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10 January 2017

Wigan Athletic Community Trust is a registered charity


Wigan Athletic Community Trust ‘The Trust’ acknowledges and accepts it has a responsibility for the well being and safety of all children who are under the Trust's care or using the Trust’s facilities. It is the duty of all adults working in the Trust to safeguard the welfare of children and by creating an environment that protects them from harm under the Working Together to Safeguard Children Act published in 2014.

The wellbeing of children is paramount for all staff and accordingly, it is the Trust's responsibility to make staff aware of the Trust's Safeguarding Children Policy as part of their induction process. Staff are also required to complete a mandatory workshop on the Trust’s Safeguarding Children Policy annually to make them aware of any changes.

The definition of a “Child” is defined as anyone under the age of 18.


The Trust is governed by the rules and regulations set out in the Working Together to Safeguard Children Act. The Trust is fully committed to ensuring that the best practice recommended by these bodies is employed throughout. The Trust also has a responsibility to maintain regular dialogue with the Wigan Safeguarding Children Board.

The Trust has a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) who has overall responsibility for the safeguarding of children taking part in Trust activities. The Trust’s DSO reports to the Trust’s Head of Community. Anybody with concerns about a child’s welfare should contact the DSO for advice in the first instance. Details can be found in the Trust’s Safeguarding Action Chart which is attached in appendix 16.4 of this policy. 

The Trust ensures all concerns are recorded and stored securely. The Trust’s Head of Community informs the Club's HR Manager and the Designated Safeguarding Officer on the Board of Trustees of all incidents and concerns reported.


The aims of the Trust’s Safeguarding Children Policy are:

- To safeguard all children who interact with the Trust's activities
- To demonstrate best practice in the area of safeguarding children
- To develop a positive and pro-active welfare programme to enable all children to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment
- To promote high ethical standards throughout the Trust's activities.

The key principles underpinning this policy are:

- Safeguarding the children’s welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration
- All children have a right to be protected from abuse regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, religious beliefs or sexual identity
- All allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to efficiently and appropriately
- To encourage parents and other members of the child’s family to be involved in a relationship with the Trust 
- To ensure that coaches, parents and other adults who come in contact with children provide good role models of behaviour.


4.1. Recruitment 

As part of the Trust's recruitment and selection process, offers of employment to positions which involve working with children are subject to a self-declaration form, an enhanced DBS and two appropriate references. 

4.2. Staff Training 

All staff working in direct contact with children are required to complete a mandatory 3 hour FA workshop on Safeguarding. Staff will also complete an online Level 2 Safeguarding course which is provided by Wigan Council. Registers of staff that have completed the course are retained by the Trust’s Operations Manager. 

4.3 Health and Safety

The Trust’s Health & Safety and Risk Assessment Policy give guidance to those whose roles involve working with children. 


The Trust is registered with the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) through TMG. The DBS provides a disclosure service for the Trust. DBS disclosures enable employers to undertake more thorough recruitment and selection procedures for positions which involve working with children. 

5.1. New Appointments

All staff who are offered a position which involves working with children will be required to complete a self-declaration form and an enhanced DBS disclosure. They will also be asked to provide two references. All employment offers are subject to the outcome of the screening process and when applicable, this is set out in their offer of employment. Until such time as their disclosure certificate has been received, the member of staff will not be authorised to work with children. 

The Trust is committed to the equal opportunities of its staff and therefore if a positive disclosure is received it will not result in an instant dismissal from employment. Should a positive disclosure be received, a risk assessment will be carried out by the appeal panel, to assess the information contained within the disclosure certificate. The member of staff may also be asked to attend an interview prior to an employment decision being made. In accordance with the procedures detailed above, all staff undergoes a DBS check every 3 years.

5.2. New Appointments with existing DBS

In the case of casual staff, if a new member of staff has been DBS checked by their previous employer, the Trust may not ask that person to undertake another check, however, the original disclosure certificate must be shown to the DSO and it must be dated within six months of the employee’s start date. They will be asked to complete a self-declaration form. 

5.3. Existing Staff

Priority is being given to those who come into contact with children. All staff who have one to one contact with children have been DBS checked.

5.4. Volunteers and External Consultants

The Trust will ensure that all temporary staff and external consultants sign a self-declaration form and will not have unsupervised access to children during their employment with the Trust.

5.5. Data Protection

The Data Protection policy adopted by the Trust is in line with current legislation.  

5.6 Parental Consent 

The Trust will make every effort to obtain parental consent for all activities. The Trust will do everything it can to safeguard children in their care. 

5.7 Children not collected 

The Trust has procedures in place for children whose parents/carers do not collect them from an activity at a specified time. This procedure can be found in the Trusts Health and Safety and Risk Assessment Policy.  Should a child not be collected within 15 minutes, coaching staff have emergency contact numbers and communication with the Trust's office to seek alternative numbers if necessary. In the event that a child is not collected on time, a minimum of two coaching staff will wait at the venue until the parent/carer arrives. If there is no responsible adult available to care for the child, the coach will contact the Wigan Safeguarding Children’s Board. Details are available further on in this Policy.


The Trust is committed to doing the utmost to safeguard children from harm. 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. Should employees have any concern that abuse is occurring they should contact the Trusts DSO immediately and complete a Cause for Concern form. A copy of which can be accessed in Appendix 16.3 of this policy. The five signs of abuse are as follows:

6.1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.

6.2. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative acts such as rape or oral sex or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. Sexual abuse may also include non-contact activities, such as involving a child in looking at, or in the production of pornographic material or watching sexual activities. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

6.3. Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of a maternal substance abuse. Neglect may involve a parent/carer failing to: 

- Provide adequate food, clothing, shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
- Protect a child form physical/emotional harm or danger
- Ensure adequate supervision(including the use of inadequate care-givers) or
- Ensure access to appropriate medical care/treatment

It may also include neglect of, unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.

6.4. Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as over protection and limitation of exploring and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

6.5 Bullying

Bullying is not always easy to define and can take many forms.  The three main types are: physical, verbal and emotional including Cyber bullying causing children to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.   


Where possible the Trust's DSO should be contacted as early as possible, however it is recognised that an individual may need to respond to a situation immediately. With this in mind the following guidelines offer help and support in responding to abuse or a suspicion of abuse:


- Treat any allegations extremely seriously and act at all times towards the child as if you believe what they are saying
- Tell the child they are right to tell you
- Reassure them that they are not to blame
- Be honest about your own position, who you have to tell and why
- Tell the child what you are doing and when, and keep them up to date with what is happening
- Take further action – you may be the only person in a position to prevent future abuse
- Complete the Trusts Cause for Concern form and keep records of all future meetings, ensuring you sign and date them
- Seek medical attention if necessary
- Inform parents/carers unless there is suspicion of their involvement.


- Make promises you cannot keep
- Interrogate the child – it is not your job to carry out an investigation, it is your job to report it
- Cast doubt on what the child has told you, don’t interrupt or change the subject
- Say anything that makes the child feel responsible for the abuse.

All staff and volunteers working with children should refer to the Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults quick guide that is issued to them at the start of their employment with the Trust. The quick guide provides internal and external numbers to support the employee with the concern.


Staff dealing with allegations should contact the Trust’s DSO in the first instant. If the DSO is unavailable they should contact the Trust’s Head of Community or the Club HR Manager who will advise the member of staff on the action to take. Contact details are listed below in this policy. A Cause for Concern form should also be completed and handed to the Trust’s DSO ensuring it is signed and dated. If a statement needs to be made by a child it should be reported in their own words, signed and dated. These reports should be confined to facts and should not include any opinion, interpretation or judgement. The Trust will ensure that any child concerned is immediately removed from any possible risk of harm.

Investigations into possible abuse will require careful management. The DSO may need to seek the advice of the Football League Safeguarding Officer and Wigan Safeguarding Children’s Board before setting up an internal inquiry. In any case of suspected abuse the Trust’s DSO must provide a report to the Trust’s Head of Community and the Clubs HR Manager. 

There is always tension and caution around issues of confidentiality. The advice for all staff at the Trust is that no guarantee of confidentiality can be given to a child. A child should never be pressured to give information or show physical marks unless they do so willingly. If they chose to show markings, two members of staff should be present.

Confidentiality should not be given either to the person making the allegations or to the person being interviewed.  A matter is confidential on a need to know basis and nobody should have any reservations about referring a safeguarding issue.  The most important thing is the welfare of the child.


Hayley Sherratt, Designated Safeguarding Officer, Wigan Athletic Community Trust
Tel: 01942 824599/ 07525901163.

Louise Kerrigan, HR Manager. Wigan Athletic FC
Tel: 01942 774000/ 07703822660.

Tom Flower, Head of Community, Wigan Athletic Community Trust
Tel: 01942 488530/ 07702736201. 

Claire Evans, Chief Executive, 4CT
Tel: 01612301420. 


Ann Hussey, Child Protection Advisor, The Football League
Tel: 01772 325811/ 07795628379. 

Wigan Council, Wigan Safeguarding Adults Board
Tel: 01942 828777. Tel: 0161 834 2436 (out of hours) 


11.1. Medical information 

The Trust identifies the need for a medical consent form to be completed by the parent or carer confirming if a child has any illness/disability or allergy. This is also an opportunity to include any other individual needs or difficulties. Parents and carers should be encouraged to complete this section honestly. 

11.2. Assessment of need 

From the information received on the medical form, and through discussion with parents or carers, the Trust staff can identify how to best meet the child’s needs to enable them to access the session that is being delivered. 

Below are some points to consider in completing an assessment of need:

- Does the venue have adequate access for the child?
- Does the venue have the required facilities?
- When playing away matches does the host club have required access/facilities?
- Does the Trust have the required staff trained?
- Does the child need additional help from a “support person” to access the session?
- What aids are required and can the Trust provide them. Do the parents have aids that can be used? i.e. specialist wheelchairs (charities can help with this).
- Does the child need personal care and if so who will provide it? 
- What advice can the parent/carer give to avoid/deal with possible problems in behaviour?
- What, if any, support services are provided by the local authority or other agencies to enable them to participate in everyday activities including education? Ask for consent from the parent/carer to seek advice or support from these sources
- How will the Trust ensure the disabled child is safeguarded from harm or injury while in the venue?
- Is an agreement with parents on attending the venue during sessions required?
- What action should be taken if a medical emergency occurred relating to any disability?

It has to be recognised that some medical conditions can be hard to manage in the Trust if they place other members at risk of harm. Such decisions to exclude or refuse the disabled children must be taken in line with appropriate guidance from the Trust’s DSO.  


12.1 Chronic illness 

Among the more common are asthma, allergies, diabetes, epilepsy, sickle cell anaemia or thallasaemia. Being diagnosed with a chronic medical condition presents many challenges for both the disabled child and their families. For parents, having access to information, treatment options and related resources such as football, can make a significant difference in their quality of life. Health issues such as severe asthma, diabetes and epilepsy, are likely to require the child to have regular medication. 

The head coach must be aware of what medication is prescribed as well as what action to take if the disabled child becomes unwell. The Trust must ensure that, while supporting the disabled child and parent or carer, they do not overstep what is appropriate for the Trust to undertake in terms of care. Knowledge of what to do and how to cope in an emergency is always important but it may be considered necessary that, in order to safeguard the child, a parent or other responsible adult should always be in attendance. 

12.2 Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

There are a group of lifelong developmental disabilities, affecting how a person relates to or communicates with other people. Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders experience difficulties known as “the triad of impairment – social interaction, social communication and imagination”. 

The National Autism Society recognises that “the prevalent rate of ASD of 1 in 110 indicates that all services should expect to come into contact with children on the spectrum”. In football we need to recognise that ASD can cause problems not only for the individual concerned but for both fellow team members and coaches that are involved with them. It has to be remembered that this is not an issue of “poor behaviour” but a behaviour pattern that is part of ASD. 

The Trust will need to look at what they can and can’t provide to meet an individual child’s needs and complete an individual risk assessment with a decision on whether that risk is acceptable and manageable, and allows the Trust to safeguard the needs of both the individual concerned and the Trust members to whom the Trust has a duty of care.

12.3 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) & Tourette’s Syndrome

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) refer to a range of behaviours associated with poor attention span including impulsiveness, restlessness and hyperactivity, as well as inattentiveness, and may make it more difficult for disabled children to learn or obey instructions and also cause misunderstandings when socializing. Tourette’s syndrome is often linked to or part of the symptoms of ADHD.  Tourette’s may cause disabled children to use inappropriate and verbally abusive words in an uncontrolled and unintentional manner.  

12.4 Learning Disabilities

Children with learning disabilities may require more help to learn new skills.  Head coaches need to be aware of the child’s disability so they can make adaptations within the session to make it inclusive to all.  It is important that parents communicate with the Trust to prevent assumptions being made that the child is being disruptive or naughty.

12.5 Progressive or Potentially Terminal Illnesses 

Children with progressive illnesses such as cancer, it is important to ask open questions that will allow the child and their parents or carer to share information openly about any progressive illnesses that may be active or in remission but could have an impact in terms of possible health and safety issues. Progressive illnesses by their very nature are likely to change with time. The child’s ability to take part in activities may become more limited and more specialist provisions may be required to enable them to take part. For example a child being able to maintain his/her involvement with the Trust for as long as possible may be of primary importance following a diagnosis of a potentially terminal illness such as cancer.


Photographs are taken by the Trust’s Media Officer. If the Media Officer is unavailable, head coaches are permitted to take photos on their work phone or work camera.  

- Before taking photographs of a child a parental/carer must sign a photo consent form prior to the session. A copy of the photo consent form is attached in the appendices of this policy for reference.   Parents/carers are responsible for informing the head coach of any change of circumstances which may affect consent
- Parents and carers will be informed of how the image will be used. The head coach will not allow an image to be used for something other than that for which it was initially agreed
- All children featured in publications will be appropriately dressed
- Were possible, the image will focus on the activity taking place and not a child
- Children who are under a court order will not have their images published in any document
- No images of children featured in publications will be accompanied by personal details such as their home address or contact details
- Any instances of inappropriate images taken by a head coach, parent or carer should be reported to the DSO of the Trust in the first instance and from there the Head of Community and the HR Manager of the Club.


14.1. Aims of the Code of Practice

The aim is to help the Trust establish and develop good practice around media. The code will also help the Trust avoid potential sources of abuse. The code is as follows:

- The use, adaptation, or copying of images either on the Internet or hard copy
- The possible identification of a child when an image is accompanied by significant personal information which can lead to the child being ‘groomed’
- The identification and locating of a child where there are safeguarding concerns 
- They are removed from their family for their own safety
- There are restrictions on their contact with one parent following a parental separation
- They are a witness in criminal proceeding.

14.2. General Considerations

- Make sure head coaches attend a workshop on the Trust’s Social Media Policy 
- Get parent’s or carer’s consent to take images of the child for the purposes of the activity.

14.3. Prohibited Actions

- Publish images with the full name(s) and details of the individual(s) or place images containing that information either on the their website or in the press
- Use an image for something other than that which it was initially agreed, e.g. published in the press when initially produced for a personal commemorative picture 
- Allow images to be taken by anyone in changing rooms, showers and toilets or anywhere else where children might be undressed.

14.4. Awareness

- It is not an offence for someone to take appropriate photographs on public property, even if asked not to do so
- The Trust cannot decide who can and can’t take images on public property 
- The Trust can decide who can and can’t take images on private property. If photographers do not comply with these requirements, then they may be asked to leave.


Preventing extremism has now been enshrined in law in section 26 of the 2015 Counter- Terrorism and Security Act. The Trust follows the guidelines outlined in the UK government document ‘Prevent Duty Guidance’ for England and Wales. This document can be accessed at 

If a member of staff is concerned about a child affected by extremism or has any suspicions they should complete a Cause for Concern form and pass it on to the Trusts DSO. The DSO will investigate this matter following the process outlines in the Safeguarding Action Chart. 


16.1. Staff/Volunteers/ Parents’/Carers’ Fact Sheets 

Be aware of what the children are doing online and who they are talking to. Keep the computer/tablet/iPad in a family room.  

Help the child to understand that they should never give out personal details to online friends — personal information includes their username and password for social media accounts, mobile phone numbers, home address. 

They should not forward any pictures of themselves or of their family or friends if requested. If the child publishes a picture or video online remind them that anyone can access it. 

If the child receives spam/junk email & texts, remind them never to believe them, reply to them or use them. It’s not a good idea for the child to open files that are from people they don’t know. 

Help the child to understand that some people lie online and therefore it’s better to keep online friends online. 

They should never meet up with any strangers without an adult they trust. Always keep communication open for a child to know that it’s never too late to tell someone if something makes them feel uncomfortable. 

Teach the child how to block someone online and how to report them if they feel uncomfortable.

16.2. Acknowledgement

It’s important to recognise that social sites are fun and offer great possibilities for children, there are potential risks including cyberbullying, inappropriate sexual contact and the misuse of personal information.

Social networking sites, such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are very popular with children. These types of sites allow children to be incredibly creative online, keep in touch with their friends and express themselves using a whole range of different media and applications such as video, photos, music, and chat. Increasingly children are able to access and use these applications on the go through mobile and gaming devices, where they are away from supervision, enabling the instant publishing of pictures. What sometimes appears as a private space for a child can become public very quickly and this blur between public and private expression can potentially put a child at risk.

It is not easy talking to a child about their social networking online or offline. Children often think of these sites as their private domain, in much the same way as they would a personal diary and address book, however because of the public nature of this environment and because children have been hurt by inappropriate behaviour in these spaces, it is important that they understand the risks and are able to safeguard themselves with the help and support of others.

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