurisdictions that have implemented it. It suggested that more work could be done to educate all stakeholders and build confidence to raise concerns and how to challenge authorities if they do not get the response they should have received.526

373.We would like to see stronger links and communication between bodies delivering sport, and the police and local authority safeguarding boards to ensure that crucial information is shared. There should be a representative from the sector, potentially from the local Active Partnership, who will act as a contact for the police and safeguarding boards to help them liaise with the sector.

374.Given the potential for abuse in sport and recreation settings, we recommend that the Minister for Sport, Health and Wellbeing consult and work with the sector to introduce mandatory reporting in sport and recreation settings.

Duty of care and safeguarding of adults, elite athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers

375.We heard that the 2016 Code for Sports Governance has led to increased salience and delivery of safeguarding standards for adults.527 However, there is more to do to ensure that adults—both at the grassroots and elite levels—are protected by the highest duty of care standards.

Duty of care and safeguarding adults

376.Adults who are at higher risk of abuse include those with care and support needs, such as older people and disabled people. We heard that there is a disparity between adult and child safeguarding.

377.Kimberley Walsh told us that adult safeguarding requirements under the Code and funding agreements are advisory whilst child safeguarding requirements are mandatory.528 Nick Pink of England Hockey and Ralf Rimmer of the RFL suggested that the distinction between requirements for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults should be made clearer as it requires different skillsets within NGBs to uphold safeguarding standards for these groups.529

378.We heard concerns regarding adult safeguarding in relation to concussion and head injuries. BASES, the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK, told us that there are contradictions between sport science advice over injuries and a coach’s desire for an individual to play which need to be resolved.530 The Police Community Clubs of Great Britain said it has concerns about competition care around head injuries.531

379.The former Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care at DHSC, Jo Churchill MP, and the Minister for Sport and Tourism at DCMS, Nigel Huddleston MP, informed us that work was ongoing between their two departments to consider the issue of concussion and head injuries in sport.532

380.Matthew Maguire, National Sport Manager at Mencap, told us that disabled people, particularly those with multiple conditions, are at high risk of abuse and neglect and said that recent high-profile cases of abuse in sport have undermined confidence in the policies and systems currently in place.533

381.The Richmond Group of Charities said that procedures to support safeguarding and physical safety need to be proportionate to avoid creating barriers to participation.534

382.We also heard that a duty of care is owed not just to adult participants, but to officials, coaches, volunteers and other staff in the sector. For example, Dr Tom Webb, Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth and founder and coordinator of the Referee and Match Official Research Network, told us that the duty of care of sports officials “has been neglected and … [sports officials] are often an underrepresented and forgotten group.” He called on NGBs to develop initiatives to reduce the abuse of sports officials and for more sharing of good practice.535

383.As an example of good practice in supporting coaches, UK Coaching told us that it has produced a ‘Duty to Care’ toolkit. This aims to support coaches to look after their participants and themselves better. The toolkit provides learning solutions for coaches across five ‘pillars’: safeguarding, inclusion, diversity, mental health and wellbeing. UK Coaching awards a digital badge to coaches who complete knowledge checks across the five pillars.536

384.Sally Munday told us that UK Sport is aware that “there is not enough in place at the moment” on staffing and highlighted UK Sport’s Integrity Priorities, which are aimed to influence and encourage positive change among funded bodes.537

Duty of care and safeguarding of aspiring and elite athletes

385.The UK Sport Culture Health Check is designed to capture information about the culture, systems and support available in World Class Performance Programmes. In 2020, it found that 10 per cent of athletes and staff experienced or witnessed unacceptable behaviour, down from 24 per cent in 2018. Only 53 per cent of respondents believed that there are consequences when people behave inappropriately—a rise from 44 per cent in 2018, but lower than the 61 per cent recorded in 2017.538

386.The CPSU told us that aspiring and elite athletes of all ages may be vulnerable to abuse because of the closer relationship and power imbalance between player and sports coach, and the significant amounts of time spent training with coaches.539 Professor Hartill told us that the financial and emotional investment made by an individual who is aspiring to the highest levels of sport, along with the investments of their parents and the wider community, contributes to an athlete’s vulnerability.540

387.Sally Munday told us that the focus on UK Sport is to “make it very difficult” for people who do not adhere to duty of care and safeguarding standards to come into the industry and to “make it very easy” for people to call out inappropriate behaviours.541 She told us that UK Sport “are unequivocal in the conversations we are having with sports and sports governing bodies about making sure that the right things are in place” and is considering enhancing independent disclosure and complaints processes.542

Mental health

388.We have heard evidence on the importance of mental health in sport, particularly at the elite level. Mind has worked with DCMS and the Sport and Recreation Alliance to form the Mental Health and Elite Sport Action Plan which was published in 2018. The plan set out actions for the sector to take to promote mental health at the elite level.543

389.Mind told us that they have seen increased awareness of sport organisations’ duty of care in relation to mental health but said there is still “much more that can be done” if mental health is to achieve parity with physical health in the sector. They called for:

390.Martin McElhatton, CEO of WheelPower, noted that safeguarding needs to include the mental health and wellbeing of disabled people. He referred to Baroness Grey-Thompson’s recommendation in her independent review to support elite athletes when they leave elite level sport, and noted that for Paralympians, finishing their career can create a “big void” in their life.545

391.Rebecca Quinlan, a survivor of an eating disorder and sports speaker, supported development of resources and educational programmes to improve coaches’ knowledge about eating disorders in athletes.546

Online abuse

392.We outlined the potential impacts of abuse posted through social media in Chapter 3. Witnesses have expressed frustration at the existing regulatory framework in which perpetrators can remain anonymous and can continue to post abuse at sporting personalities without consequence.

393.Sanjay Bhandari, Chair of Kick It Out, told us that social media is akin to “the Wild West” leading to a “toxic culture” where abuse is normalised.547 Baroness Campbell of Loughborough, Director of Women’s Football at the FA, told us that female football players “receive some of the worst online hate and discriminatory abuse”.548

394.We also heard how online abuse impacts grassroots sport. Ian Halliday, a Level 2 UK Athletics coach, told us that “social media issues can pervade into the day to day running of groups and clubs, causing coaches, club officials and referees to give up the sport”.549

395.Women in Sport said that the threat of online abuse “is a key factor in preventing women either from progressing in sport or if they do, from expressing their views”. It added that although abuse is mostly associated with elite athletes and commentators, it is participants at the grassroots who are statistically more likely to experience abuse and have no route of redress.550 Stonewall and Mermaids recommended that policies and codes of conduct implemented across sports must extend to digital spaces.551

396.The independent sports ombudsman should provide an avenue for grassroots and elite sportspeople to report mistreatment in their sport. NGBs must promote the independent sports ombudsman’s functions and how elite athletes can contact them once it has been established.

397.Safeguarding policies for adults and children in sport must be extended and made consistent across all sports to include conduct online, including social media, to ensure that participants in sport and recreation can be better protected.

Monitoring and oversight of duty of care and safeguarding standards

398.Sport England and UK Sport looks at how organisations it funds are meeting safeguarding standards as part of assessing funding eligibility, but there is no external watchdog overseeing compliance.

399.We heard that the first step to effective monitoring and oversight is understanding what measures are most effective. Professor Hartill told us that “we know too little about what has worked, what does not work and where the weaknesses are” in existing safeguarding and duty of care procedures.552 He called for “independent monitoring and an evaluation of the systems and processes that are in place” within NGBs and delivery bodies.553 British Canoeing recommended “greater centralised support” for NGBs to raise safeguarding standards including standardisation of recording methods and data analysis to aid cross-sector safeguarding comparisons.554

400.Nigel Huddleston MP said he was “concerned” that there is not enough data on duty of care and safeguarding issues. He added that, although anecdotal reporting through private mechanisms and whistleblowing is important, the level of data is currently not good enough.555

401.Some witnesses felt that expectations to meet duty of care and safeguarding standards should be higher. For example, the FA suggested that the Code for Sports Governance should be strengthened to require organisations beyond tier 3 organisations comply with the most rigorous safeguarding requirements.556 British Canoeing called for welfare and safeguarding targets and standards as conditions for funding.557

402.Richard Baldwin MBE, a tax adviser specialising in the sports sector, recommended that funding could be removed if NGBs fail to meet duty of care standards.558 However, Ed Malyon, Managing Director of The Athletic, cautioned that removing funding for poor governance can end up punishing participants of sport rather than those at the top.559

403.UK Sport said that it would “welcome a more defined link between the setting and maintenance of standards for duty of care and the receipt of public funding”.560 Sally Munday told us that although money has not been removed in the past, it is a tool available for them to apply if it is found that a funded organisation is not taking its duty of care and safeguarding responsibilities seriously enough.561

404.Tim Hollingsworth of Sport England told us that he was not confident that all organisations funded by Sport England are meeting the required duty of care and safeguarding standards, but added that Sport England will ultimately consider the withdrawal of funding if those standards are not upheld.562

405.Monitoring of what works for duty of care and safeguarding in the sector is insufficient. Monitoring and sharing good practice should form part of the role of the independent sports ombudsman.

406.The credibility of Sport England and UK Sport is undermined if the threat of financial sanctions is raised but not implemented. Sport England and UK Sport must follow through and remove funding from NGBs and other funded bodies which fail to meet required duty of care and safeguarding standards.

463 Cabinet Office, Sport England and UK Sport, A Code for Sports Governance (October 2016): https://sportengland-production-files.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/a_code_for_sports_governance.pdf [accessed 17 November 2021]. The Code identifies three tiers of investment and those in each tier are expected to meet a certain level of governance compliance. Those applying for amounts of money over £1 million, for a continuing project and over a period of years must meet the requirements set out for tier 3. Those asking for smaller amounts, generally £250,000 or less, are subject to tier one requirements, and organisations looking for amounts in between must meet the requirements of tier 2.

464 Sport England, ‘A Code for Sports Governance’: https://www.sportengland.org/campaigns-and-our-work/code-sports-governance [accessed 17 November 2021]

465 Sport Resolutions is an independent body that provides arbitration services to deal with sports disputes. It also operates the National Anti-Doping Panel, under a contract from DCMS and in accordance with the UK National Anti-Doping Policy. See Sports Resolutions UK, ‘About Sport Resolutions’: https://www.sportresolutions.com/about-us/who-we-are/overview [accessed 17 November 2021]

466 Sport England, ‘Changes made to strengthen Code for Sports Governance’: https://www.sportengland.org/news/changes-made-strengthen-code-sports-governance [accessed 17 November 2021]. See also Sport Resolutions, ‘Sport Resolutions to launch the Safeguarding Case Management Pilot Service’: https://www.sportresolutions.com/news/view/sport-resolutions-to-launch-the-safeguarding-case-management-pilot-service [accessed 17 November 2021].

467 NSPCC CPSU, Standards for safeguarding and protecting children in sport (7 September 2018): https://thecpsu.org.uk/media/445556/web_cpsustandards.pdf [accessed 17 November 2021]

468 Written evidence from Sport England (NPS0100)

469 Ibid.

470 Ibid.

471 Ann Craft Trust, ‘Safeguarding Adults in Sport Framework’: https://www.anncrafttrust.org/safeguarding-adults-sport-activity/the-safeguarding-adults-in-sport-framework/ [accessed 17 November 2021]

472 Written evidence from Sport England (NPS0100)

473 Ibid.

474 British Athletes Commission, ‘What We Do’: https://britishathletes.org/about-us/ [accessed 17 November 2021]

475 UK Sport, Annual Report 2018–19 (July 2019), p 29: https://www.uksport.gov.uk/resources/annual-reports [accessed 17 November 2021]

476 Sport England and UK Sport, ‘A Code for Sports Governance’ (October 2016), p 52: https://sportengland-production-files.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/a_code_for_sports_governance.pdf [accessed 17 November 2021]

477 Ibid.

478 NSPCC CPSU, Standards for safeguarding and protecting children in sport (2002, updated 7 September 2018), p 6: https://thecpsu.org.uk/media/445556/web_cpsustandards.pdf [accessed 17 November 2021]

479 Q 127 (Oliver Scadgell)

480 Written evidence from Swim England (NPS0060)

481 The National Safeguarding Panel is designed to support NGBs to professionally manage safeguarding complaints and concerns. The Panel is operated by Sport Resolutions.

482 Supplementary written evidence from Sport England (NPS0172)

483 See Appendix 4, note on the roundtable discussion with CEOs of NGBs and experts

484 Q 152 (Professor Mike Hartill)

485 Q 206 (Sally Munday)

486 Q 18 (Lisa Wainwright)

487 Written evidence from the NSPCC CPSU (NPS0159)

488 Written evidence from British Cycling Federation (NPS0083)

489 Q 155 (Kimberley Walsh)

490 Written evidence from the NSPCC CPSU (NPS0159)

491 Q 152 (Kimberley Walsh)

492 Q 152 (Professor Mike Hartill)

493 Written evidence from EMD UK (NPS0065)

494 Written evidence from the NSPCC CPSU (NPS0159)

495 See Appendix 4, note on the roundtable discussion with CEOs of NGBs and experts

496 Written evidence from the English Football League Trust (NPS0097)

497 Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Duty of Care in Sport: Independent Report to Government (April 2017), p 6 and p 15: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/610130/Duty_of_Care_Review_-_April_2017__2.pdf [accessed 17 November 2021]

498 Written evidence from HM Government (NPS0134)

499 Written evidence from the NSPCC CPSU (NPS0159)

500 Q 46 (Anna Kessel)

501 Q 10 (Ben Dean)

502 See Appendix 4, note on the roundtable discussion with CEOs of NGBs and experts

503 Q 155 (Kimberley Walsh)

504 See Appendix 4, note on the roundtable discussion with CEOs of NGBs and experts

505 Written evidence from Women in Sport (NPS0093), see also BBC Sport, ‘BBC Elite British Sportswomen’s Survey results’ (9 August 2020): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/53593459 [accessed 17 November 2021].

506 Q 94 (Barry Jones), see also written evidence from All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights (NPS0076) and supplementary written evidence from Active Partnerships (NPS0098).

507 Written evidence from Goalball UK (NPS0075)

508 See Appendix 4, note on the roundtable discussion with CEOs of NGBs and experts

509 Q 155 (Kimberley Walsh)

510 See Appendix 4, note on the roundtable discussion with CEOs of NGBs and experts

511 Q 206 and Q 208 (Tim Hollingsworth)

512 208 (Sally Munday)

513 Q 227 (Nigel Huddleston MP)

514 Working together to safeguard children is statutory guidance that applies to all organisations and agencies who have functions relating to children. The guidance applies in its entirety to all schools.

516 Home Office and Department for Education, Reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect (5 March 2018), pp 5–6: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/685465/Reporting_and_acting_on_child_abuse_and_neglect_-_response_to_consultati....pdf [accessed 17 November 2021]

517 Q 151 (Professor Mike Hartill)

518 Q 127 (Oliver Scadgell)

519 Written evidence from the LGA (NPS0050)

520 Supplementary written evidence from Active Partnerships (NPS0098)

521 Written evidence from Mandate Now (NPS0161)

522 Q 151 (Gary Cliffe)

523 150 (Gary Cliffe)

524 Q 151 (Professor Mike Hartill)

525 Ibid.

526 Written evidence from the NSPCC CPSU (NPS0159)

527 Q 150 (Kimberley Walsh)

528 Q 155 (Kimberley Walsh)

529 See Appendix 4, note on the roundtable discussion with CEOs of NGBs and experts

530 Written evidence from the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) (NPS0035)

531 Written evidence from the Police Community Clubs of Great Britain (NPS0043)

532 QQ 228–229 (Jo Churchill MP, Nigel Huddleston MP)

533 Q 132 (Matthew Maguire)

534 Written evidence from the Richmond Group of Charities (NPS0141)

535 Written evidence from Dr Tom Webb (NPS0011)

536 Written evidence from UK Coaching (NPS0054)

537 Q 211 (Sally Munday)

538 UK Sport, ‘Latest culture findings show progress in high-performance system’ (8 September 2020): https://www.uksport.gov.uk/news/2020/09/07/an-update-on-culture [accessed 17 November 2021]

539 Written evidence from the NSPCC CPSU (NPS0159)

540 Q 154 (Professor Mike Hartill)

541 Q 206 (Sally Munday)

542 Ibid.

544 Supplementary written evidence from Mind (NPS0109)

545 Q 132 (Martin McElhatton)

546 Written evidence from Rebecca Quinlan (NPS0023)

547 Q 140 (Sanjay Bhandari)

548 Q 145 (Baroness Campbell of Loughborough)

549 Written evidence from Ian Halliday (NPS0040)

550 Written evidence from Women in Sport (NPS0093)

551 Written evidence from Stonewall and Mermaids (NPS0123)

552 Q 155 (Professor Mike Hartill)

553 Q 152 (Professor Mike Hartill)

554 Written evidence from British Canoeing (NPS0090)

555 Q 228 and Q 229 (Nigel Huddleston MP)

556 Written evidence from the FA (NPS0135)

557 Written evidence from British Canoeing (NPS0090)

558 Written evidence from Richard Baldwin (NPS0010)

559 Q 39 (Ed Malyon)

560 Supplementary written evidence from UK Sport (NPS0171)

561 Q 207 (Sally Munday)

562 Q 208 (Tim Hollingsworth)

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