Duty of Care

It is widely accepted that in relation to children and young people sports organisations have a duty of care. A duty of care means that a sports body needs to take such measures as are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that individuals will be safe to participate in an activity to which they are invited to or which is permitted. A duty of care may be imposed by common law or statute.

When children, young people or vulnerable adults are involved in organised sports activities and are to any extent under the care and/or control or one or more adults, the adult(s) have a duty of care to take to ensure their safety and welfare. This occurs either as

Legal Duty of Care

In many sports activities, given the health and safety considerations, the organisation of individual (eg coach) owes a duty of care to those participating. It is also understood and recognised that accidents can and do happen, and that it is not possible to predict every eventuality Liability for the legal duty of care would only arise if an incident occurs and it can be demonstrated that the risk was foreseeable, but no action had been taken to remedy it.

Where children and young people are involved, more consideration must be given to be prepared for the eventuality that children are less careful than adults in a similar situation. This consideration is greater still if the person has a learning disability of is known to have a medical condition which may make them more vulnerable than the average child to foreseeable risk of harm.

In the sporting environment those responsible for the management or supervision of children and young people in a club setting should consider what steps they may need to take in order to demonstrate reasonable standard of care. These include

Moral Duty of Care

This is a responsibility for safety and welfare for those under their control. In sports activities the staff member, coach etc has a duty of care for all taking part irrespective of age or position. Where children are involved, those in charge have to act in loco parentis and requires the adult to act as "a reasonable parent". Within the sporting environment the duty of care would start by ensuring the activity is authorised by sport and that the coaches etc are qualified for the task and that the activity is managed in a safe manner throughout.

It is expected that any club or association would adhere to the NGB policies and procedures and incorporate reference to them in the club constitution.

The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) would also expect that the sports activity undertaken should have in place standards for safeguarding and protecting the participants and conform to guidance issued through the NGB and its Safeguarding Panel eg on travel arrangements, recruitment and selection procedures, training and qualifications.

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