Recruiting and Selecting a Club Welfare Officer - British Gymnastics

Recruiting and Selecting a Club Welfare Officer

Appointing a Club Welfare Officer/Safeguarding Officer is a mandatory requirement of club membership to ensure safeguarding is embedded throughout the club, in order to support/create a safe environment for all. Here we discuss the role and recruitment of the Welfare Officer/Safeguarding Officer to assist clubs in selecting a suitable individual to uphold safeguarding standards of the club, as well as British Gymnastics and the home nation organisations. 

Safeguarding in gymnastics

British Gymnastics and its home nations are committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, young persons and adults at risk in our sport. Our aim is to ensure all who participate in gymnastics have a safe, fun, positive experience and are able to fulfil their potential. To help ensure a safe environment British Gymnastics has a dedicated Safeguarding team committed to developing and supporting all aspects of safeguarding and ensuring all concerns are investigated appropriately. The equivalent can also be found in Scottish Gymnastics and Welsh Gymnastics.

All our registered clubs, regions and gymnastics events are required to have a nominated Welfare Officer. The appointed person must have completed all safe recruitment checks (DBS/AccessNI/PVG) and must have attended recognised* safeguarding and designated safeguarding lead for gymnastics (Time to Listen/Designated Safeguarding Children’s Officer training award) training. For further guidance please use links below:

British Gymnastics
Welsh Gymnastics
Scottish Gymnastics
Northern Ireland

*Recognised safeguarding courses include but are not limited to: 
Local Authority Safeguarding
FA Safeguarding
UK Coaching Safeguarding and Protecting Children
NHS Safeguarding
Specific professional prior learning (Social Worker, Teacher, Police Officer etc)
(Or Home Country equivalent approved by Scottish Gymnastics/Welsh Gymnastics)

Key Points:
To develop relevant safeguarding policies in line with British Gymnastics/Home Nations
Ensure that safeguarding is embedded throughout practices in the club, in line with the above
Ensure safeguarding compliance regarding training and safe recruitment for all staff

Please remember 
All clubs when registering have agreed to abide by these rules including upholding standards of conduct of all its members and maintaining a Welfare Officer 
Safeguarding compliance is everyone’s responsibility 
Welfare Officers should be a key part of the management team, not working in isolation
All clubs agree to uphold the standards of the organisation when joining 

British Gymnastics membership rules (applicable to all home nations): 
Scottish Gymnastics membership benefits and rules

Role of a Club Welfare Officer

A Welfare officer is an essential member of the team. It is important to fully understand their role to ensure best practice is maintained throughout and therefore providing the safest environment for all to enjoy. 

The role includes:
Safeguarding children, adults at risk and performance athletes by responding to any concerns raised
Reviewing club policies to provide support and advice in the implementation of procedures that safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk
Ensuring a child centred approach 
Also see above key points

Northern Ireland

Duties of a Club Welfare Officer

Welfare Officers should be proactive in their approach and be visible to all involved at the club. 

Duties include:
Assist the club in embedding safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people
Club has a child centred approach throughout 
Welfare Officers are the first point of contact for club staff and volunteers, young people and parents for any issue concerning safeguarding, poor practice, or potential/alleged abuse
Ensure that all incidents are correctly recorded, reported, and referred out in accordance with British Gymnastics (or home nation equivalent) guidelines 
Ensure that all relevant club members access appropriate safeguarding training  
Ensure that British Gymnastics (or home nation equivalent) safe recruitment procedures of staff and volunteers are in place 
Maintain local contact details for Children’s Social Care Services, the Police and Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) 
Advise club management on safeguarding issues 
Ensure confidentiality is maintained and information is only shared on a genuine ‘need to know’ basis 
Ensure safeguarding is an agenda item for all club meetings

A list of national and regional safeguarding contacts can be found on our safeguarding and compliance page. 

Recruiting a Club Welfare Officer

Recruiting a Welfare Officer is one of the first steps clubs must take when they are setting up and is a mandatory requirement to become a registered club. Clubs should take the time to consider who would be best suited for the role. It is recommended that you have more than one Welfare Officer, although initially the Regional Welfare Officer can support the one Welfare Officer appointed. 

Please remember, there are some clear rules that must be followed when appointing a club welfare officer: 

Home Nation Criminal Record Check Safeguarding Training Welfare Officer / Safeguarding Officer Training Minimum Age Further Information
England Enhanced DBS Safeguarding course (minimum 3 hours) Time to Listen 18
Wales Enhanced DBS Safeguarding course (minimum 3 hours) Time to Listen 18
Scotland PVG Safeguarding Scotland Level 2 (3 hours) Safe Recruitment Workshop 18
Northern Ireland Access NI Sport NI Safeguarding Children and Young People Workshop Designated Safeguarding Children’s Officer training award 18

Must be registered to the relevant governing body where the club is located (British Gymnastics/ Welsh Gymnastics/ Scottish Gymnastics)
Is not the Head Coach, key member of the coaching team or a member of their close family (in Scotland they may not hold a coaching role or be related to anyone in a coaching or helper role)

Qualities of a Club Welfare Officer

Qualities of a Club Welfare Officer
There are many attributes that make a good candidate for a Welfare Officer. Here are some considerations that can support your selection:
A professional background in working with children (teacher, nurse, police officer, social worker etc.)
Gymnast-centred approach to their involvement in the club
Passionate about promoting safe sporting opportunities for children
Available to spend time at the club, attend meetings, manage welfare, and conduct incident enquiries 
Good communication skills
Approachable and professional in dealing with safeguarding concerns
Good record keeping 
Knowledge of reporting mechanisms

Recruiting a Welfare officer
Safe Recruiting (Scottish Gymnastics)

Please remember
A Welfare Officer has support from the wider network and should not be afraid to ask for help from the Safeguarding Team at British Gymnastics/Home Nations

Clubs working with their Welfare Officers

Safeguarding is essentially having the correct practices in place, which when adhered to by all, ensures a child-centred safe and fun environment, the key to this being successful is everyone working together. 

Some of the ways the Welfare Officer can embed safeguarding throughout would be:  
The Welfare Officer is a key part of the management team
Safeguarding is a standard agenda item at all club meetings 
The Welfare Officer should have input during the development of policies, procedures and best practice as well as reviewing /updating
Engaging with club members and families, gaining feedback on their experience at the club 
Organising or taking part in parent committees, gymnast committees, drop-in discussion sessions etc
Liaising with Regional Welfare Officers, British Gymnastics, home nations and other safeguarding bodies

Attending welfare specific training or events with British Gymnastics/Welsh Gymnastics/Scottish Gymnastics/Gymnastics Northern Ireland or other organisations to provide professional development and confidence in the role

Useful links and contacts:  

Register your gymnastics club
Safeguarding and Compliance
Customer Support: Email: or phone: 0345 129 7129