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Safeguarding in sport needs more attention, says Sport and Recreation Alliance

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The Sport and Recreation Alliance has revealed its “disappointment” that the safeguarding of children and adults “did not feature strongly” in the government’s Sports strategy.

In its submission to Sport England’s consultation on how to implement the Sporting Future strategy, the Alliance said that while it was pleased that a Duty of Care working group – led by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson – had been set up, more needed to be done in this area.

“We recognise that Sport England is a valued member of the Sport Safeguarding Partnership and hope that it will continue to support improvements within the sector,” said the document.

“More work needs to be done to ensure that the sector understands what safeguarding means, both in terms of children and adults, and what it needs to practically do to protect participants. It would be helpful if safeguarding featured in subsequent strategies, such as volunteering and coaching.”

A section of the government strategy, titled Duty of Care, sets out priorities such as making sure coaches are trained to meet people’s needs, and that facilities are there to prevent concussions and identify those at risk of heart problems.

“This means safeguarding people in vulnerable situations, and making sure that sports grounds and sporting activities are properly licensed and regulated,” said a passage in Sporting Future, which was published last December.

The Duty of Care working group – which will imminently lay out its terms of reference – is being set up to support athletes “often let down by the system”, who have career-ending injuries and have no plans for their life after competition.

Sporting Future states: “We want to develop a comprehensive plan for how government and everyone involved in the sporting system can more effectively look after people who take part in grassroots sport and perform at the elite level.

"This is a complex and substantial piece of work on a scale not undertaken before, so we are bringing together independent experts to find the best possible solution. Government will establish an Independent Working Group on a new Duty of Care for participants in sport.”

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The Sport and Recreation Alliance has revealed its “disappointment” that the safeguarding of children and adults “did not feature strongly” in the government’s sports strategy.
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