scottishathletics and UK Athletics – and three other Home Country Athletics Federations – have today launched new safeguarding policies and procedures.
These changes are geared to bringing about bring heightened levels of safeguarding expertise and improved processes throughout the sport across the UK.
Today’s launch marks the fulfilment of the six core recommendations of the Christopher Quinlan Safeguarding Review (late in 2020) and supports the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs) with their implementation of new procedures at a grassroots level.
Athletics clubs in Scotland and their dedicated Welfare Officers are thus an integral part of a joined-up approach across all UK Nations ensuring a cohesive case management structure supporting clubs and ensuring referral of cases towards UK Athletics (where there will be greater expertise).
This new approach provides clear structure and guidance for safeguarding in athletics across the UK with all cases now reporting in and to be overseen by the UKA safeguarding team.
Angus Macdonald now has a crucial role leading on Safeguarding with UK Athletics
Angus Macdonald, formerly lead safeguarding officer at scottishathletics, now heads up this team and the UK-wide approach, and two new safeguarding officers have been added to the department, bringing with them significant levels of experience within safeguarding and as former police officers.
As well as new personnel bringing huge expertise, a range of new processes are also launched including an increase in staff availability and methods of reporting concerns.
This is supported by the introduction of My Concern, a system for safeguarding case management which has been rolled out across the athletics governing bodies to manage and coordinate referrals and investigations.
There is also a new video being produced that aims to assist and support people to identify how and when to make a referral and outline the processes that would be undertaken.
‘The launch of our new safeguarding procedures is a key development as we look to make the sport the safest possible place and ensure we have measures that protect and prevent serious issues arising,’ said Mark Munro, UK Development Director.
‘I am pleased to welcome our new safeguarding case officers as well as the implementation of the ‘My Concern’ platform which will bring athletics in line with some of the recognised best practice within the sports industry.
‘Our new approach to safeguarding is risk based rather than just about rule breaking.
‘This means we won’t be waiting for a specific breach of a rule or license condition to act upon negative behaviours – some of which can be prevalent for a period of time before a formal breach is reported.
‘This revised approach will vastly strengthen the sports ability to conduct early interventions and may help prevent more serious issues.’
UK Athletics CEO Joanna Coates (photo via British Athletics/Getty Images)
‘This is a significant step forward in our aim to implement the strongest possible safeguarding measures,’ said UK Athletics Chief Executive Officer Joanna Coates.
‘The risk-based approach will help ensure we can maintain the zero-tolerance policy for any behaviours that we do not want to see within our sport.
‘I want people to trust that we can put those situations right and urge anyone in a situation they feel is not right to use one of the many ways they can now report these behaviours and believe they will be treated fairly and supported through the process.
‘I welcome our new safeguarding officers to the team and hope that we will be able to look upon this as a significant step towards making our sport one of the safest for young people to take part in.’
The sport continues to work towards meeting the remaining recommendations of the Quinlan report and will report on further progress later in the year.
To report concerns relating to safeguarding matters visit https://www.uka.org.uk/governance/safegarding/
Stewart McMillan . . . our new Welfare Officer will work with UK Athletics