Club Welfare Officers
How to become a club welfare officer
A Club Welfare Officer (CWO) is a mandatory role in any FA affiliated club with Youth teams. All people who work with U18s require some safeguarding standards as set out by the FA. To become a club welfare officer you will need to have an in-date enhanced FA DBS certificate and complete the required training courses; Safeguarding Children Course, Club Welfare Officer Workshop and Safeguarding for Committee Members.
Take a look at the full list of Safeguarding courses available by visiting England Football Learning, the home of coaching and learning resources for English football.
BEING A CLUB WELFARE OFFICER
So, you’ve completed the required safeguarding courses and obtained your an in-date enhanced FA DBS certificate and are now a fully qualified Club Welfare Officer (CWO). But what will you have to do? What is a normal day to day Club Welfare Officer role?
The position of CWO is mandatory for any club with U18 teams and is becoming mandatory for adult teams who have 16 and 17 year old's registered with them. As CWO you are a committee member along with the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, and possibly others, and you all have voting rights on club decisions.
As a CWO you will also need to become a verifier for DBS – you can do that by getting in touch with the County FA’s Safeguarding Team who will confirm to FA Checks that you are the appropriate person to be a verifier in that club. FA Checks will send you a log in and an information email which tells you how to verify DBS documents.
It is very important that people know who you are and what you do. Then if anyone has a concern about the welfare of a child they’ll feel confident in approaching you. Make sure your contact number and email is available to club members, visit training sessions and games so that you can introduce yourself and have information about the role on the club social media pages and website if you have one.
The FA have developed Safeguarding training courses for parents, its well worth them taking this course. It is free and will take about half an hour.
Work with the County FA to make sure Safeguarding and Welfare are always adhered to, so that you can keep yourself, the committee and your club up to date with any changes to FA Safeguarding practices. Promote social media campaigns within your club so that Safeguarding messages are always at the forefront of peoples' minds.
All club members have to sign a respect code of conduct and this has to be enforced. It is the committee’s job to do this. The code of conduct is a great tool for the committee and particularly for you to make sure that the behaviour and standards expected by the club are being met.
You will get complaints about coaches, parents, players swearing or being aggressive and revisiting the code of conduct with them and reminding them of their commitment can help to stamp out bad behaviour. Codes of conduct should be signed at the very beginning of the season and it is helpful to do this at a pre season introductory evening where you can be very clear about the vision and ethos of the club and what you expect from everyone involved. If someone continues to break the code of conduct, this can be recorded and used as a reason to give a suspension to a parent, player or coach. This also helps to support all club members to be positive and to look after the welfare of children
More information can be found here.
All DBS’s now have to be managed through the Whole Game System. As a CWO, you can view safeguarding and qualifications for your club so you can use WGS to run qualification reports and check when club members become Amber – meaning that they need to book on to training or start their DBS application.
Doing DBS through WGS is very simple. When you see that a DBS is coming up for renewal, tell that person to log on to their WGS. They will then see a link to begin their application. Once they click on that an automatically generated email with a link to the application will come to them from GBG online. After they have done their application they will need to come to you for their documents to be verified.
More information can be found here.
The intentions of most people who work with children in football are good. However, as part of football’s commitment to provide safe and enjoyable environments, sound recruitment and selection procedures are essential. When clubs or leagues recruit new members, all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children and young people both in open-age teams (who have players aged under 18) and in youth football.
Click here for more information on how you can support safe recruitment practices.
At some point you will need to deal with a complaint. This could be about a player or about a coach, a parent or even about another committee member. It is really important to have a clear process for dealing with complaints.
As a Club, you are expected to deal with most complaints in house with the committee. There is usually no reason for the complaint to go to the County FA as we are not in a position to suspend or remove players or managers from your club, which the club committee can do. It is vital though that a clear and transparent process is undertaken and that the subject of the complain is kept informed. It is also vital that any complaint is dealt with in a timely fashion. Even if difficult and contentious decisions are made it is best to get it over with so that the issue isn’t hanging around. The County FA are always happy to be on hand for advice in these situations.