Coaching in the UK

UK Coaching welcomes Duty of Care in Sport review

Thu, 27 Apr 2017

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has published her independent review into the Duty of Care in Sport.

In the report seven priority recommendations are made:

  • The government should create a Sports Ombudsman (or Sports Duty of Care Quality Commission). This organisation should have powers to hold NGBs [National Governing Bodies] to account for the Duty of Care they provide to all athletes, coaching staff and support staff.
  • The government should measure Duty of Care via an independent benchmark survey giving equal voice to all stakeholders in the system.
  • All NGB boards should have a named Duty of Care Guardian.
  • An induction process should be carried out for all participants entering elite levels of sport (and, where relevant, their families should also be included).
  • As participants leave formal programmes an independent exit interview should be conducted, the results of which would be taken account of in future funding discussions.
  • A Duty of Care Charter should be established by government, explicitly setting out how participants, coaches and support staff can expect to be treated and where they can go if they need advice, support and guidance.
  • Government should independently fund the BAC (British Athletes Commission) to enable it to provide the best support to participants on talent pathways in Olympic and Paralympic sports.

UK Coaching welcomes these recommendations, and those that reference the duty of care organisations have towards coaches; and the duty of care coaches have towards their participants.

Mark Gannon, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We welcome this comprehensive and thorough report in whole and commend the work that has been led by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

“Those who deliver physical activity and sport using coaching skills to help improve the experience of participants are crucial to delivering an active nation and must be supported to ensure they are sufficiently equipped with the skills and knowledge to provide the necessary care of participants and ultimately inspire them to develop lifelong active lifestyles.”

“We will continue to work with organisations, partners and coaches to support them in creating an environment for the participant that supports the recommendations within this report.”

As the lead agency for coaching, UK Coaching will focus on the following areas:

Talent pathways

We support the idea of NGBs and educational establishments allowing children on talent pathways to continue to experience a range of sports and activities, and a balanced lifestyle. Coaches (alongside parents) should be offered the necessary information and learning to better support children on talent pathways. We are already working with the NSPCC and Child Protection Sport Unit (CPSU) on a key priority area from their Sports Safeguarding Partnership Strategic Plan – Safeguarding Talented and Elite children and the recommendations in the report support the need in this area.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We wholly welcome the recommendations outlined in this section as they align with our own beliefs and recommendations that coaches undertake equality training. Courses already exist and have been developed with expert guidance from the national lead agencies for these areas, ‘Equity in Your Coaching, How to Coach Disabled People in Sport and Safeguarding and Protecting Children’. We believe that fully embedding inclusion and diversity in the learning for all coaches will lead to a more equitable workforce and improve participant experiences.

Safeguarding

We wholly support this section with particular backing for the following areas:

  • Sports coaches to be included within the definition of ‘Positions of Trust’.
  • The NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit role to be highlighted to the wider general public with greater resource in providing clear guidance on safeguarding.
  • Consideration should be given to an “adults at risk” unit.
  • The review of the process of background checks for self-employed providers and those not falling under a recognised NGB.
  • Consideration of a national coach licensing scheme.

By following these recommendations we believe the safeguarding of participants will be improved across sport and physical activity.

Mental health

We support the recommendation that staff, coaches and athletes should receive mental health awareness training and support as part of their training and ongoing development. This will ensure the wellbeing of both workforce and participant is at the forefront of the coaching environment.

Sports Coach UK will adopt and implement all the recommendations for coaching practice so that participants have the opportunity to reap the rewards that physical activity and sport can provide regardless of the motivation to take part.

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