Tennis Ireland have summarised the 10 requirements we expect all our club’s to have in place in this document to ensure they are compliant with the Children’s First legislation, guidance and affiliation requirements for TI.
- Risk Assessment & Safeguarding Statement
- Club Constitution amended to reflect Child Protection
- Children’s Officers
- Designated Liaison Person
- Club Committee and Monthly Agenda
- Safeguarding Training
- Codes of Behaviour
1. Risk Assessment
The risk assessment considers the potential for harm to come to children whilst they are in care and precedes the Child Safeguarding Statement (Section 11 (1b) Children First Act 2015) which is developed following this risk assessment process. In accordance with the requirements of Section 11 (1) of the Children First Act 2015 (ROI) the risk is of abuse and not general health and safety risk (covered under a separate H&S policy and risk assessment).
Section 11 (1) of the Children First Act 2015 (ROI) states that where an organisation proposes to operate as a provider of a relevant service, they shall, within 3 months from the date on which they commence as such a provider undertake an assessment of any potential for harm to a child while availing of the service.
The Children First Act 2015 (ROI) requires organisations in Ireland that are providers of relevant services to prepare a Child Safeguarding Statement. This is good practice and a funding requirement for all sporting organisations throughout Ireland. The Child Safeguarding Statement is a written statement that specifies the service being provided and the principles, that a child availing of the service is safe from harm. Your service should ensure that your Child Safeguarding Statement has due regard to the Children First Guidance or equivalent and any other child protection guidelines issued by the relevant government departments or any guidelines issued by statutory authorities concerning Child Safeguarding Statements.
What the Child Safeguarding Statement should contain
As outlined above, the Children First Act 2015 (ROI) places obligations on organisations that provide relevant services to children. Tennis Ireland require all our club’s North and South to meet these safeguarding obligations to ensure a fun and safe experience for young people in Tennis.
These obligations are:
- To keep children safe from harm while they are using the service (section 10) and promote the paramount principle that the welfare of the child is core.
- To carry out a risk assessment (See Tennis Ireland Appendix 2 for guidance developing a Risk Assessment & Safeguarding Statement) to identify whether a child or young person could be harmed while using the service (section 11.3). This risk assessment should be reviewed regularly but at least every 2 years by the club board.
- To develop a Child Safeguarding Statement (section 11.3) which must include both the written risk assessment and the procedures that are in place to support all the risks and appoint a relevant person to be the first point of contact in respect of the organisations Child Safeguarding Statement.
The Safeguarding Statement must be signed by the club chairperson and the Children’s Officer and posted in a prominent place for all to see.
2. Club Constitution amended to reflect Child Protection
Sample minimum text below…
Any Tennis Club is fully committed to safeguarding the well being of its members. Every individual in the club should at all times show respect and understanding for their rights, safety and welfare, and conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles of the club and the guidelines contained in the Safeguarding Children and Young People in Tennis Manual
3. Children’s Officers
Because Tennis is a sport for both genders, it’s critical that there are male and female children’s officers appointed. The Children’s Officers should be made known to all club members and photographs of each Officer should be posted on the wall of the club and on the club website.
See Tennis Ireland Appendix 6 on roles and responsibilities.
4. Designated Liaison Person
The committee should appoint a Designated Liaison Person for the Club.
This post ideally should be held by the most senior person on the committee. In some cases, however, the Children’s Officers takes on this role.
The DLP will be the reporting officer in the case of a safeguarding incident that is of the threshold of needing to be referred. This duty to refer is if the incident is committed by a club member or a club members has experienced abuse outside of the club setting, but the club representatives have been made aware of the abuse. Reports will be submitted to the officer on duty in the TUSLA /Social Services or to the Guards/PSNI in the case of an emergency. Statutory agencies can also be contacted for advice.
See Tennis Ireland Appendix 7 for reporting a disclosure.
5. Club Committee and Monthly Agenda
One of the Children’s Officers or the Designated Person should sit on the Club’s Executive Committee to report on Safeguarding.
Children’s Officers are not expected to work in isolation. They should have the full support of all those serving on the committee. Firstly, while facilitating the completion of the club safeguarding risk assessment and secondly, it’s continued support in order to maintain consistency while implementing the clubs safeguarding policies in the years ahead.
The committee are also responsible for the recruitment of replacement Children’s Officers in the event of either one of the Officers resigning from his or her post.
Safeguarding must be an item on the Club’s Executive Committee Monthly Agendas
Again, Children’s Officers are not expected to work in isolation or tasked with adopting Tennis Irelands Safeguarding Policies for the club on their own.
They are, however, expected to lead the implementation of the clubs policies and procedures and should have the full support of all those serving on the committee.
Ample time should be set aside on the monthly Agenda to discuss Safeguarding.
See Tennis Ireland Appendix 6 on roles and responsibilities.
6. Safeguarding Training
The Club’s Children’s Officers must complete Sport Ireland’s Safeguarding 1 Course which is the Basic Awareness Training.
In addition to attending Safeguarding 1 Training, Children’s Officers must attend Safeguarding 2 training and the Designated Liaison Persons must attend a Safeguarding 3 course.
The Courses are aimed specifically at Children’s Officers and Designated Liaison Persons to support them in their roles as Children’s Officers and DLP’s within their clubs.
The courses are delivered on demand by the Local Sports Partnerships.
For contact information on the nearest Sports Partnership to your area click here or contact your Regional Development Officer.
For Northern Ireland, all courses are delivered by SportNI via the local council sports development unit.
Contact email@example.com for more information.
All Club Coaches and Committee Members working with children should also complete the Safeguarding 1 Course
See Tennis Ireland Appendix 5 for more information on safeguarding training.
All coaches should be licensed with Tennis Ireland, possess an up to date first aid certificate and only work with the Level of players relevant to their coaching qualification.
A robust recruitment process should be in place for all those people working with children’s activities, including vetting, reference checks and at the very least, an informal interview process for all committee members, coaches, contractors and employees.
Tennis Ireland and the Ulster Branch of Tennis Ireland facilitate the National Vetting Bureau and AccessNI checks respectively.
See Tennis Ireland Appendix 4 for information on recruitment.
8. Codes of Behaviour
All Club members, coaches and parents should sign up to the relevant code.
Clubs should provide a process for new and existing members to sign up to the Tennis Ireland Working with Children and Young People in Tennis Document and the clubs safeguarding policies and procedures.
The Tennis Ireland Manual can be found here.
Sample declaration for signing up to the safeguarding policies and procedures
I have read the Tennis Ireland Working with Children and Young People in Tennis Document and the clubs safeguarding policies and procedures.
Signature of Member ___________________________
Print Name _____________________
Signature of Parent/ Guardian*. ___________________
Print Name ____________________
*Please note that the person signing the parent/guardian section must ensure they have parental responsibility for the child.
All clubs must have a complaints procedure in place.
Tennis Ireland has Disciplinary Rules and Procedures in place which are binding upon Provincial Branches, Affiliated organisations, all Members and all Individual Associates in accordance with Article (31b) of the Articles of Association of Tennis Ireland Ltd.
See Tennis Ireland Appendix 8 for further details on the Disciplinary Rules and for guidance on breaches of codes of behaviour.
All children’s activities must have the proper adult supervision at all times.
There should be two adults present during all children’s activities organised by the clubs committee or sub committees. In most cases, this will include, coaching, training, competition, organised play and social events. Where mixed gender activities are taking place and where practicable, there should be one male and one female adult present.
The club can not accept responsibility for independent recreational play. For example, two juniors arriving at the club on their own to play a game. It is strongly recommended that if parents are encouraging their children to play independently of the clubs organised activities that two of the parents stay for the duration of the activity.
See Tennis Ireland Appendix 9 for further guidance on supervision