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Children's Wellbeing


 

Scottish Schools’ Football Association - Childrens’ Wellbeing
 
This document is subject to the policies and procedures of the Scottish Schools’ FA and, in turn, the Scottish Football Association. It has been developed with the assistance of Scottish FA staff and will be subject to periodic review in accordance with best practice.
 
 
Responsibilities
 
The Scottish Schools’ Football Association will:
  • Promote the health and welfare of children by providing opportunities for them to take part in association football safely
  • Respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of children for whom they are responsible
  • Promote and implement appropriate procedures to safeguard the well-being of children for whom they are responsible and protect them from abuse
  • Recruit, train, support and supervise its members to adopt best practice to safeguard and protect children for whom they are responsible from abuse and to minimise risk to themselves
  • Require members to adopt and abide by its Childrens’ Wellbeing Policy and these Procedures
  • Respond to any allegations of misconduct or abuse of children in line with this Policy and these Procedures as well as implementing, where appropriate, the relevant disciplinary and appeals procedures
  • Review and evaluate this Policy and these Procedures on a regular basis
 
 
Principles
 
The welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility, particularly when it comes to protecting them from abuse.
 
Children have a lot to gain from sport. Their natural sense of fun and spontaneity can blossom in a safe, positive environment created by the Association. It provides an excellent opportunity for them to learn new skills, become more confident and maximise their own unique potential. This Policy and these Procedures are based on the following principles:
  • The rights and welfare of children is the primary concern
  • Recognition of the child’s rights to protection as provided in Article 19 of the UNCRC: all forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse. ‘Child protection’ means protecting a child from child abuse or neglect, as stated within the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014.
  • For the purposes of this policy a child is recognised as someone under the age of 18 years. This policy applies to all children regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion, socio-economic status or family circumstance.
  • It is everyone’s responsibility to report any concerns about abuse and the responsibility of the Social Work Department and the Police to conduct, where appropriate, a joint investigation. The role of the Social Work Department is to carry out a risk assessment and it is for the Police to determine whether a criminal offence has occurred
  • All incidents of alleged poor practice, misconduct and abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
  • Confidentiality is upheld and personal data will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998
 
 
Structure
 
The Scottish Schools’ Football Association consists of three strata of activity, namely:
  • national level activities run by Council and The President’s Committee
  • area activities, run by Affiliated Local Associations
  • school activities run by Affiliated Schools
As a result, the following principles apply within this structure:
  • national and area activities will be subject to the child wellbeing and protection policies and procedures of the Scottish Schools’ Football Association
  • school activities will be subject to the child protection policies and procedures of the school’s Local Authority and, in the case of non Local Authority schools, the child protection policies and procedures of that school
 
Review
 
This Policy and these Procedures will be regularly monitored and reviewed:
  • In accordance with changes in legislation and guidance on the protection of children or any changes within the Scottish Schools’ Football Association
  • Following any issues or concerns raised about the protection of children within the Scottish Schools’ Football Association
  • In all other circumstances at least every three years
 
 
Bullying
 
Anti-Bullying Policy Statement
 
The Scottish Schools’ FA is fully committed to safeguarding the wellbeing of all children in its care. It is understood that children’s wellbeing can be seriously impacted by bullying behaviour.
 
The Scottish Schools’ FA therefore recognises the information provided for children by respectme, Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service: ‘Bullying is never acceptable; it doesn’t make a child better or stronger to get through it and it should never be seen as a normal part of growing up. Bullying is a behaviour that can make a child feel frightened, threatened, left out and hurt. Something only has to happen once to make a child feel worried or scared to go to school or other places they enjoy going’.
 
For the purposes of this policy a child is recognised as someone under the age of 18 years. This policy applies to all children regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion, socio-economic status or family circumstance.
 
The Scottish Schools’ FA will:
  • Respect the rights of children as paramount.
  • Work together to develop positive relationships amongst children and adults which are mutually respectful, responsible and trusting; and promote their emotional health and wellbeing.
  • Seek to prevent, reduce and respond effectively to bullying behaviour, through the implementation of this policy and guidelines.
  • Require members to adopt and abide by this policy.
  • Train, support and supervise its members to adopt best practice to prevent, reduce and respond to bullying.
  • Address the needs of children who are bullied as well as those who bully within a framework of respect, responsibility, resolution and support.
  • Respond to any concerns raised either in the experiences of children of poor practice/misconduct or abuse caused by an adult’s bullying behaviour.
  • Highlight bullying based on prejudice and perceived differences, to ensure our practices are effective in dealing with these issues.
  • Regularly monitor and evaluate the implementation of this policy and guidelines and include children’s views in this process.
 
 
Anti-Bullying Guidelines
 
Bullying can take some children’s rights away from them. There have been many different definitions and theories about what constitutes bullying, but it’s not helpful to define bullying purely in terms of behaviour. Bullying is a mixture of behaviours and impacts, behaviours that can impact on a person’s capacity to feel in control of themselves. This is what is termed as their sense of ‘agency’. Bullying takes place in the context of relationships; it is behaviour that can make people feel hurt, threatened, frightened and left out, it strips a person of their capacity for agency.
 
Bullying may be seen as particularly hurtful behaviour where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. It can be a ‘one-off’ occurrence or repeated over a period of time, and can take many forms including children being bullied by adults, their peers and in some cases by members of their families. Bullying can be difficult to identify because it often happens away from others and those who are bullied often do not tell anyone. Bullying is not always deliberate.
 
Bullying behaviours can be:
  • Being called names, teased, put down or threatened
  • Being hit, tripped, pushed or kicked
  • Having belongings taken or damaged
  • Being ignored, left out or having rumours spread about you
  • Receiving abusive messages, threats or comments on social media sites
  • Behaviour which makes people feel like they are not in control of themselves
  • Being targeted because of who you are or who you are perceived to be
 
When talking about bullying, it’s never helpful to label children as ‘bullies’ or ‘victims’. Labels can stick for life and can isolate a child, rather than helping them to recover or change their behaviour. It is preferable to talk about someone displaying bullying behaviour rather than label them a ‘bully’ – behaviour can be changed with help and support.
 
 
Support for children involved in bullying behaviour:
  • Cultivate an ethos where there’s an anti-bullying culture – it is especially important that adults are good role models for children.
  • Take all signs and reports of bullying very seriously.
  • Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns. Help those being bullied to speak out and tell a coach or adult who can support them. Create an open environment.
  • Take all allegations seriously and take action to ensure the child is safe. Speak with those being bullied and those displaying bullying behaviour separately.
  • Reassure the child that you can be trusted and will help them, although you can’t promise to tell no-one else. Explain what will happen next, and how they are going to be kept informed.
  • Keep records of what is said i.e. what happened, by whom and when.
  • In cases of online/electronic bullying advise children who are being bullied by text, email or online to retain the communication or to print it out. Be clear that online bullying behaviour will be treated seriously as any other form of bullying behaviour, as it can impact on both the child and football.
  • Report any concerns to the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer and complete a Concern Recording Form (see Appendix 3) as part of the Procedures for Responding to Concerns about a Child. (see pxx).
  • Talk with the child(ren) who have been displaying bullying behaviour. Explain the situation and try to get them to understand the consequences of their behaviour.
  • Keep a written record of action taken.
 
It is also worth considering the following:
  • In some cases it might be worth considering seeking an apology from those involved in bullying behaviour (for example where those on the receiving end wish reconciliation). Apologies are only of real value however, when they are genuine.
  • Be sensitive and use good judgement when it comes to informing parents/carers of those whose negative behaviour is impacting on others. Put the child at the centre – will telling the parents/carers result in more problems for the child? What are the child’s views on parents/carers knowing?
  • If appropriate, insist on the return of 'borrowed' items.
  • Aim to restore positive relationships and only consider imposing consequences as necessary, e.g. exclusion from the team or particular activity until behaviour standards are improved.
  • Encourage and support those displaying bullying behaviour to change this behaviour. Ask them to consider the impact their actions are having.
 
 
Review
 
This Policy and guidelines will be regularly reviewed and will include children’s participation and feedback on the content and actual experience of implementation as part of the review:
  • In accordance with changes in guidance on anti-bullying or following any changes within the Scottish Schools’ FA.
  • Following any issue or concern raised about bullying within the Scottish Schools’ FA.
  • In all other circumstances, at least every three years.
 

Code of Conduct for Safeguarding Childrens’ Wellbeing in Relation to Bullying
 
This Code of Conduct details the standards and practice required by all Scottish Schools’ FA members, including verbal and non-verbal actions when involved in activities with children and young people.
 
**All concerns about breach of this Code of Conduct will be taken seriously and responded to in line with the Scottish Schools’ FA Procedures for Responding to Concerns about the Conduct of an Adult and/or Disciplinary Procedures.
 
 
Good Conduct
 
The following elements indicate good practice:
  • Make football fun, enjoyable and promote fair play.
  • Treat all children equally, with respect, dignity, sensitivity and fairness (Article 2, UNCRC).
  • Build balanced relationships based on mutual trust.
  • Put the wellbeing and best interests of each child first before winning or achieving performance goals (Article 3, UNCRC).
  • Support children to understand their rights in football and the safeguards put in place to protect them.
  • Include children in decisions and activities affecting them wherever possible, respecting and taking seriously the views they contribute (Article 12, UNCRC).
  • Be an excellent role model including not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of children.
  • Always work in an open environment, wherever possible.
  • Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Recognise the developmental needs and capacity of children.
  • Involve parents/carers wherever possible.
 
 
Practice to be Avoided
 
In the context of the Scottish Schools’ FA, the following practice should be avoided:
  • Having ‘favourites’ – this could lead to resentment and jealousy by other children and could be misinterpreted by others.
  • Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
  • Excessive training and competition, pushing children against their will and placing undue pressure.
  • Entering children’s bedrooms on trips away from home, unless in an emergency situation or in the interest of health and safety. If it is necessary to enter rooms, knock and say that you are coming in. The door should remain open, if appropriate.
  • Doing things of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.
 
 
Unacceptable practice
 
The following practices are unacceptable:
  • Failing to act on, record or acknowledge allegations or concerns raised by a child.
  • Allowing bullying behaviour in any form between children to go on unchallenged.
  • Displaying bullying behaviour or making inappropriate comments to a child causing emotional harm.
  • Allowing children to swear or use sexualised language unchallenged.
  • Engaging in sexually provocative games, including horseplay or touching a child in a sexually suggestive manner.
  • Making sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
  • Forming intimate emotional, physical or sexual relationships with children.
  • Engaging in rough physical contact.
  • Establishing inappropriate contact with children via social media either online or on mobile phones.
  • Reducing a child to tears as a form of control.
  • Inviting or allowing children to stay with you at your home.
  • Sharing a room alone with a child.
 
All SSFA personnel will be required to complete and the Bullying Code of Conduct Form (Appendix 2)
 

Risks to Childrens’ Wellbeing in Scottish Football
 
The role of risk assessment within the Scottish Schools’ FA in relation to promoting, supporting and safeguarding a child’s wellbeing lies with the Child Protection & Safeguarding Officer. This is completed on an annual basis and risks identified form the relevant policies, procedures and safeguards, as well as training provision. While there are numerous risks, these are assessed and acted on in different ways. It is important however to highlight some areas in particular to improve knowledge and understanding of why some risks exist and why some groups may be more vulnerable, though these examples are not exclusive.
 
In respect of adults, the main areas include:
  • recruitment
  • relationships & positions of trust
  • grooming.
 
In respect of children, the groups include:
  • those with disabilities
  • those from black & ethnic communities
 
 
Recruitment
 
The risks in recruitment are around the suitability of people working with children. Therefore, all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children, including PVG clearance, induction and training. Safeguarding checks will be continued through regular completion of self-declaration forms and three-yearly updates on PVG scheme membership during involvement with the Scottish Schools’ FA.


Relationships & Position of Trust
 
The power and influence a person has over someone they are coaching or looking after in football cannot be underestimated. If there is an additional competitive aspect to the activity and the older person is responsible for the young person’s success or failure, then the dependency of the younger member upon the older will be increased. It is therefore vital for everyone to recognise the responsibility they must exercise in ensuring that they do not abuse their position of trust.
 
It must also be understood that the notion of ‘relationships of trust’ applies as much to young people who have taken on a leadership role as it does to adults involved in football.
 
 
Understanding Grooming
 
The majority of adults involved in Scottish Schools’ FA programmes with children participate with the main aim of providing a fun, positive experience for those with whom they work. However, others (though a minority) may use football as a way of gaining access to children for inappropriate reasons such as sexual abuse.
 
In order to gain access to children, those who commit offences often first earn the trust of people surrounding the child. This process is referred to as ‘grooming.’
 
Those who commit offences often portray themselves as caring and trustworthy individuals so they are freely entrusted with the care of children. Once they have gained access to children, they befriend them in order to break down any pre-existing barriers. As soon as a trusting friendship has been established, they manipulate and control children into gratifying their sexual needs.
 
 
Procedure for Responding to Concerns about a Child
 
These procedures apply to all persons involved in Scottish Schools’ FA activities with children under 18 years old.
 
 
Best Interests of the Child
 
The Scottish Schools’ FA is committed to working in partnership with parents/carers whenever there are concerns about a child.
 
Parents/carers have the primary responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of their children.
 
Where concerns are raised about a child, this will be considered in line with the wellbeing indicators and may be discussed with parents/carers. For example, if a child seems withdrawn, he/she may have experienced an upset in the family, such as a parental separation, divorce or bereavement. Common sense is advised in these situations and the best interests of the child will be considered as to what is the best support for each individual child. Children will be asked who they feel is suitable to be informed and, when relevant, consent gained from the child.
 
Confidentiality will not be maintained if it is assessed that a child is at risk or their wellbeing is being impacted in such a way that their right to be protected becomes more significant. Any incidents which cause concern about the wellbeing of a child should be recorded on the Concern Recording Form (see Appendix 3) and reported to the Scottish Schools’ FA Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible. In line with early intervention, the principles of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and the Getting it Right for Every Child approach, appropriate and proportionate information may be shared with the child’s Named Person.
 
 
Information Regarding Concern about a Child
 
Members of staff, volunteers or members of the Council may be informed in different ways with regards to details of a concern about a child. This may be a direct disclosure by the child. In this situation follow section 4 in responding to that disclosure. The details may become clear due to the observation of a child, which is perhaps demonstrated in a change in their behaviour, appearance or nature. A third option could be information that is shared from another individual or organisation. A concern or possible abuse of a child may be observed by another child or adult.
 
Depending on the nature of the concern, observations or information from others, this may not need to be discussed with the child, instead the information recorded then reported. Advice should be sought from the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer if there is any uncertainty about the appropriate course of action where there are concerns about a child’s wellbeing which can be discussed by anonymising the child, therefore maintaining confidentiality if appropriate.
 
If the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer is not available and an immediate response is required, the police and social work services must be contacted. They have a statutory responsibility for the protection of children and they may already hold other concerning information about the child. Record any advice given, actions taken and the response by other agencies. At the earliest opportunity thereafter the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer should be informed and the child’s Named Person notified.
 
 
Concerns affecting a Child’s Wellbeing
 
If a concern about a child is identified that affects one or more of their eight wellbeing indicators (safe, healthy, active, nurtured, achieving, respected, responsible, included), complete Part A of the Concern Recording Form.
 
When information is being recorded about a child, it is important that the child understands why we are recording their details and gain their consent where possible for further reporting of the concern. If a child recognises that people can help and support, and that this is the purpose of their details being shared, they will be more included and informed of the processes.
 
Where there is information or details in relation to the conduct an adult affecting a child’s wellbeing, this should be recorded in Part B of the Concern Recording Form.
 
 
Child’s Right to be Protected
 
Where the concern about a child’s wellbeing suggests they are in need of protection, the information must be passed on with or without their consent for the purposes of their protection. Allegations of abuse must always be taken seriously.
 
No member of the Scottish Schools’ FA shall investigate allegations of abuse or decide whether or not a child has been abused.
 
False allegations are very rare. If a child says or indicates they are being abused or information is obtained which gives concern that a child is being abused, the information must be responded to on the same day in line with the following procedure.
 
 
What to Do if a Child Discloses Abuse

      1.  Respond, so:
  • React calmly so as not to frighten the child.
  • Listen to the child and take what they say seriously. Do not show disbelief.
  • Reassure the child they are not to blame and were right to tell someone.
  • Be aware of interpreting what a child says, especially if they have learning or physical disabilities which affect their ability to communicate or English is not their first language.
  • Do not assume that the experience was bad or painful - it may have been neutral or even pleasurable.
  • Avoid projecting your own reactions onto the child.
  • Avoid asking any questions. If necessary only ask enough questions to gain basic information to establish the possibility that abuse may have occurred. Only use open-ended, non-leading questions e.g. What? When?Where? Who?
  • Do not introduce personal information from either your own experiences or those of other children.
 
Also, avoid:
  • Panicking.
  • Showing shock or distaste.
  • Probing for more information than is offered.
  • Speculating or making assumptions.
  • Making negative comments about the person against whom the allegation has been made.
  • Approaching the individual against whom the allegation has been made.
  • Making promises or agreeing to keep secrets and giving a guarantee of confidentiality.

Action
 
If you are concerned about the immediate safety of the child:
  • Take whatever action is required to ensure the child’s immediate safety.
  • Pass the information immediately to the police and seek their advice.
 
       2.  Record
 
Make a written record of the information as soon as possible using the Concern Recording Form completing as much of the form as possible. It is important that the contact details of the child’s parent/guardian/ Named Person are included.
 
       3.  Report
 
Contact the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible after completion.
 
Do not delay by attempting to obtain information to complete all sections.
 
Please do not keep any electronic, printed or written versions of this form. It is important to maintain confidentiality to delete or shred as soon as the information has been passed on.
 
 
Sharing Concerns with Parents/Carers
 
Where there are concerns that the parents/carers may be responsible for or have knowledge of the abuse, sharing concerns with the parents/carers may place the child at further risk. In such cases advice must always firstly be sought from the police/social work services or Named Person as to who informs the parents/carers.
 
 
 
 
Procedure for Responding to Concerns about the Conduct of an Adult
 
In all cases where there are concerns about the conduct of an adult towards a child, the best interests and wellbeing of the child will be the paramount consideration. These procedures aim to ensure that all concerns about the conduct of an adult are dealt with in a timely, appropriate and proportionate manner. No person in receipt of information that causes concern about the conduct of an adult towards children shall keep that information to himself or herself, or attempt to deal with the matter on their own.
 
At any point in responding to concerns about the conduct of an adult, advice may be sought from the police or social work services.
 
 
Initial Reporting of Concerns
 
Any concerns for the wellbeing of a child arising from the conduct of an adult must be reported to the Scottish Schools’ FA Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer on the day the concern arises, as soon as practically possible.
 
Where the concern is about the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer it must be reported to the General Secretary or President. In this situation, they will then take on the role and responsibilities as listed below of the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer.
 
 
Recording and Reporting
 
Concerns must be recorded using the Concern Recording Form (see Appendix 3) as soon as possible. Contact the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer to report the concern then email the completed form as soon as possible after completion.
 
Do not delay by attempting to obtain information to complete all sections. Please do not keep any electronic, printed or written versions of this form. It is important to maintain confidentiality to delete or shred as soon as the information has been passed on.
 
All subsequent actions taken and reasons for decisions shall be recorded (in the order in which they happened).
 
These records should be signed and dated by the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer. Where Scottish Schools’ FA Disciplinary Procedures are invoked for members of staff or volunteers, a written record will be made of all actions and reasons for decision.
 
Once the concerns have been reported, the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer will:
 
Establish the basic facts:
  • Conduct an initial assessment of the facts in order to determine the appropriate course of action.
  • Consult external agencies such as the police and social work services for advice at any time. This is important because they may hold other important information which, when considered alongside the current concerns, builds a significant picture of concern.
 
The Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer will conduct the initial assessment.
 
The purpose of the initial assessment is to clarify the nature and context of the concerns. It should determine if the adult’s conduct was inappropriate behaviour, serious poor practice/misconduct or whether there is reasonable cause to suspect an adult’s behaviour and conduct has been criminal. Every situation is unique so guidance cannot be prescriptive.
 
Where the established facts support a concern of criminal behaviour, the initial assessment will not form part of the disciplinary investigation.
 
Subject to the nature and seriousness of the situation, if it is not clear at this stage whether a criminal offence may have been committed, the member of staff, volunteer or member of the Council may be approached as part of the information gathering process.
 
Where the nature and seriousness of the information suggests that a criminal offence may have been committed, or that to assess the facts may jeopardise evidence, advice will be sought from the police before the member of staff, volunteer or member of the Council is approached.
 
An initial assessment of the basic facts may require the need to ask a child some basic, open-ended, non-leading questions solely with a view to clarifying the basic facts. It may also be necessary to ask similar basic questions of other children, or other appropriate individuals.Interviewing children about possible abuse and criminal offences is the sole remit of specially trained police officers and social workers. Questioning of children by those conducting an initial assessment should always be avoided as far as possible. If it is necessary to speak to the child in order to clarify the basic facts, best practice suggests that consent from the parent/carer be obtained.
 
Possible outcomes of initial assessment:
  • No further action (facts do not substantiate complaint).
  • Situation is dealt with under the Scottish Schools’ FA Disciplinary Procedures for members of staff and volunteers or complaint raised about a member of the Council with the Scottish Schools’ FA Compliance Officer.
  • Child protection investigation (jointly by police and social work services).
  • Criminal investigation (by the police). The results of a criminal investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, but not in all cases.
  • Civil proceedings (by the child/family who raised the concern).
 
 
Initial Assessment Supports Concerns about Poor Practice and/or Misconduct
 
The Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer will deal with the concern in line with the Scottish Schools’ FA Disciplinary Procedures for members of staff and volunteers. With respect to a member of the Council, a complaint with be made to the Scottish Schools’ FA Compliance Officer. In the event of an investigation into the conduct of a member of staff, volunteer or member of the Council, all actions will be informed by the principles of natural justice:
  • They will be made aware of the nature of concern.
  • They will be given an opportunity to put forward their case.
  • The Scottish Schools’ FA will act in good faith, ensuring the matter is dealt with impartially and as quickly as possible in the circumstances.
 
Pending the outcome of any investigation, precautionary suspension will be considered in all cases where there is significant concern about the conduct of a member of staff, volunteer or member of the Council towards children.
 
Any impact on a child’s wellbeing caused by an adult’s poor practice and/or misconduct will be passed on to the child’s Named Person.
 
 
Initial Assessment Supports Concerns about Possible Criminal Behaviour
 
Where the initial assessment of information gives reasonable cause to suspect an adult’s behaviour and conduct has been a criminal offence, the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer will report the concerns to the police as soon as possible on the day the information is received. The Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer will make a written record of the name of the police officer to whom the concerns were passed together with the time and date of the call, in case any follow up is required.
 
Referrals to the police will be confirmed in writing by the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer within 24 hours.
 
A copy of the Concern Recording Form should be provided to the police on request. Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure the safety of the child(ren) or who may be at risk. The parents/carers of the child(ren) involved will be informed as soon as possible following advice from the police. Any impact on a child’s wellbeing caused by an adult’s possible criminal behaviour will be passed on to the child’s Named Person.
 
Advice will firstly be obtained from the police about informing the member of staff, volunteer or member of the Council involved in the concerns. If the advice is to inform them, they will be told that information has been received which may suggest an allegation of abuse or possible criminal offence. As the matter will be sub judice (i.e. under judicial consideration) no details will be given unless advised by the police. All actions will ensure the best evidence is preserved for any criminal proceedings while at the same time safeguarding the rights of the member of staff, volunteer or member of the Council.
 
The Scottish Schools’ FA will take all reasonable steps to support a member of staff, volunteer or member of the Council against whom a concern has been raised.
 
 
Precautionary Suspension
 
Suspension is not a form of disciplinary action. The member of staff or volunteer involved may be suspended whilst an investigation is carried out. Suspension will be carried out by the Head of HR in accordance with the Scottish Schools’ FA Disciplinary Procedures. At the suspension interview the member of staff or volunteer will be informed of the reason for suspension (within the confines of sharing information) and given the opportunity to make a statement – which will be recorded – should they wish to do so.
 
Notification of the suspension and the reasons will be conveyed in writing to the member of staff or volunteer in accordance with the Scottish Schools’ FA Disciplinary Procedures.
 
 
Disciplinary Investigation
 
An ongoing criminal investigation does not necessarily rule out disciplinary action. However, any action taken must not jeopardise the criminal investigation. Advice must be taken from the police on this. Sufficient information should be available to enable the Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer to make a decision whether to go ahead with disciplinary action.
 
 
False or Malicious Allegations
 
In exceptional circumstances where an investigation establishes an allegation or concern raised is false, unfounded or malicious:
  • The member of staff, volunteer or member of the council involved will receive an account of the circumstances and/or investigation and a letter confirming the conclusion of the matter. They may wish to seek legal advice.
  • All records pertaining to the circumstances and investigation shall be kept confidentially.
  • The Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer will take all reasonable steps to support the individual in this situation.
  • In these circumstances the Scottish Schools’ FA will review the child’s participation in football. It will be appropriate to have a discussion with the child (with parental/carer permission) in determining their views and opinions.
  • Data collected for the investigation will be destroyed in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.
 
Historic Allegations of Abuse
 
Allegations of abuse may be made some time after the event e.g. an adult who was abused as a child by someone who is still currently working with children. These procedures will be followed in the event of an allegation of historical abuse.
 
 
Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007
 
The Scottish Schools’ FA will refer to Disclosure Scotland the case of any member of staff or volunteer who (whether or not in the course of their role with the Scottish Schools’ FA) has:
  • harmed a child
  • placed a child at risk of harm
  • engaged in inappropriate conduct involving pornography
  • engaged in inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature involving a child, or
  • given inappropriate medical treatment to a child.
 
AND as a result:
 
1. The Scottish Schools’ FA has dismissed the member of staff or volunteer.
 
2. The member of staff or volunteer would have been dismissed as a result of the incident had they not resigned, retired or been made redundant.
 
3. The Scottish Schools’ FA has transferred the member of staff or volunteer to a position in the Scottish Schools’ FA which is not regulated work with children.
 
4. The member of staff or volunteer would have been dismissed or considered for dismissal where employment or volunteer role was not due to end at the expiry of a fixed term contract; or,
 
5. The member of staff or volunteer would have been dismissed or considered for dismissal had the contract not expired.
 
The Scottish Schools’ FA will also refer the case of a member of staff or volunteer where information becomes available after the member of staff or volunteer has:
  • been dismissed by the Scottish Schools’ FA,
  • resigned, retired or been made redundant,
  • been transferred to another position in the Scottish Schools’ FA which is not regulated work with children; and,
  • where the Scottish Schools’ FA receives information that a member of staff or volunteer who holds a position of regulated work has been listed on the Children’s List, the member of staff or volunteer will be removed from the regulated work with children post.
 
If Disclosure Scotland notifies the Scottish Schools’ FA that a member of staff or volunteer is considered for listing, that individual will be suspended as a precaution until the outcome of the case is determined. Precautionary suspension is not a form of disciplinary action and does not involve pre-judgment. In all cases of suspension the best interests and wellbeing of children will be the paramount consideration.
 
If Disclosure Scotland informs the Scottish Schools’ FA that an individual is barred, that member of staff or volunteer will be removed from regulated work with children immediately in line with the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.
 
 
Media
 
All media enquiries relating to the conduct of a member of staff, volunteer or member of the Council will be referred to the Scottish Schools’ FA General Secretary.
 
 
 
 
                                                                                             
 
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