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Letter to Members on Safeguarding

8th May 2015

Dear Member,

Some of you will be aware of the internal debate between members regarding proposals for the forthcoming AGM.  I would like to draw your attention to one very specific item – a vote for members to approve the adoption of the current NISA “SAFEGUARDING AND PROTECTING YOUNG PEOPLE (SPYP) POLICY CASE MANAGEMENT AND PROCEDURES”.

This document was produced in partnership with the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit [CPSU] and is considered a “best practice model of case management” and is endorsed by NSPCC CPSU Director, Anne Tiivas.

It is important to note that prior to this system being developed within NISA, the Board effectively acted as the case management and disciplinary and appeals panel. This kind of system raises numerous problems, for example, there is no independent voice in this system that can challenge decisions that may be being made about people well known to Board members.

One particular concern within NISA was that historically there have been cases where there has been a significant conflict of interest in safeguarding decision making, particularly around the issue of Board members.

Therefore, in NISA’s case it was particularly important and necessary to separate the safeguarding case management and disciplinary processes from the Board in order to avoid such conflict of interest, to ensure the child’s best interests was of paramount consideration and to avoid opening NISA up to accusations of a lack of transparency.

Given all of these issues the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit would be extremely concerned if NISA reverted back to a system whereby the Board was the body that had to make ‘any important/critical decisions’. For the reasons outlined above we do not feel this is good or safe practice.

I also need to make you aware that NISA has been dealing with a significant number of very serious cases over the last year and are currently dealing with, the case management system in place has to be extremely robust. Where there is not a fit for purpose system in place the CPSU would need to refer this to Sport England and UK Sport as the funding bodies as this would place children at risk of harm and significantly undermine the ability of NISA to reach the required Standards for Safeguarding Children in and through Sport.

On this matter I urge the membership to put the safety and welfare of children first and approve the adoption of the SPYP.

Nick Sellwood