8th March 2021


The Independent Review of UK Athletics Safeguarding including the Home Countries Athletics Federations (HCAFs), published in July 2020, was commissioned to evaluate existing safeguarding provision in athletics against the highest known standards of best practice in sport. The review made 29 recommendations aimed at both developing current service provision and providing a framework to ensure the highest standards are maintained in the future.

To support and inform the development and implementation of effective and measurable outcomes to the recommendations, UK Athletics and the four HCAFs established a working group. The group membership includes the safeguarding officers from each national body with additional membership by the NSPCCs Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) and support from the Ann Craft Trust. The group meets every four weeks to formally review progress, as well as bi-weekly update meetings.

Mark Munro, UKA’s recently appointed Development Director said:

“Safeguarding is an absolute priority for UKA and the four home countries. We have treated the Quinlan review and its recommendations with the upmost urgency and are working to ensure we develop and deliver the highest standards in safeguarding for the sport and in doing so, we deliver against all the recommendations.

“There have been some significant internal changes from both a personnel, policies and process perspective, as well as investing into an IT system to support the changes. However, while we work closely together as five organisations, we absolutely recognise that we must ensure the club system and those individuals working out with that system, are supported, educated and upskilled to ensure that ultimately, the sport of athletics is the safest place it can be for everyone to enjoy. Our work is ongoing and we will continue to update the sport regularly over the months ahead.”

The link to the report recommendations can be viewed here.

The initial update published in November can be viewed here.

There were six core recommendations (CR) within the review, and progress is updated below.

Progress against the 6 core recommendations:

CR1, CR2 and CR3.

These relate to policy development. We have now developed a separate Child Safeguarding policy and an Adult Safeguarding policy both of which have been approved by the boards of the HCAFs and are subject to final approval by the UKA Board by May.

We are also developing a communication strategy to ensure the athletics community and partners are aware of these changes and the associated developments.

CR4, CR5 and CR6.

These core recommendations relate to UK Athletics taking operational responsibility for safeguarding across the UK. To ensure that this happens in a focused and consistent manner the project working group have undertaken the following work.

• Produced and implemented standard operating procedures for managing safeguarding referrals across, and between the five national bodies.

• Implemented a new centralised electronic Case Management System (MyConcern). The system is now operational across the governing bodies and will be updated on websites with links over the coming weeks.

• Developed revised safeguarding procedures to ensure every concern is identified, recorded and reported quickly and in a consistent manner by individuals and clubs.

• Developed new Safeguarding Disciplinary regulations applicable across the home countries.

• Agreed the formation of independent safeguarding panel made up of experienced and qualified safeguarding experts that will meet regularly with the safeguarding lead officer to provide independent oversight of safeguarding cases and make case outcome decisions when necessary. The independent safeguarding panel recruitment process is ongoing.

• There will also be a pool of independent safeguarding experts appointed to any appeals processes. This process is also ongoing.

• In addition, UKA have appointed a full time Lead Safeguarding Officer and are in the process of publicly recruiting two safeguarding case workers into the safeguarding team to ensure specialised expertise across the case management process.

• Both within a policy and within a case decision making context, UKA are in the process of reviewing these to ensure a zero-tolerance approach where our policy will always be; to investigate and prosecute and ask for the maximum ban available where there is power to do so within the independent process.

Other recommendations (R1 – R23 within the report):

Many of the remaining recommendations are interdependent with the core recommendations and will be delivered once the work on the core recommendations has concluded.
That said good progress is being made and the following recommendations have been completed and will be visible in various formats in the weeks ahead.

R1 – The executive responsibility for safeguarding at UKA and each HCAF should be written in the job description of a full-time member of staff who is a member of the respective senior leadership team.
R2 – EA, ANI & WA should, like SA, adopt a bespoke Code of Conduct for Club Welfare Officers / Designated Officers – now included in a redrafted set of codes of conduct.
R3 – The Codes of Conduct should, like SA, be amended in accordance with the recommendations herein.
R5 – UKA’s “Photographic Policy Guidance for Athletics Clubs and Stadiums” should be amended in accordance with the recommendations herein.
R10 – UKA must inform in writing the relevant HCAF not less than three months before expiry of a coach’s or official’s licence.
R12 – Licencing requirement – completed
R15 – Safeguarding schematic – completed.
R16 – Common nomenclature – completed

Next steps:

By the time of the next update we plan to have fully delivered against the six core recommendations and all of the interrelated recommendations.

The main focus is now on the remaining safeguarding education, training and compliance/audit related recommendations for affiliated clubs and organisations. Each of the five organisations are also working to address any specific recommendations that relate directly to them within the report.

That work includes the HCAFs addressing any specific arrangements for annual affiliation / auditing and any changes required in relation to affiliation policy, club constitutions and HCAF membership.

We will continue to progress all recommendations as a priority for the sport, and we are grateful to the feedback and support from the athletics community and national partners.