As we head into winter, now is an excellent time to review your club’s procedures as you prepare for the 2017 season.  Parents and children need to feel confident that clubs are safe places and that any concerns will be taken seriously and acted on appropriately.

The RYA strongly recommends that all clubs with members or participants aged under 18 adopt a safeguarding policy and some straightforward supporting procedures, and make all members aware of them. 

The essential points to be covered are:
• A child’s right to be safe and protected from harm
• Contact details for your Club Welfare Officer – they don’t need to be an expert, the RYA can provide access to training and support, but they do need to be someone children and parents will find approachable
• Good practice guidelines for those volunteering or working with children
• A Club Code of Conduct explaining the standards of behaviour expected of children, parents and other adults – this could be linked to the RYA Racing Charter and Racing Rule 69
• Policies on matters such as access to showers and changing rooms, taking and publishing images of children, requesting criminal records checks for relevant staff/volunteers, etc
• Clear procedures to be followed if there are concerns about a child’s welfare.

The RYA publishes guidelines to help you draw up your policy and procedures, these can be found on the website: www.rya.org.uk/go/safeguarding   The RYA Board recently approved a revised Safeguarding Policy Statement; the remainder of the guidance is currently under annual review and an updated version will be published in early January.  There is also information on the various safeguarding training options available, and on accessing criminal records disclosures.

If you have any questions about your safeguarding procedures, please contact the RYA’s Safeguarding and Equality Manager, Jackie Reid, at safeguarding@rya.org.uk or on 023 8060 4104.