ESFA Child Welfare
English Schools’ Football Association is committed to its responsibilities to safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people involved in football. ESFA Council is consciously aware of the importance of providing a safe and secure environment for the thousands of young people who play football within the family of ESFA and has consistently sought advice from The Football Association’s Equity and Child Protection Department. These discussions, together with the FA’s affiliation requirements and our legal obligations, have formed the basis of the policy which has been developed over a number of years.
Safeguarding Children is everyone's responsibility and having Welfare Officers in all ESFA District and County Associations with representative teams is crucial to The FA’s simple three part approach to safeguarding. This includes:
- Getting the right people involved – seeking references and DBS checks.
- Creating a safe environment - codes of conduct, education and best practice.
- Promoting clear systems - to deal with any concerns - policy and procedures
This policy comes into immediate effect and all those Associations who affiliate with ESFA MUST BE COMPLIANT PRIOR TO THEIR AFFILIATION. This is a condition of membership.
- All District and County Associations which run representative teams MUST have a named Welfare Officer who has complied with the following FA Welfare Officer requirements;
- An Enhanced FA DBS disclosure. (these are not portable from school or other organisations)
- Attended the FA’s Safeguarding Children Workshop
- Attended the FA’s Welfare Officer Workshop.
- A Welfare Officer may not be named by several Associations in order to fulfil ESFA requirements, the nominated person must be actively involved with that Association.
- If an Association wishes to nominate a Welfare Officer who is already named by another organisation, this must first be authorised by ESFA.
- FA DBS disclosures can be obtained by either contacting Sue Gifford at ESFA HQ firstname.lastname@example.org or through the local County FA offices by appointment.
- The Safeguarding Children Workshop must be attended before the Welfare Officer Workshop and both of these can be booked through the local County FA Development team.
- For County FA contact information see: http://www.thefa.com/GetIntoFootball/CountyFA/CountyContacts
- If an Association does not run representative teams, a named Welfare Officer is currently not a requirement for ESFA affiliation.
- Associations which do not comply with ESFA requirements, will not be allowed to affiliate.
As from 01 December 2012 the CRB merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and is now known as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - Associations with the old form will be able to use these up to 28 February - ESFA will soon commence issuing to new DBS Forms.
FA Enhanced DBS Check
At County or District level, all those in the role of coach, manager, first aider, welfare officer, referee, official driver or other official in regular contact with players in representative teams are required to complete an Enhanced FA DBS disclosure. It is the responsibility of each Association to ensure this procedure is completed.
DBS disclosures are not portable between organisations. A DBS Disclosure completed through a school procedure will not be accepted by ESFA for the role of Welfare Officer.
On completion, DBS forms should be returned with your original identification documents to Martin Duffield at 52 St Mark's Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY2 7SD or ESFA Offices Please send your documents by recorded or special delivery and they will be returned to you in the same way, usually within 24/48 hours.
Alternatively, you can contact your local County FA to complete your FA DBS check and verify your documents but this may be done by appointment only.
The charge for an FA Enhanced DBS check is currently £15.30 and ESFA recommended best practice is renewal after 3 years.
The FA’s Safeguarding Children and Welfare Officer Workshops are football-specific courses which cover the FA’s policies and procedures for reporting concerns and look at scenarios related to football and the FA’s guidelines for safeguarding children. FA Welfare Officer procedures may not be the same as in schools and it is important that County and District Associations with representative teams follow FA procedures on Child Welfare matters, in order to comply with ESFA policy.
County FA’s run regular workshops which are advertised on their websites and may usually be booked online.
- County FA contact information can be found at the following website address: http://www.thefa.com/GetIntoFootball/CountyFA/CountyContacts
Safeguarding Children Workshop (SC)
The Safeguarding Children three-hour workshop covers the following:
- Why football needs to safeguard children
- Best practice in football
- Signs and indicators of abuse and poor practice
- Action to take if you have concerns about the welfare of a young person
- Your relationship and behaviour towards young players
Welfare Officer Workshop (WOW)
This workshop is only for those who have taken on the role of Welfare Officer for their District or County Association. Please note - you must have completed the Safeguarding Children Workshop before you can attend this workshop. It is important that you have an understanding of what safeguarding in football means before you attend the WOW.
The three-hour Welfare Officer Workshop covers the following:
- The role of the welfare officer and the safeguarding children network
- Resources and support available
- Key safeguarding legislation
- Statutory agencies and role of The FA
- Making referrals and dealing with poor practice
- Action planning and creating an aware Association
If you would like to speak to one of the National Welfare Officers, please contact either Sarah DaCosta or Martin Duffield. Please be advised that both officers work part time and may not be immediately available but will reply to your messages as soon as possible.
- Safeguarding children is everyone's responsibility. If you are worried about a child it is important that you report your concerns - no action is not an option.
- If you are worried about a child then you need to report your concerns to the school. If the issue concerns a schools’ District or County team, you should contact your Association Welfare Officer.
- If the issue is one of poor practice they will either:
- If the child needs immediate medical treatment take them to a hospital or call an ambulance and tell them this is a child protection concern. Let your Association Welfare Officer know what action you have taken.
If at any time you are not able to contact your Association Welfare Officer or the matter is serious then you can either:
- Contact Sarah DaCosta or Martin Duffield directly
- Call The FA/NSPCC 24 hour Helpline for advice on 0808 800 5000
- Contact the Police or Children's Services
ESFA Child Welfare Officers
The ESFA has two Child Welfare Officers, each assigned to cover areas of the Country.
- Assoc. Regional Codes:
- A, B, F and G.
- Sarah DaCosta
- 07779 974978
- Assoc. Regional Codes:
- C, D, E and H.
- Welfare Officer:
- Martin Duffield
- 07852 276416
Safeguarding Children Downloads
The FA have provided downloads to help you achieve best practice in Child Protection activity. These files are available on the FA's website at the address given below.
Adults other than Teachers
English Schools’ F.A. (ESFA) Competition Rules stipulate that:
All teams must be under the ultimate control of either:
- A practising teacher
(recognised as such by the Department for Children, Schools & Families)
- A retired teacher or
a present or past employee of the education service,
who has received direct approval in writing from the appropriate local or county association, to undertake such responsibilities.
- A person who has direct approval in writing from the appropriate county or local association WHO
- Has at least a level 1 FA coaching qualification
- Has undergone a (FA DBS) Criminal Records Bureau Check (payment for which is the responsibility of the individual or local/county Schools’ Football Association.)
Any Association wishing to use an individual qualifying to have ultimate control of a team under (Section iii) working without the presence of a teacher/retired teacher/past or present member of the Education Services MUST for insurance purposes register the individual(s) with the ESFA on the appropriate form¹. This registration must be done on a 3-year basis and approval may be withdrawn at any time by the ESFA, or the county or the local Schools’ Football Association.
Any person assisting with or coaching a team must otherwise operate in the presence of a person who is qualified under (i) or (ii) above.
¹ This form can be obtained from the ESFA office.
In a school versus school situation, matters of Child Welfare remain the responsibility of the Headteacher(s)