The Government has recently published Duty of Care in Sport, an independent review by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, DL.
She says in her Introduction,
The most important element in sport is the people involved, whether they are taking part, volunteering, coaching or paid employees. The success of sport, in terms of helping people achieve their potential, making the most of existing talent, and attracting new people to sport relies on putting people – their safety, wellbeing and welfare – at the centre of what sport does.
However, recent media reports and anecdotal evidence from across a range of sports has led to questions about whether welfare and safety really are being given the priority they deserve. At a time of success for British sport in terms of medals, championships and profile, this raises challenging questions about whether the current balance between welfare and winning is right and what we are prepared to accept as a nation.
Following the publication of the government’s sport strategy “Sporting Future”, published in late 2015, I was delighted to be asked by the Minister of Sport to look into issues surrounding the so-called “Duty of Care” that sports have towards their participants. “Sporting Future” aims to encourage more people to become active, to strengthen the sporting workforce and create a more sustainable and diverse sector. I believe that the issues grouped under the term “Duty of Care” are fundamental to achieving these aims.
The UK is much admired around the world for sporting success and the system that exists beneath it. In recent years there has been an increased focus on participation in sport and physical activity, and how as a nation we become fitter and healthier. There is significant investment in sport in the UK, through public funding or private sector sponsorship, and there is a reasonable expectation that there should be a return on the investment, not only in terms of sporting achievement, but social benefit and in some cases financial return. Winning medals is, of course, really important, but should not be at the expense of the Duty of Care towards athletes, coaches and others involved in the system.
However, it feels timely for the sport sector to consider Duty of Care in its fullest sense. The sector is arguably under more scrutiny than ever before, with allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse in football, and accusations of a culture of bullying in some sports. Questions are being asked about the price being paid for success. It is clear that the drive for success and desire to win should not be at the cost of the individuals involved. Allegations about the past need to be thoroughly investigated, but the focus must also remain on those in the current system to ensure that they are protected and free from harm, bullying, harassment and discrimination. Although there are processes and safeguards in place, the right culture is still required to ensure they work. Sport cannot think of itself as special or different and able to behave outside what are considered acceptable behaviour patterns.
The report makes several recommendations in key areas, covering
- Transition (entering top level sport, de-selection, appeals and leaving top level sport)
- Equality, diversity & inclusion
- Mental welfare
- Safety, injury & medical issues
The full report is available to download.
With this being such a hot topic in sport recently, we are delighted that Karen Miller has stepped up to the Welfare Officer role on the club committee.
Karen has recently completed her Safeguarding and Time to Listen courses.
Karen is at the Club most Thursdays, and can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone has any queries or issues, whether related to judo or not.