Rôle of the Safeguarding Officer (SO) [or Welfare Officer (WO)]


For the effective implementation of the sport’s child protection policy, it is essential that each association or club appoints someone to take on the rôle of Safeguarding Officer (SO) or Welfare Officer (WO). There is no objection to the appointee being the Secretary or Chairman. The appointment should be subject to annual review.

Clubs with insufficient members who are unable to appoint their own SO/WO may seek the assistance of a neighbouring CPO/SO to act on their behalf.

Prior to this appointment it is strongly recommended that the person undertakes a Disclosure and Barring Service Check at Enhanced Level through their NGB. The SO/WO will be supported by a Case Management Group and the Association of Bowling Codes Safeguarding Panel.

The Club SO/WO acts as the first point of contact for anyone in the Club who has a concern about a child or vulnerable adult and about poor practice or possible abuse by anyone working with them.

Each Association SO/WO (whether at National, Regional, County or Club Level) must have a formal rôle within the Association’s management structure. The Association’s SO/WO will require support from the Association, and designated training should be provided. The Association may wish to appoint more than one SO/WO.

The rôle of Association SO/WO is critical in ensuring that the Child and Vulnerable Adult (safeguarding) Protection Policy and Implementation Procedures work in practice. The Association SO/WO may also act as the first point of contact for anyone who has a concern about a child/ vulnerable adult and about poor practice/ possible abuse by anyone working with them. See Dealing with concerns and incidents. CPO/SOs therefore need to be perceived as being approachable and as having a child-focussed and/or vulnerable adult-focussed approach. CPO/SOs do not need to be child or vulnerable adult protection "experts". That is the rôle of the statutory agencies (Police and Social Services).

It should, however, be noted that SO/WOs have a "supervisory" duty of care for all children and vulnerable adults, so require a DBS Clearance at Enhanced Level (because of the "supervisory" nature, there is no minimum "frequency test" involved in relation to contact with children or vulnerable adults). The Club SO/WO’s duty of care encompasses all children and vulnerable adults on club premises, irrespective of whether they are playing the sport of bowls or not.

Considerations on Employing a SO/WO

Outline Duties

The principal rôle of the person appointed as SO/WO is to assist the association/club to meet it’s responsibilities by following the policies and procedures adopted for the safety and protection of children and vulnerable adults participating in the sport.

In order to fulfil this rôle, the SO/WO will ensure that


The SO/WO is expected to attend relevant training courses in child protection issues and practice conducted by NSPCC or SportsCoach UK to keep abreast of developments. Click here for details of suggested sources of training courses. This is a condition of appointment and will be at the association / club expense.


Details of the person appointed as SO/WO must be notified to the County Association to facilitate exchange of information and periodic liaison meetings.

Knowledge Skills and Tasks for SO/WO

The knowledge to be acquired, skills to develop and tasks expected of the CPO or SOs at the various tiers of management and level are detailed in by the NSPCC. They are available for you to download in word format. Please click the appropriate name below to access the Knowledge, skills and tasks for the level concerned:

Source: NSPCC

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