To all club secretaries, CSOs , Chairs of Youth and all those involved in clubs and the county with children and young people.
You will be aware of the allegations that have been made to FA clubs over the last few weeks. Inevitably questions will be asked to The RFU, the County and our rugby clubs about the effectiveness of their safeguarding procedures.
Please see below an email that has been sent out for all clubs by the RFU. I would ask you to circulate it to all those involved with young people and remind them of the correct practices and procedures.
All club CSOs have been asked some weeks ago to complete the annual self assessment Safeguarding audit. This will help to ensure that all correct procedures are in place at a club. Please return this by mid January at the latest
However having the correct procedures in place is only the first step. Ensuring that everyone at your club understands and applies them are essential. Most importantly continual vigilance by everyone and reporting concerns is crucial to effective safeguarding.
Alan Heinzman Northumberland Safeguarding Manager
Gary Robson Northumberland Assistant Safeguarding Manager
In order to continue to provide a safe and positive environment for children all club safeguarding officers and all club committee members must read and be familiar with Regulation 21 (Safeguarding) and RFU Safeguarding Policy . Anyone involved in rugby union must report safeguarding concerns to the County Safeguarding Manger who will then pass on to RFU Safeguarding Team.
The RFU’s Safeguarding Policy, Toolkit and RFU Regulation 21 sets out our requirements and aims to assist clubs in ensuring that the welfare of children remains of paramount importance. We also offer clubs an effective safeguarding training programme for all members of the game. We would strongly recommend that anyone involved in rugby (specifically those within the under the age 18 game) attend. You will find further information on our training on the England Rugby website.
We have previously communicated to the game our requirements in managing Safeguarding concerns/incidents and the DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) applications. In order to ensure you are familiar with our requirements, please see the following information -
The RFU believes that the wellbeing of children involved in rugby is of paramount importance and has jurisdiction to deal with any allegation of abuse of a child, any breach of the Safeguarding Policy and or any breach of Regulation 21.
Concerns must be dealt with in accordance with the RFU Policy and Regulations to assess the most appropriate manner of dealing with them. Some incidents may need referral to Statutory Agencies, such as police or children’s services, while if the child is not in immediate danger the RFU Safeguarding Team will take action. However, even apparently low-level concerns may require the RFU to seek initial advice from Statutory Agencies.
It is essential to refer concerns to the RFU at the earliest opportunity to ensure that children are kept safe. Concerns may then be delegated back to a club or CB to manage.
It is vitally important that no investigation is carried out by the club, other than gathering information prior to informing the RFU. This is so as not to jeopardise any police investigation or criminal proceedings and also to preserve evidence. This is especially relevant when dealing with cases involving inappropriate use of the internet and social media.
When referring matters to the RFU Safeguarding Team please use the incident report form which can be found here:
Disclosure and Barring Service - DBS
The DBS process is a crucial part of an effective recruitment process. Any club operating rugby for those under the age of 18 is deemed a children’s service provider, which means that certain legislation and commitments must be adhered to.
RFU Regulation 21.2 describes the requirements of the RFU DBS process, further information is provided in the RFU Safeguarding Policy of the requirements within a rugby setting.
One significant aspect of providing a children’s service is ensuring that a thorough recruitment process is followed, including interviewing potential volunteers, seeking references, checking qualifications are valid, on-going monitoring and carrying out DBS checks via the RFU.
All DBS applications must be obtained through the RFU Safeguarding Department and DBS disclosures issued through other Registered Bodies are not accepted.
The DBS issue a certificate for ALL DBS applications - therefore, simply having a DBS certificate does not mean applicants have been approved by the RFU. The certificate is sent directly from the DBS to the applicant’s home address and the RFU does not receive a copy of the DBS disclosure. All applications and results are, however, actively monitored by the RFU Safeguarding Team.
Only when an individual appears on GMS with a “current” DBS status are they deemed “approved/cleared” to work unsupervised with U18s, so it
is crucial that clubs monitor GMS, have an up-to-date Child Workforce list and manage those engaged in the youth game.
If a DBS returns containing information, the RFU will instigate the DBS Case Management Process and failure to comply with this process will result in the individual being removed from coaching U18s.
On occasion, the RFU will contact a club requesting a reference for an individual. It is imperative that written communication is supplied upon request so that the RFU can carry out a thorough risk assessment when managing a DBS disclosure.
Applicants (and clubs where necessary) will be informed of the outcome of the DBS Case Management Process in writing. Additionally the GMS site will be updated to reflect a Current or Rejected DBS status.
Only when a “current” status appears against an individual on GMS are they deemed “DBS cleared” by the RFU.