Bradford City Safeguarding Policy

Version 2.b

December 2018

Point of Contact: Paula Watson

Bradford City Football Club are fully committed to the safeguarding and welfare of children, young people, young players, vulnerable adults, vulnerable groups and expects all staff, players and volunteers to share this commitment.  

The Club makes provisions for children and young people, young players and vulnerable adults  (Vulnerable Groups) ensuring that:

• The welfare of these groups is paramount.

• All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to safety and protection from abuse and harm.

• Prevent policies and processes are in place for the protection of vulnerable groups from radicalisation.

• All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

• All staff, players and volunteers working for the club have a responsibility to report concerns to the Senior Safeguarding Manage and Designated Safeguarding Officers.  

• Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility

Useful Contact Details

The Senior Safeguarding Officer at the club is Paula Watson 07967 510560

The Match day Safeguarding contact at the club is Jaimie Dorward 07818 515639

The Academy Safeguarding contact at the club is Derek Nolan on 077847 713206

Bradford City FC Community Foundation DSO is Paul Jubb – 01274 706850

If you prefer to report an incident by email please contact

If you have serious concerns about the immediate safety of the child or young person contact the Police or Social Services.  Record the name of the person you spoke to and tell your DSO what you have done.

Bradford Council Children Safeguarding Services During Working Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm, Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm First Contact Team:01274  437500– out of hours 01274 431010

Bradford Council Adult Safeguarding Services During Working Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 4:30pm, Friday 8:30am to 4:00pm First Contact Team:01274  431077– out of hours 01274 431010   

West Riding FA: out of hours 07912 309565

FL Child Protection Advisor: 01772 325 811/07795 628 379   

FA Safeguarding Team: 0800 169 1863 or via  

English Football League Trust on 07583491701

NSPCC Helpline number: 0808 800 5000/

Policy Statement

Bradford City FC recognises its duty of care to safeguard all children, young people and young players, vulnerable adults/groups involved in activities organised by ourselves from harm.  All children have the right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.  We will do their utmost to ensure the safety and protection of all children/groups involved in activities through adherence to the safeguarding guidelines adopted by the Club.


A child is defined as under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).  However, for the purpose of the Club’s Safeguarding policies and practices for home match day supporters, when referring to a child, the policies refer to a person under 14 years of age. Supporters under 14 years of age are not allowed to enter the stadium without a qualifying adult (age 18-years and over). As a result, and in line with reasonable adjustments, any supporter who is under 14 years of age must attend with their parent or guardian. Supporters over 14 years and under 18 years are allowed to enter the stadium unaccompanied however they are not allowed to be responsible for another supporter. Only supporters aged 18 years and over can be responsible for a supporter under the age of 18 years.

Vulnerable Adults defined as an adult (person aged 18 or over) who is receiving             one of the following services; health care; relevant personal care; social care work; assistance in relation to general household matters by reason of age, illness or disability; relevant assistance in the conduct of their own affairs or conveying (due to age, illness or disability in prescribed circumstances). We have a separate vulnerable adults policy.

Staff or employees is defined as any member of the workforce either paid or unpaid.

Vulnerable Groups is defined as the collective term used when talking about or referring to children, young people and vulnerable adults as a whole.


The aim of our Safeguarding Policy is to promote good practice and to enable staff to ensure that we:

• Provide children, young people, young players, vulnerable adults, (vulnerable groups) with appropriate safety and protection whilst in our care.

• Undertake to provide relevant safeguarding training, delivered by appropriate training providers as appropriate to their role for staff, players and volunteers.

Allow staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific safeguarding issues.   

• Provide education and awareness raising, to young players and parents to understand their role in safeguarding.


This policy covers all activities within the; Stadium, Training Ground, and Academy. The community foundation operate their own Safeguarding policies and processes in line with the code of capability.

Promoting good practice   

Child abuse, physical, emotional, neglect and in particular sexual abuse, can result in strong emotions in those facing such a situation.  It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about any action to take.

Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the footballing environment.  Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people/young players in order to harm them.  A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer may have regular contact with young people/young players and be an important link in identifying situations where a young person needs protection.

Any concern regarding poor practice should be reported following.   

If it is brought to the attention of the Club that a child joining the activities has been subject to child abuse outside the footballing environment, we recognise that football can play a crucial role as part of a care plan or in improving a child’s self esteem.  In such instances the Club will work with the referral agencies to ensure the child receives the appropriate support.

Good practice guidelines

All personnel are encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to safeguard children and vulnerable groups, to report any concern about the welfare of a child and also to protect themselves from allegations.  

We endeavour to :

• Always respond to any request to complete or update your DBS Criminal Records Check

• Always inform the HR Department in respect of your behaviour with regard to any investigation, allegation or arrest which may have an impact upon the role you have in working with children or vulnerable groups.

• Always work in an open environment; for example, avoid private or unobserved situations and encourage an open environment, ie no secrets.

• Treating all young people/young players/vulnerable adults/groups equally and with respect and dignity.

• Always putting the welfare of each young person first before winning and achieving goals.

• Always maintaining a professional relationship with young people and players; for example, never have an intimate relationship with a child U18 (even if they are over 16 years old) when you are responsible for their supervision, care, support or coaching.  

• Always maintaining a professional relationship with vulnerable adults; for example, never have an intimate relationship with a vulnerable person (even if they are over 16 years old) when you are responsible for their supervision, care, support or coaching.  

• Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision-making process.

 • Making football fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.

Coaching Contact:  

• Ensure that if any form of manual/physical contact is required, it should be provided openly and according to coaching guidelines provided by the National Governing Body (NGB) of the sport and in line with The Premier League or Football League Child Protection Guidance. Care is needed as contact may be difficult to maintain when a child is constantly moving.  Young people/young players should always be consulted and their agreement gained.  Some parents are becoming increasingly sensitive about manual support and their views should be carefully considered.

• All care givers must be subject to DBS checks at the highest level.

• All staff should be vigilant and ensure adults around children act in accordance with the clubs standards.  Staff are also responsible for those who enter changing rooms, etc. 

• Ensure that at tournaments or residential events, adults should not enter children’s rooms or invite children into their rooms.  

• Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking, not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, not using drugs or not using bad language in the company of children/young people/young players/vulnerable groups.

• When coaching gives enthusiastic and constructive feedback recognising the development needs and capacity of young people/young players and vulnerable adults/groups – avoid excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.

• Secure parental consent in writing to act, if the need arises, in emergency circumstances to give permission for the administration of medication or emergency treatment in line with the information advised on the current ‘Parental Consent Form’ as amended from time to time.

• Keep a written record of any injury or incident that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given and/or action taken.

• Advise parents, the DSO on any issue in relation to any treatment of children or vulnerable groups and to log such details on an incident/accident report form.

• Request written parental consent if Club/Foundation Officials are required to transport children/young people/young players/vulnerable adults/vulnerable groups in their cars and ensure that coaches/staff are accompanied by another member of staff. This should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

Practices to be avoided

The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable they should only occur with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the Club or the child’s parents/guardian. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a training session/match:

• Avoid taking children to your home where they will be alone.

• Avoid taking children to your home where they will be alone with you.

The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:

• Share a room with any under 18’s.

• Engage in rough, physical or sexual provocative games, including horseplay.

• Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.

• Allow children to use Inappropriate language unchallenged.

• Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.

• Reduce a child to tears as a form of control.

• Allow allegations made by a child to go unacknowledged, unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.

• Do things of a personal nature for children or vulnerable adults that they can do for themselves         

Staff should avoid taking on any caring responsibilities for which you are not appropriately trained and for which consent forms have been obtained.

Safe recruitment procedures for Club staff and contracted providers

We have in place safe recruitment procedures for individuals whom Bradford City will permit to work regularly with children,

  • We always obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring check which is renewed every three years. We are responsible for ensuring that all staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for:
  • safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Children; and
  • creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role.

As a minimum this  includes:

  • A role / job specification
  •  Advertisement of the role in line with club policy
  •  Interview process
  • Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Checks for those requiring such checks for work with Children or vulnerable adults, in line with guidance provided by The DBS, The FA and The Football League
  •  Verification of identification, appropriate qualifications and eligibility to work in the UK.
  • The taking up of two written references
  • Employment offers, subject to all of the above, and a successful probationary period
  • The Football League and the English Football League Trust recognises and adopts FA DBS as an appropriate umbrella body for processing Criminal Records Checks to safeguard Children in football.
  • An enhanced DBS Criminal Records Check through the above system is mandatory for all persons applying for, or currently in, such positions that are defined in law as ‘Regulated Activity,’ or that The FA deems relevant and whose normal duties include coaching, teaching, training & instruction, caring for & supervising or providing advice & guidance on wellbeing for Children. Failure to comply with FA Disclosure and Barring process may result in sanctions and possible suspension.

Responding to allegations

It is not the responsibility of anyone employed by Bradford City Football Club, in a paid or unpaid capacity, to decide whether or not the alleged harm or abuse has taken place.  However, it is their responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities.

We will ensure that all staff/volunteers are fully supported and protect anyone, who in good faith, reports his/her concerns that a colleague is, or may be, harming or abusing a child.   

Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation (internal and external):

 • A criminal investigation.

 • A safeguarding investigation.

 • A disciplinary or misconduct investigation.

 The results of the Police and safeguarding investigation may well influence the disciplinary investigation, and/or any future action, but not necessarily.

Complaints Procedure

Policy Statement

Bradford City Football Club (BCAFC) welcomes comments and complaints from all members of the Clubs community. We use this process to improve our commitment to the players and staff (including volunteers) so we can provide a safe and enjoyable environment in which people can develop.

Bradford City Football Club is committed to the continuous improvement of the services it provides. We recognise that, occasionally, mistakes will be made and this will not always meet the individual’s requirements or expectations. For these reasons it is Club policy that all complaints should be:

  •  Received positively, treated seriously and in an open manner.
  • Acknowledged immediately, preferably in writing.
  • Investigated
  • Resolved, wherever that is reasonably practical, within no longer than 13 working weeks.
  • A source of learning with feedback used to ensure continuous improvement of the environment which the Club offers.

No complainant bringing a complaint under this procedure will be treated less favourably by any member of staff. If there is evidence to the contrary, the member of staff may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.


The policy applies to all members of the Club community but does not replace procedures for, staff grievances and disciplinary action: those procedures should be used where appropriate. Any complaints or concerns raised which relate to an individual’s conduct or behaviour and have potential safeguarding implications for any individual (child or adult) will be assessed initially by the Club’s Designated Safeguarding Officer and Senior Safeguarding Manager. Where appropriate, these concerns will then be managed through Bradford City Football Club’s Safeguarding and Children Protection Policy or Safeguarding Adults Policy and procedures.  


All club staffhave a responsibility for receiving complaints, treating them seriously and dealing with them promptly and courteously in accordance with procedure set out below.

The Club’s Designated Safeguarding Officerhas a responsibility for resolving a complaint and leading or contributing to an investigation into a complaint when this is considered appropriate.

The Academy Manageris responsible for resolving complaints which have not been resolved during the previous two stages. The decision made by the Academy Manager is final.

TheClub Board is responsible for ensuring that the complaints policy and procedure are operating effectively and may become directly involved if a complaint is directed against the Designated Safeguarding Officer or The Academy Manager.

Action to Implement and Develop Policy

Stage One

The Club expects complaints to be made informally to a member of staff in the first instance. These concerns should be recorded by the member of staff and advice sought immediately if any safeguarding concerns are suspected or apparent. It is hoped that most complaints can be resolved at this level and any agreed action is captured in a record that is agreed by all parties.  

Where it is not possible to address issues informally with an appropriate manager or initial staff responses do not result in satisfactory resolutions, the complaint should be submitted in writing to the Senior Safeguarding Officer, Paula Watson.  

Contact details:


    Mob:       07967 510560

The Club usually expects complaints to be made by the person concerned. BCAFC will, however, always consider complaint made by a parent or advocate as it is acknowledged that there are many reasons (including imbalances of power) that block people from making a complaint themselves.

It is very difficult to investigate anonymous complaints as there will always be information that cannot be gathered or clarified. Any complaints relating to potential safeguarding risks will however be taken seriously, including those which fall under the umbrella of the club’s whistleblowing policy and procedures.

The Senior Safeguarding Officer will acknowledge receipt within one working week. The Designated Safeguarding Officer and Senior Safeguarding Manager will then ensure that an independent senior member of staff is identified to investigate the complaint who has neither been directly involved with the complaint or personal interest in the case member

Stage Two

The allocated independent staff member will respond in writing within one working week explaining what has happened as a result of the complaint. Where this involves a member of staff, specific details of action taken will not be made available. This is to ensure that our employees are afforded appropriate confidentiality and respect for their dignity at work.

If the complaint requires further investigation that cannot be carried out within the week, the investigating staff member shall keep the complainant informed and indicate the expected timescale for a response to be provided.  

Stage Three

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the relevant investigating staff member’s response, then the complaint will be forwarded to a member of the Club’s Senior Management to resolve.

The Senior Manager will acknowledge receipt of the complaint and respond to the complainant within 8 working weeks to allow time for any further information gathering and investigations to be undertaken.

Stage Four

If the complainant is still dissatisfied they have the right to follow the English Football League (EFL) complaints procedure  

Complaints should be made in writing and may be submitted by post to:

The Independent Football Ombudsman

Suite 49, 33 Great George Street,LEEDS LS1 3AJ.

 or by e-mail to:  

 or via the website:

Complaints against the Designated Safeguarding Officer, Senior Safeguarding Manager or Academy Manager

Complaints against the Designated Safeguarding Officer, Senior Safeguarding Manager or Academy

Manager should be addressed to the Chair of the Club Board  

Monitoring and evaluation

The club will maintain a confidential record of all complaints, appeals and outcomes and consider the learning from issues raised in order to assess what action if any would create a more positive experience and environment for those involved in participating in or providing club activities and to promote a safer environment. Themes and issues arising during each season will be collated and fed back to the Board to inform planning and priorities for the following season.

 Suspected Abuse

 • Any suspicion that a child has been harmed or abused by either a member of staff or volunteer should be reported to the DSO, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.

 • The DSO will refer the allegation to the Social Services Department who may involve the Police, or alternatively go directly to the Police if out of hours.

• Contact with the parents or carers of the child will be discussed with the appropriate authorities, and a decision will be made about which is the right organisation to make contact with the parents or carers of the child in order to inform them of any disclosure.  This will be done as soon as practicable after discussion with the appropriate authorities.


All information imparted to a member of staff will be treated in confidence.  Confidentiality is a key issue in the lives of young people and vulnerable adults/groups.  They may trust a member of staff with issues of a personal nature and wherever possible their confidences should be respected.  Staff must not make promises on confidentiality they may be unable to keep.

Furthermore, staff should always make any complainant fully aware of any situation where confidentiality must not be maintained as in a case of a concern for the protection of children or vulnerable adults or the welfare of either.   

Young people or vulnerable adults may disclose information that is difficult for the member of staff to deal with without further advice/support, or which must be reported to statutory agencies.  In this case the complainant should be told that the situation will be discussed with the DSO with a speciality in that area, or with the Line Manger, but confidentiality will be maintained if possible.    

Information Sharing

Bradford City FC are committed to sharing information for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people in line with Working Together (2013) and with respect for The General Data Protection Regulations (2018).  Any decision to break confidentiality should always be preceded by staff informing the complainant of what is about to happen and the reason for the decision.  The staff member should also try to seek the consent of the person who makes the disclosure.  There will be no breach of confidence if the person to whom a duty of confidence is owed, consents to the disclosure.  Staff should, in the first instance, seek the consent from the person if considering sharing information with other agencies.  It is therefore essential that members of staff understand the balance between the need for confidentiality and the need for the sharing of information. For that reason, they must not promise absolute confidentiality to the person who discloses any concern or allegation.  Information which is considered important in protecting the safety and welfare of the child or vulnerable adult will be shared by the Club and Foundation with the appropriate statutory and regulatory agencies in order to seek help and keep those involved safe.

If a person discloses information and asks for it to be kept confidential then this person cannot be told that information (disclosure) is totally confidential since it has to be passed on or referred for help to be sought.   

Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people in line with data protection laws, eg, that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure.

Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned.  Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only.  This includes (but is not limited to) the following people:

•  DSOs.

 • The parents/guardian of the person who is alleged to be abused (only with guidance from statutory agencies).

 • The person making the allegation.

 • Social Services/Police.

 • Chief Executive Officer

 • Department Head/Direct Line Manager.

 • The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child) *.  

 Reporting Procedures

• The FA/EFL should be informed of any serious safeguarding concern or complaint in order that they may consider the risk posed across football.  

Historic Complaints

Allegations of harm or abuse may be made some time after the event, eg by an adult who was abused as a child or by a member of staff who is still currently working with children.  Where such an allegation is made we will follow the procedures as detailed in this policy and report the matter directly to the Police or Social Services.  


takes all complaints of bullying seriously and has a zero tolerance for bullying.  Serious and prolonged bullying may lead to isolation.   

The same procedure should be followed as set out in the section relating to responding to suspicions or allegations, if bullying is suspected.  All settings in which children are provided with services or are living away from home should have rigorously enforced anti-bullying strategies in place.     

Help Prevent Bullying

• Take all signs and complaints of bullying very seriously.

• Encourage all children to speak and share their concerns.  Help the victim to speak out and tell the person in charge of the activity.  Create an open environment.

• Investigate all allegations and take action to ensure the victim is safe.  Speak with the victim(s) and the bully(ies) separately.

• Reassure the victim(s) that you can be trusted and will help them, although you cannot promise to not tell any one else.

• Keep records of what is said (what happened, by whom, when).

• Report any concerns to the DSO who may contact the school (or organisation where the bullying is happening).

Action Towards Bully

 • Talk with the bully(ies), explain the situation and try to get the bully(ies) to understand the consequences of their behaviour.  If bullying is found to have occurred seek a resolution which satisfies the victim.  This may include an apology to the victim(s).

 • Inform the bully(ies) parents/guardian.

 • Insist on the return of borrowed items and that the bully(ies) compensate the victim.

 • Provide support for the coach of the victim(s).

 • Impose sanctions if necessary.

 • Encourage and support the bully(ies) to change behaviour.

 • Hold meetings with the families to report on progress.

 • Inform all organisation members of action taken.

 • Keep a written record of action taken.

• Remain vigilant following the disclosure/investigation.

• Record the outcome of the complaint.

• Ensure relevant coaching staff are aware of the outcome and that they monitor the situation to reduce the chances of a re-occurrence.  The full policies can be found in the Employee Handbook, Safeguarding Policy.

Full Policies

These include but are not limited to:

Equal opportunities

Health & safety

Whistleblowing Policy



Social media policy

Transport Policy

Trips & residentials

Preventing Radicalisation

Health & Safety

The policy reflects the consideration we give to the protection of young people both within the Company’s environment and when away from the Company when undertaking trips and visits.  It is reviewed annually or within four weeks of the outcome of a serious safeguarding incident.

All policies are reviewed annually or after any incident, by the senior safeguarding officer and all safeguarding stakeholders.

Information for staff and volunteers

Defining Abuse

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm.   

Child abuse and neglect are generic terms encompassing all ill-treatment of children as well as cases where the standard of care does not adequately support the child’s health or development.  

Children may be abused or suffer neglect through the infliction of harm, or through the failure to act to prevent harm.  Abuse can occur in a family or an institutional or community setting.  The perpetrator may or may not be known to the child.  

Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability.  Abusers can be adults (male or female) and other young people and are usually known to and trusted by the child and family.

Signs of Abuse

There are five main forms of abuse; physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and bullying.  Should you have any concern that abuse is occurring you should contact the appropriate DSO immediately.

Physical Abuse  

Where adults or other young people physically hurt, or injure children, including by hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, biting, scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.  This category of abuse can also include when a parent or carer reports non-existent symptoms of illness or deliberately causes ill health in a child they are looking after, as in Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy.

Examples of physical abuse in sport may be when a child is forced into training and competition that exceeds the capacity of his/her immature and growing body; or where the child is given drugs to enhance performance or delay puberty.

Sexual Abuse  

When adults (male or female) or other young people use children to meet their own sexual needs.  The power of the coach over young performers, if misused, may also lead to abusive situations developing.

Emotional Abuse

The persistent emotional ill treatment of a child likely to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development.  It may involve communicating to a child they are worthless, unloved, inadequate, or valued only in terms of meeting the needs of another person.  It may feature expectations of children that are not appropriate to their age or development.  It may involve causing children to feel frightened or in danger by being constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted which may make the child very nervous and withdrawn.  Ill-treatment of children, whatever form it takes, will always feature a degree of emotional abuse.

Examples of emotional abuse in sport include subjecting children to constant criticism,  name-calling, sarcasm or bullying.  Putting a child under consistent pressure to perform to unrealistically high standards is also a form of emotional abuse.


When adults fail to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, to an extent that is likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.  For example, failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.  Refusal to give a child love, affection and attention can also be a form of neglect.  

Policy Update

This policy will be updated in July 2019, unless following any safeguarding incident and subsequent review, then the policy may be updated earlier.

Version Control

This policy will be reviewed and updated at least every year by the owner, and more frequently if necessary.

The Chief Operating Officer will ensure this document is available on the Club website, and at the club reception, including any interim updates.

The following identifies all version changes.

Safeguarding Policy:

  1. June 2016 Author: James Mason
  2. a October 2018 Author: Paula Watson

b December 2018 (amended to include all): Paula Watson

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