Safeguarding best practice in elite sports

1 April 2021

Safeguarding in football has recently been thrust back into the spotlight following the findings of the Sheldon report, published on 17th March 2021. Although the report suggested “mistakes were still made”, football as a sport has come a fair way since the launch of the FA’s child protection policy in May 2000. Safeguarding frameworks are now in place and these frameworks are reviewed annually to ensure maintenance and compliance to the safeguarding standard.

From grassroots to the Premier League, all clubs must have a Club Safeguarding Policy and a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO), with all those involved having to undertake a criminal records check and required safeguarding training. There is leadership across the game, with safeguarding children a regular item on every board agenda and a collaborative approach amongst sports to facilitate learning and good practice. Safer recruitment, the role of the DSO, education and training, reporting of concerns, research and insight, and monitoring are all key components to ensure the successful implementation of football’s safeguarding framework. 

Monitoring, in particular, continues to evolve, with technology used to oversee the implementation of safeguarding principles. The FA requires all clubs with youth teams to maintain up-to-date records of checks and training however, monitoring communications between staff and youth team players can pose a real challenge. With the ever-increasing prevalence of digital forms of communication, pressure is growing on clubs to ensure they provide the right tools and directives to help prevent the potential for misuse of platforms. As such, a platform that enables clubs to monitor communications between players and staff, in addition to granting access to schedules and communications to guardians of those of a particular age has proven to be valuable and highly desirable.

Having worked with youth teams and many of the top practitioners in youth sport, Kairos has built a robust, effective, and efficient platform to help elite sports teams not only deliver on the communication requirements of elite youth teams but also in helping staff save significant time with the planning and preparation needed week-to-week. Focused on empowering clubs and organisations to maximise planning efficiency and subsequently enhance matchday performance Kairos has worked with key practitioners to understand and deliver on the many nuances of elite youth football. 

Enabling clear and cohesive communication between staff and players, Kairos delivers significant value for the purposes of safeguarding with its app-based platform allowing specific staff such as DSO’s to readily monitor and audit communication channels should any issues relating to safeguarding be reported. Kairos also permits parents and guardians of youth players to be communicated with directly by staff and also have complete access to their child’s schedule of events, activities, and games.

The FA’s united approach to safeguarding across the game is driven by a clear three-part strategy and having worked closely to the strategy Kairos can help clubs and DSO’s deliver on their obligations specifically by:

  • Kairos Messenger, housed within the Kairos mobile app allows staff to communicate professionally and securely with parents and youth players in both a 1-2-1 and group capacity with the ability to share files as required.
  • Reducing the need for much of the communication that is required with parents and young people – Kairos’ scheduling functionality allows staff to plan and communicate session details with players, staff, and parents, requesting responses without the need for instant messaging or emails.
  • Instant messaging requirements are further reduced through Kairos’ ability to collect information directly from players and parents through our forms functionality. Collect responses Promoting complete clarity over staff and player scheduling and communications and easy reporting of concerns via our messaging system.
  • Permitting club-wide access of information for permitted users, with permissions to ensure every player, parent and staff member have the required level of access.
  • Providing you with a home to store and share important safeguarding and other documentation.

The Sheldon report has shown that all of us involved in football and sport generally cannot stand still when it comes to the safeguarding of children. This is even more prevalent when we consider the implication of fast-paced changes in technology. At Kairos we are not only keeping pace we are defining this technology with a platform bespoke for elite sports teams – providing effective and robust tools to help clubs deliver on their current and continually evolving responsibilities while allowing the game to flourish.

If you would like to learn more about Kairos and whether our platform could improve your safeguarding practice, get in touch.