Club Welfare Officer

Below is a introduction to what the job entails. If you require further information then you can contact Stuart Blagbrough, e-mail goldstarsjfc-cwo@yahoo.co.uk or read more on the FA website.

Respect is The Football Association's direct response to a clear message from the grassroots game.

The FA want to improve standards of behaviour - on and off the field.

Parental behaviour is one of the main reasons why young players drop out of the game. Poor behaviour by coaches, parents and players towards referees means that thousands of officials are dropping out each season.

Respect is aimed at helping us all to work together to change the negative attitudes and unacceptable behaviour on the sidelines and on the pitch. It's a long-term commitment. As a Club Welfare Officer (CWO) you have the chance to make a significant contribution to creating positive change.

The role of the CWO is key to ensuring that Respect is understood, taken on board by the committee, coaches/managers members and supporters.

In order to assist you with this role the FA have provided information on:

  • The role of the CWO
  • Help and support for you
  • Making sure everyone knows who you are
  • Safeguarding children is everyone's responsibility
  • Training requirements for this role

Respect outlines for everyone from league official to player to parent to club official to coach and referee that a certain standard of organisation and behaviour is expected in football.

Respect is all about creating a fun, safe environment and its core principles work in tandem with Safeguarding Children.

THE ROLE OF THE CWO

Your two key responsibilities are:

1. To be clear about the club's responsibilities when running activities for children and young people. This involves:

  • Ensuring these responsibilities are well understood by others
  • Working with the Youth League Welfare Officer (YLWO)
  • Working with your CFA Welfare Officer
  • Promoting The FA's Respect programme and helping to develop best-practice processes

2. To help club personnel understand what their 'duty of care' towards children and young people actually means and entails on a day-to-day basis.

In order to carry out your responsibilities you need to follow these five simple steps

1. Put in place...

  • a safeguarding children policy and anti-bullying policy
  • responsible recruitment processes including the taking up of references (getting the right people into the game)
  • the Respect Codes

2. Understand...

  • what Respect aims to do
  • the benefits of implementing the Respect codes
  • the quick wins to be gained by using The FA's safeguarding children
  • best practice guidance (e.g. Travel, Trips and Tournaments*, Photography guidelines*, Anti-bullying policy* and club safeguarding children policy template*)
  • why certain roles require an Enhanced CRB check and how The FA CRB process works
  • how to refer a concern about the welfare of a child

3. Communicate with...

  • club officials about Respect and its aims
  • parents/spectators and get them to sign up to the Respect codes
  • parents and new players by getting involved with running 'start of season' welcome sessions for members
  • coaches and managers about the importance of being consistent role models for their players
  • your YLWO - introduce yourself, find out how they can support you and let them know what you are doing to safeguard children in your club
  • your CFA Welfare Officer if you need help or advice
  • The FA by taking part in surveys, questionnaires, focus groups as and when asked

4. Encourage...

  • parents to complete the Respect education programme
  • coaches, team managers, first aiders/medics to complete The FA's Safeguarding Children Workshop
  • coaches and team managers to listen to their players thoughts, ideas and views
  • the committee to make use of the designated spectator area at all games.

5. Monitor...

  • repeated incidents of poor behaviour and liaise with your committee (and where necessary YLWO or CFA Welfare Officer)
  • compliance with Enhanced CRB checks through The FA CRB Unit for those who require one.

Club Welfare Officer

HELP AND SUPPORT FOR YOU

Visit www.TheFA.com/Footballsafe

This is The FA homepage for all safeguarding children information and guidance. You will find downloadable policies and procedures as well as best practice guidance. For examples of Welfare Officer frequently asked questions go to www.thefa.com/Footballsafe and click on 'Downloads' under the Designated Persons section scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Welfare Officer FAQs.

Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures

The FA's Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures can be viewed by visiting www.TheFA.com/Footballsafe clicking on 'Downloads' under the Policy and Procedures section and clicking on Safeguarding Children and Young People in Football. This policy has been written specifically for grassroots football. It provides The FA's Child Protection Policy statement and key principles as well as information on;

  • Responsible Recruitment
  • Promoting Best Practice
  • Poor Practice and Abuse
  • Responsibility for Safeguarding in Football
  • Responding to Concerns, Allegations and Disclosures.

This policy document is given to every welfare officer who attends the Welfare Officers Workshop - something that is essential for you as Club Welfare Officer to attend.

Safeguarding Children Education Programme

Hopefully you will already have completed The FA's Safeguarding Children Workshop (formerly known as Child protection and best practice). If you haven't contact your CFA Welfare Officer immediately to get onto one of these workshops - this is a sound and engaging introduction to safeguarding in football and a must for every welfare officer.

Once you've completed this workshop get yourself booked onto a Welfare Officer Workshop. This three-hour workshop builds on what you will have covered in the Safeguarding Children Workshop and provides you with the necessary tools to carry out your role as CWO. It makes helpful use of the Policy and Procedures and explores what leagues and clubs need to have in place to demonstrate best practice in relation to safeguarding children. It looks at the welfare officer role and what help and support is there to assist you.

BE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE

Being on the committee

Ensuring you are on the committee is a good starting point and should mean safeguarding children and Respect are on the agenda of committee meetings. Make sure your name and contact details are included in your club handbook and/or welcome packs. (Remember to consider what you are willing to have made public).

Meetings and newsletters

Contact the club's coaches and team managers so they know who you are, what your role is and how you may be able to supporting them. They in turn will be able to introduce you to the players. This will begin to build up a rapport and allow everyone to share ideas, agree issues that need tackling and offering each other solutions.

A pre-season meeting with parents and new players is a great way for the club to explain what it has to offer and what it expects from both parents and players. This is an ideal time to explain about Respect codes, the clubs safeguarding procedures such as dropping off and collecting players, having consent for activities/trips, introducing the coaches, asking for support (first aiders, coaches or referees perhaps).

Find out when club newsletters or other communications are sent to parents - you can put some information into this about your role, perhaps introduce other welfare officers that assist you in your club if you have lots of youth teams or reminders about keeping to the Respect codes.

Remember a good CWO is someone who:

  • always puts children's welfare first
  • is a good communicator
  • has a common-sense approach
  • is willing to learn, seek advice and work as part of a team
  • is over the age of 18

As we all know, there have been some tragic cases resulting from the wrong type of people working with children, both in wider society and within football. Making sure everyone knows how to report concerns about a child's welfare is essential. Knowing how to deal with poor practice issues is also vital. Lots can be done very simply - but football needs the support of Welfare Officers like you. Helping your club members and supporters to understand how to report a concern can make a real difference.

SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN IS EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY

Working together

If you are going to be successful in your role you need to work together with the members of your committee and your CWOs. Helping them to understand what your role is and what safeguarding children really means.

The FA's Safeguarding Children strategy is underpinned by the principle that Safeguarding Children is everyone's responsibility. The appointment of a welfare officer in all clubs and leagues with youth teams is a fundamental part of this strategy which has three main elements:

  • Getting only the right people involved
  • Creating a safe environment
  • Promoting clear systems to deal with any concerns

TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS ROLE

All clubs with youth teams must have a named Welfare Officer, who has an 'accepted' enhanced DBS check via The FA DBS Unit and who has completed The FA Safeguarding Children and Welfare Officer Workshop.