1. All volunteers carrying out regulated activity with U18s (in accordance with DBS guidance) require an Enhanced DBS with a check of the Children’s Barring List before they commence their role within football. This is requirement remains in place.
However, we ask that new grassroots club DBS checks are not submitted where grassroots football activity remains suspended. For the avoidance of doubt, volunteers will not be permitted to carry out regulated activity with U18s until they have obtained a DBS check. The FA will provide a further update on processing new DBS checks in due course when there is further clarity on when football activity will resume.
2. Individuals whose DBS checks are due to expire between 1 October 2020 and 31 May 2021 will not be required to renew their DBS checks until 1 year after the scheduled date of expiry. The FA currently requires DBS checks to be renewed every 3 years in accordance with industry standards and best practice. However, we have made an informed decision to extend this to 4 years, in these limited circumstances, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated difficulties this therefore creates for carrying out the in-person requirements to check ID verification documents. It should be noted that all the individuals this extension relates to, already hold a DBS check which has been previously accepted by The FA.
In December we recommenced the monthly Teams session with our welfare officer network where we can give updates, offer training and development and most importantly listen to concerns and answer queries. We understand some of our welfare officers have not been receiving the meeting invitation. If this is the case please email Rachael.Pearson@lancashirefa.com to be added to the circulation. It is essential that we are made aware of any changes to the club welfare officer position since affiliation last summer. Some clubs have had changes of personnel but have not informed us or made the requisite changes to the Whole Game System.
We intend to publish, in the near future, a short survey for our welfare officers to gauge how they are feeling, how well supported they are, how Covid has impacted on their work and how they consider we can make their jobs easier and more productive. Please try and take time to complete this exercise as without it we will never truly know how we can best help and support our clubs and leagues in this critical area.
As in the past four years we have to undertake unannounced safeguarding visits on 13 per cent of our clubs including a number of our larger clubs. We had hoped to be able to complete these face to face but Covid has defeated that aspiration. As such our visits will revert to a virtual alternative consisting of an audit of the club website and/or social media platforms followed by a virtual meeting with members of the club including the welfare officer. Whilst we acknowledge this is not ideal we urge all clubs contacted to please engage with us. Our approach will be very much a partnership and support one with any recommendations made given sufficient time to implement.
Given the prevailing uncertainty around Covid restrictions we have made the early decision to plan our annual conference via Microsoft Teams. The event will be held on Saturday 19 June 2021 from 10.00 until 15.00 with regular breaks scheduled. Whilst the final details are not yet confirmed we plan sessions on the touchline environment, managing health well-being and positive mental health in your club, why young people should shape their game and a question and answer session. We will be using internal and external speakers (hopefully including young people) for this event and will ensure it is as engaging and thought-provoking as possible. Invitations will initially be reserved for club welfare officers, but should we have scope we will extend this to all with an interest in the youth game locally or even nationally.
One of the major disappointments of the Covid restrictions and lockdown periods was the suspension of the work we had started on youth engagement and exploring the opportunity to grow youth representation across our clubs and leagues. This is fundamental to the future of youth football in the county. In order to re-energise this work we have created a very brief survey for our young participants to ensure we understand their needs and priorities and gain insight into the degree of consultation currently happening across the county. We would ask all clubs to please make sure as many children and young people as possible complete this survey to give us some really meaningful data.
The survey can be accessed here
The closing date for this is February 28th and the results will be published shortly afterwards. These will then form the basis of our longer-term plans around establishing sustainable youth-adult partnerships right across the county.
This is the third year we have created a monthly safeguarding training programme for our staff and directors. It is a light-touch and brief programme consisting of articles to read and video clips to watch. The purpose is to keep safeguarding front of mind for all and to upskill and educate people in relevant areas. This year we are making this programme available to our welfare officer workforce but are asking them to cascade this to other adults (committee members, coaches and parent/carers) within the club. It would be deemed as excellent practise by both us and the FA were clubs to be supplementing the official safeguarding training offered and required by the FA. The relevant programme is linked here. We would be very interested in any feedback.