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Safety and Welfare Self-care and development Standards for Deployment

Recommended Guidance for Coaches on the Standards for Deployment

UK Coaching's guidance for coaches on the standards that you need to be aware of and ensure that you meet

Great coaching can change lives, and to deliver the best possible sessions you need to feel confident and competent. Ensuring that you have the knowledge and qualifications in place to meet the required standards is essential to delivering safe sessions, and can give you that vital confidence in your work. Get started with our recommended guidance.

Coaching can be defined as:

Improving a person’s experience of sport and physical activity by providing specialised support and guidance aligned to their individual needs and aspirations."

Sport England: The Coaching Plan for England 2017

UK Coaching’s recommended guidance on the standards for deployment has been identified for use by all physical activity and sports coaches across the following areas:

  • Minimum coaching age.
  • Appropriate qualifications.
  • Appropriate insurance.
  • Safeguarding children and adults at risk training.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
  • Policies and procedures.
  • Additional learning and development.

Why should I follow this guidance?

Following this recommended guidance will:

  • raise the level of your coaching
  • ensure you have the right level of coaching knowledge and skills for the role
  • ensure you’re running safe sessions
  • safeguard yourself and the participants you coach
  • ensure that you will be insured in the event of an accident or incident.

This is recommended guidance only and does not replace direct advice from your employer/deployer, training provider, national governing body of sport (NGB), or sports organisation. If you have any queries on their recommended qualifications, insurance, or additional training, please contact them directly.

Click into the tabs below to find out more.

Independent coach (someone coaching independently without direct supervision): 18+ years

As an independent coach, you will have a considerable level of responsibility and a duty of care to your participants. The minimum age is therefore 18 as this is also when you legally become an adult.

Coaching assistant: 16+ years*

As a coaching assistant, you will work under a more qualified coach's guidance and supervisory framework. As such, our minimum age recommendation is 16. This age recommendation is also in line with the entry requirements for most Level 1 qualifications.

*The minimum age varies in a limited number of coaching assistant qualifications. Check 1st4sport for the relevant qualification specification, including the minimum age.

Independent coach: Level 2 or above

To coach independently, industry requirements usually expect you to have a minimum standard of training. Our recommendation is that this is a regulated Level 2 qualification in the physical activity or sport you are coaching.

Coaching assistant: Level 1

To be a coaching assistant, a level 1 qualification is recommended and will qualify you to assist with the delivery of physical activity or sport under a more qualified coach's guidance and supervisory framework. This is termed appropriate supervision.

Remember:

  • You are responsible for keeping your coaching qualifications up to date.
  • It is important that your qualification is in the physical activity or sport you are coaching.
  • If you hold any non-regulated qualification, you should check with your NGB or sports organisation to find out which qualification or award enables you to lead a session.
  • The appropriate qualification may change depending on the environment you are working in.
  • If you are coaching without the appropriate level of qualification, you may not be insured in the event of an incident.

As a coach, you will need an insurance policy to cover you for your coaching duties. This is to ensure both you and the participants you are coaching are covered appropriately for the activities you are involved in.

The type of insurance that you need will depend on the nature of your role. However, the following policies are recommended as best practice:

  • Personal accident insurance exists to provide compensation if you are injured as a result of your coaching duties.
  • Public liability insurance exists to provide cover for you should a claim be made against you and/or the organisation in respect of bodily injury to participants or members of the general public in connection with the activities or sport undertaken.
  • Professional indemnity provides legal cover against claims of breaches of professional duty by coaches while acting in the scope of their employment (e.g., for giving poor advice, errors/omissions in advice or libel and slander).

Other policies that you may consider include:

  • Employer’s liability cover. If you employ others this provides cover for legal liability for injuries to employees arising in the course of employment.
  • Hirer’s liability cover. Covers legal liability for individuals that hire premises against injury to others or damage to the property while being used.
  • Income protection insurance. Cover arranged by the individual or employer for accidental bodily injury or death.
  • Abuse extension cover. Provides cover against someone making a claim against you (alleged abuse).
  • Business car insurance. Your coaching activities may have an impact on car insurance premiums. Business insurance may be required for transporting people and or equipment.
  • Equipment. Insurance cover for equipment supplied by you as a coach (e.g., damage, loss, or theft to sports equipment used for the activity).

Remember:

You may have insurance through affiliation with an NGB or sports organisation. Check if you are unsure if you have adequate cover in place.

UK Coaching Insurance

UK Coaching Insurance covers you to coach across 250+ sports and activities and can insure you for sports or physical activities that you officiate, tutor, assess, mentor and/or support as a coach developer

INSURANCE OPTIONS

A welcoming and safe environment is central to feeling protected; allowing participants to be themselves, engage safely in activities, and connect with others.

You have a responsibility to protect your participants from all forms of abuse, recognise the indicating factors of abuse, and be able to take appropriate action.

UK Coaching strongly recommends that all coaches undertake Safeguarding and Protecting Children or Safeguarding Adults training and renew this training every three years.

Remember:

  • You are responsible for keeping your safeguarding training up to date.
  • Your NGB, sports organisation, employer/deployer, or training provider may also have its own equivalent safeguarding training.

Guidance on Safeguarding

Learn more about how you can create an environment where children, young people, and adults feel safe

LEARN MORE

UK Coaching strongly recommends that anyone eligible for a criminal records check should be checked every three years or upon re-employment or deployment.

If you are coaching in England or Wales, you will need to comply with the requirements of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

As a coach in Scotland, you should comply with the requirements of Disclosure Scotland.

As a coach in Northern Ireland, you will need to comply with the requirements of AccessNI.

For the DBS, the level of checks that should be undertaken are usually as follows (however, the decision lies with each employer/deployer, training provider, NGB, or sports organisation:

  • Independent coach: If your coaching duties include regular or intensive contact with children or adults at risk, then you will be eligible for an enhanced disclosure. As an independent coach, you are also able to coach without supervision and are therefore also eligible for a barred list check* (when eligible for a disclosure).
  • Coaching Assistant: If your coaching duties include regular or intensive contact with children or adults at risk as a coaching assistant, you will be eligible for an enhanced disclosure. However, as a coaching assistant, you will coach under supervision** and may not be eligible for a barred list check.

*There are two barred lists: one for working with children and one for working with adults at risk.

**Supervision will be defined separately by each employer/deployer, training provider, NGB, or sports organisation to fit with the unique requirements of each sport. Please contact them directly for more information.

Remember:

  • You need to be 16 or over to be eligible for disclosure or barred list checks.
  • If you do not come into regular or intensive contact with children or adults at risk, then your organisation will not be able to request a disclosure or barred list check:
    • Regular contact is defined as once a week or more.
    • Intensive contact is defined as four or more days in a 30-day period, or overnight.
  • If you are coaching in different settings, the approach to criminal records checks should take into account the policies of each organisation. For example, if you are coaching in a community club and are asked to go into a school to support the curriculum, after school or a specific event. You will require a DBS for both organisations.
  • The criminal record certificate will be sent directly to you, not the organisation that has asked you to apply (e.g., your organisation or NGB). They will be informed if the check is clear or not (but not the detail of it).
  • You may be asked to show your disclosure.

More information is available on the DBS, Disclosure Scotland and AccessNI websites.

When coaching in any setting, you should be aware of and sign up to specific policies.

The most important are:

  • The Code of Practice or Conduct
  • Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Safeguarding Children and Adults at risk
  • Health and Safety.

These policies should contain information on best practice, but also guidance to help you fulfil your coaching responsibilities fairly, safely, and effectively.

As coaches are responsible for the health and safety of participants in their care, you could be liable if there is evidence demonstrating that standard practice and procedures have not been followed.

Remember:

  • Your NGB or sports organisation policies should be the principal policies that you adhere to.
  • If you are coaching in a different setting (e.g., a school), you may also be required to commit to its policies and procedures.
  • If you are employed as a coach, you will be required to sign up to your employer’s policies and procedures.
  • If you have a concern about any policy or procedure in relation to safe coaching practice, you should inform the relevant organisation.

UK Coaching strongly recommends that all coaches invest in regular continual professional development (CPD) following initial qualification to ensure that you maintain up-to-date specific knowledge of your physical activity or sport and remain confident and competent to perform the role of a coach.

Your employer/deployer, training provider, NGB, or sports organisation may require you to complete additional training such as:

  • First Aid training.
  • UK Coaching’s Duty to Care Digital Badge.
  • Specific training relevant to your role, type of physical activity or sport (technical specialism), environment, participant group (population), and programme.

Remember:

  • You are responsible for maintaining up-to-date, specific knowledge of your physical activity or sport.
  • It is your responsibility to check any additional training requirements and ensure that you meet them before you begin coaching.

Reflect

Do you meet the recommended guidance?

Which areas do you need to check to ensure you are up to date for the activities you are coaching?

What does your insurance cover you for? When did you last check?

When did you last attend safeguarding training?

When did you last attend First Aid training?

What additional learning and development have you completed to ensure you remain competent in your role as a coach?

 

Related Resources

  • Code of Practice for Sports Coaches

    View
  • Getting Some Support for Your Coaching

    View
  • Safe Practice Resources

    View

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