Return to Grassroots Football - Safeguarding Update

The FA issue a Safeguarding Update in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

The FA has issued an update to Safeguarding during COVID-19, which covers coaching, DBS checks and affiliation.

Coaches Working with Children

Guidance issued on 1st June following discussion with DCMS, enabled coaches to work with groups of 5 children, with the coach as the 6th person, if the coach had an in-date FA DBS check and there was another adult (this could have been a parent/carer or another coach), in sight of the activity.

This approach sought to facilitate a gradual start to some football activity in a proportionate way, with an observing adult in sight of the activity, whilst socially distanced and observing. Whilst this was supported by the DCMS, it has become apparent that this position has caused some confusion in respect of ensuring the correct ratio of coaches to children is always adhered to, and that this might lead to challenges for clubs and coaches locally. For this reason, you will see a change to the information now in the public domain.

Therefore, the guidance issued on 12th June, clarifies this - http://www.thefa.com/news/2020/jun/12/grassroots-covid-19-update-120620

Coaches must work on a ratio of one coach to groups of no more than five children in each group (1:5) and there must be a minimum of two FA-DBS-checked adults present at any one time.

For the avoidance of doubt this means:

- If there is only one group, there must be two FA DBS checked adults / coaches, therefore the ratio is 2:4 coaches to children; or
- If there are two or more groups of 5 children, coaches can work on the ratio of 1:5 coaches to children.

Please note the above includes anyone working with Under 18s.


FA DBS Checks

FA DBS verifiers can now resume FA DBS checks. However, government guidelines must be adhered to if a verification is to be carried out. This includes:

- Stay at least two metres (three steps) away from anyone you don’t live with when outside your home;
- Wear disposable gloves to avoid direct handling of documents to be verified;
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds;
- Use alcohol-based hand gel, if soap and water are not available;
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze;
- Take plastic bags for the removal of waste. Secure them by tying and placing in a second collection bag, any disposables e.g. tissues, gloves for safe disposal later;
- Wash your hands as soon as you can and when you get home;
- Remind the person/people attending of the documents they need to bring. This will reduce the need for a second contact;
- Remind anyone coming for document verification not to attend if they feel unwell, have a temperature or cough or should be isolating as a person in their home is unwell.

Please see the below 'Guidance on carrying out face-to-face Identity (ID) Document Verification for DBS checks in line with Government Covid-19 guidelines’.


Guidance for Clubs in WGS Portal in light of changes connected with the Covid-19 pandemic

Q - Can I add a Welfare Officer in the Portal Affiliation form without a current FA DBS check?

A – Yes to allow you to start the process, but you will receive warnings and you will not be able to able to submit the affiliation form. With face-to-face DBS verification now reinstated, you are reminded that all Welfare Officers must have a current FA DBS check.

Q – Can I add a Welfare Officer in the Portal Affiliation form without a SGW or WOW?

A – Yes, you will receive warnings, but this is allowed, and the affiliation form can be submitted.

Q – Can I add a Youth Team Manager or Coach in the Portal Affiliation form without an FA DBS?

A – No, with face-to-face FA DBS checks reinstated, all Youth Team Managers and Coaches must have a current FA DBS.

Q – Can I add a new Welfare Officer in the Portal Club Officials page without an FA DBS, SGW or WOW?

A – No, this is not allowed. If you need to have a new Welfare Officer who does not have any of these, you will need to contact your County FA who can support getting the FA DBS check and can record the need for an action plan for the Safeguarding and Welfare Officer Workshops.

Q – Can I add a new Youth Team Manager or Coach in the Portal Team Officials page without an FA DBS?

A – No, this is not allowed. With face-to-face DBS verification now reinstated, all Youth Team Managers and Coaches must have a current FA DBS.

Related documents