Minimum Operating Standards

Synopsis: Are you safe to work with children and vulnerable adults? Do you need to prove such a thing? What does having a Disclosure and Barring Service Check mean? In this short post I expand briefly on one imperative part of your minimum operating standard, the enhanced DBS check.

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When I first started training Shotokan Karate in the early 1990’s things were a whole lot different to how they are today. Back then it was a case of removing your shoes, putting your £1 coin on the side as you bowed, walked into the dojo and off you would go to begin getting yourself warm prior to the instructor arriving and starting the session.

Credible martial arts coaches nowadays, must abide by, confirm to and possess a whole host of certification, driven by procedures and policies put in place to safeguard those most vulnerable in their care. I wrote about them here.

Conforming to these guidelines, whether set out by a local education authorities, sport’s national governing bodies or indeed a school itself, is paramount to your integrity.

Insuring your position with this attention to detail will ensure you not only safeguard those under your care but you also safeguard yourself and set a benchmark for those seeking such professionalism from a kids programme.

Parents seeking to enrol their child into a martial arts programme trust you. Whether consciously or not they expect your minimum operating standards to also safeguard their child without hesitation. After all, the standard to which an academy holds its administrative functioning on a current and conscientious level is, oftentimes, a great indicator of other aspects – especially your capability as responsible a provider.

Let us look at Disclosure & Barring Service or DBS checks.

As a sports coach, I notice things. I also have three children that partake in a number of after-school activities. these two things combined, mean I notice things more than your average parent. In particular I take note of how sports clubs advertise their service, a classic phrase I spot is:

All Our Coaches Are CRB Checked.

On December 1st 2012, as part of the many changes brought about by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) closed and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was formed to take their place.

DBS not CRB. 

The fact that the nominated club official who is responsible for ensuring such documentation is up-to-date and in place has not corrected the ‘marketing department’ on this error doesn’t surprise me at all, believe it or not many clubs that advertise being “CRB checked” are in fact not or at least do not possess an ‘enhanced’ check that covers children and vulnerable adults.

In the vast majority of cases the ‘marketing department’ of a club, its designated ‘safeguarding officer’ and the ‘coach’ are one and the same individual, so why have they failed to update the error?

Alongside the validity and credibility of your qualifications as a coach, disclosure and barring checks should be the most important piece of supporting documentation for any programme you offer, specific to children.

Are you or the coaches you employ safe to work with children?

If they are, this check will endorses the fact.

Your classes will be aligned with the appropriate agencies and networking groups that require this conformity, your brand will have gained a perceptive legitimate status, you can now effectively communicate your product with standing and reputation and your delivery will be bolstered in the process.

Where can you apply for DBS checks?

Your first port of call should always be to your national governing body as they should be able to point you in the correct direction for such checks that they, themselves, often supply or at least some clarification on their own expectations as an umbrella body. Failing that, there are a number of bodies available that will allow you as a club or academy to register designated officials to check your kids’ classes coaches for as little as £44.00.

In future posts on the same topic, I’ll cover further points to mindful of when safeguarding your classes and those in your care, including: safeguarding policies, child welfare, academy/club accreditation, first aid provision, communication channels, and instructor training.

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