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PLAY SAFE: It’s about day-to-day practices

Safeguarding officer Scott Taylor on his role at the club

2 October 2022

Club News

PLAY SAFE: It’s about day-to-day practices

Safeguarding officer Scott Taylor on his role at the club

2 October 2022

Carlisle United Football Club is again giving its full support to Play Safe – a national FA-led campaign to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding in football.

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Our Designated Safeguarding Officer, Scott Taylor, works closely with the Cumberland FA, the FA, the EFL and all relevant authorities to ensure that we are always doing what we need to.

Speaking about his role and why safeguarding is so important, he said: “I started my role as the club’s Designated Safeguarding Officer last August (2021) and quickly had to understand the EFL Safeguarding Standards. 

“Like all clubs, we had been externally reviewed by Barnardos following the club’s Safeguarding Audit during the end of the 2020/21 season. This was all part of the normal scrutiny of all clubs to ensure we are undertaking best practice, so there were ideas and areas to get into.

“Working closely with Nigel Clibbens the Senior Safeguarding Manager (SSM,) and the rest of the club’s Safeguarding Working Group (SWG), including David Wilkes, Sarah McKnight – and which includes Tracy Gannon from the Community Sports Trust – we are making positive progress towards implementing a strong safeguarding culture at the club, from the academy to the first-team, and also off the field, including all directors and staff, and even contractors.

“We are always quick to address any safeguarding concerns raised, no matter how small, and we work closely with all football and community safeguarding authorities as necessary.

“Whether that is on a match day, with issues like unaccompanied or lost children, to concern of players in the academy, all the way to youth players with the first team. While the headlines are made by the serious abuse cases, safeguarding is also about day-to-day practices. 

“We look closely at players under the age of 18 (who are treated as children) and the first team environment, accommodation, travel and, for younger players, issues like how they all get on together in their teams and any behaviour that can lead to problems like bullying, if not tackled.

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“In the last 12-months we have used a new online reporting system that is used and trusted by other EFL clubs to enhance what we do. It makes reporting, following up and resolving any safeguarding issues far more effective.

“All of our under-18 players have been given their own access so that they (or their parent/carer) can report anything directly to me confidentially. All club staff who have regular close contact with people under the age of 18 also have individual access.

“It provides a simple and effective way for us to listen, respond to and resolve any reported issues. At the same time access is now being given to all academy coaches and player parents and guardians so they can get in touch if needed. 

“It makes reporting and dealing with concerns more normal, which means it’s far easier to sort them earlier.”

“Other key aspects to my role include ensuring staff and new recruits are DBS checked and compliant with their required FA Safeguarding education,” he continued. “I am also responsible for ensuring all club staff complete mandatory EFL training such as the eLearning module Playing for Inclusion which also covers Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

“Last season I arranged for current safeguarding champion and ex-England footballer Paul Stewart to come up to Brunton Park to speak to the youth team about his own experiences as a young footballer who was abused during the 1980s by his coach.

“It was a harrowing session but extremely worthwhile as it sent out important messages. The safeguarding of children in football has come a long way since those times and, as Paul explained, young players now have the support and assurance in place at clubs like Carlisle United.

“Going forward the club continues to work closely with the EFL to ensure it complies with their Safeguarding Standards and has recently employed a full-time member of staff responsible for Player Care.

“The new Lead Player Care role will be responsible for the management and delivery of the personal development and Life Skills Plan for academy players (U9 to U18), creating and delivering mental and emotional wellbeing sessions for players at each age group.

“They will also be responsible for player and parent voice within the academy and deliver player and parent inductions. Along with other academy staff they will help monitor and support trialists and players transitioning into and out of the academy.

“Safeguarding is critically important to us and we continue to strive to be better at what we do.”

Full details of what the club does in the areas of Safeguarding can be found HERE

Contact details for our Safeguarding team can be found HERE

You can read more about Play Safe and watch related films HERE.

Further information about the NSPCC’s Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week is available

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