Clubs will be aware of the increasing significance and importance that is being placed on child welfare matters.
In recognition of this, the League, some time ago, laid down certain requirements in this respect and which are more particularly set out in Rule 42 of the League Rules “Child Welfare” as supplemented by the procedures and forms detailed on the League website.
The League Management Committee has been sensitive to the fact that compliance in respect of child welfare matters does place an administrative and supervisory burden on clubs and, as a consequence, has sought to date to persuade clubs to do what is required by the League Rules and by reference to the ECB Safe Hands manual (Child Protection Policy) referred to at Rule 42.
It is regrettably now apparent that such an approach by way of persuasion is not sufficient and the League Management Committee has now decided to put in place a formal framework to ensure compliance by clubs of the League’s child welfare requirements.
The approach will be on a phase basis as follows:
1. All clubs are, by Saturday 30 April, to provide details to the League’s Child Welfare Officer (Isabel Peel) of the club Child Welfare Officer and to complete and submit the form in this respect set out on the League’s website.
2. The League Management Committee will review compliance with the requirement set out at 1 above at its next meeting on 31 May and, depending upon the circumstances of such failure, will then look to take disciplinary action against any offending club.
3. It is a requirement of the ECB Safe Hands Policy, which forms part of Rule 42, that the club Child Welfare Officer attends “appropriate training to keep up to date with their role”. The League has provided a series of “Safe Hands” courses but the take up to date has been limited.
The League Management Committee will now require clubs to submit evidence to Isabel Peel, as the League Child Welfare Officer, no later than the last Saturday of the 2016 season, 10 September, that the club’s appointed Child Welfare Officer has attended a Safe Hands course during 2016 and before that date.
4. The League Management Committee will review compliance with the requirement set out at 3 above at its meeting on 17 October and, depending upon the circumstances of such failure, will then look to take disciplinary action against any offending club.
Clubs should be under no illusion as to how seriously the League Management Committee takes the matters of child welfare and that, where necessary, it will use its disciplinary powers to the fullest extent.