1. Northampton Town Football Club is extremely passionate and committed to its responsibility for safeguarding the welfare of every young person and vulnerable adults who has been entrusted to its care and is committed to working to provide a safe environment for everyone that interacts with the Football Club. A child or young person is anyone under the age of 18 engaged in any club football activity. A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 or over who may need community care services because of a disability (mental or other), age, or illness, or may be at significant risk due to circumstances that put them in danger. We subscribe to The Football Association's (The FA) Safeguarding Children - Policy and Procedures and endorse and adopt the Policy Statement contained in that document.
2. The key principles of The FA Safeguarding Children Policy are that:
• the child's welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration
• all children and young people have a right to be protected from abuse regardless of their age, gender, disability, race, sexual orientation, faith or belief
• all suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
• working in partnership with other organisations, children and young people and their parents/carers is essential.
We acknowledge, and do all we can so, that every child or young person who plays or participates in football should be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from poor practice and abuse. Northampton Town Football Club recognises that this is the responsibility of every adult involved in our club.
3. Northampton Town Football Club has a significant role to play in safeguarding the welfare of all children, young people and vulnerable adults by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying. It is noted and accepted that The Football Association's Safeguarding Children Regulation (see The FA Handbook) applies to everyone in football whether in a paid or voluntary capacity. This includes those who are volunteers, match officials, helpers on club tours, football coaches, club officials or medical staff.
4. We endorse and adopt The FA's Responsible Recruitment guidelines for recruiting volunteers. Whenever we recruit a member of staff, we will follow our NTFC Safer Recruitment Policy. This will mean that we will:
• Specify what the role is and what tasks it involves
• Request identification documents
• As a minimum meet and chat with the applicant(s) and where possible interview people before appointing them – any interviews will include at least one member of NTFC staff that has completed Safer Recruitment training
• Ask for and follow up with 2 references before appointing someone
• Require an FA DBS Enhanced Disclosure where appropriate in line with FA guidelines and an EFL Self-Declaration.
All current Northampton Town Football Club members who are regularly caring for, supervising, training or being in sole charge of children, young people and/or vulnerable adults will be required to complete a DBS Enhanced Disclosure using the First Advantage Know Your People system, and this must be done every 3 years. All staff and volunteers of the Football Club will also complete an EFL Self-Declaration Form every season. If any circumstances change, they will be required to do a new Enhanced DBS check.
If there are concerns regarding the appropriateness of an individual who is already involved or who has approached us to become part of Northampton Town Football Club guidance will be sought from The Football Association. It is noted and accepted that The FA will consider the relevance and significance of the information obtained via The FA DBS Enhanced Disclosure and that all decisions will be made in the best interests of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
It is accepted that The FA aims to prevent people with a history of relevant and significant offending from having contact with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults. This is to prevent direct sexual or physical harm to children and vulnerable adults and to minimise the risk of 'grooming' within football. Northampton Town FC are extremely committed and vigilant of this and will take all necessary steps to avoid any situations like this occurring within any activity run by the Football Club.
5. Northampton Town supports The FA's Whistleblowing Policy. Any adult or young person with concerns about a colleague can 'whistle blow' by contacting The FA Safeguarding Team on 0207 745 4787, by writing to The FA Case Manager at The Football Association, 25 Soho Square, W1D 4FA or alternatively by going direct to the Police, Children's Services or the NSPCC. Northampton Town Football Club encourages everyone to know about it and utilise it if necessary. The Football Club also has it’s own Whistleblowing policy, which is shared openly. The importance of reporting concerns is further encouraged in the TALK Policy, which has been created and adopted by our Academy, which encourages anyone to speak out if they have any concerns.
6. Northampton Town Football Club have several Club Welfare Officers/DSO’s in line with The FA's role profile and required completion of the Safeguarding Children and Welfare Officers Workshop. The Lead DSO is the Lead Welfare Officer for the Club, but other staff have completed the training as well. The Lead DSO should be the first point of contact for all club members regarding concerns about the welfare of any child/young person or vulnerable adult. The Lead DSO will liaise directly with the EFL Regional Officer and County FA (CFA) Welfare Officer/Safeguarding team and will be familiar with the procedures for referring any concerns. They will also play a proactive role in increasing awareness of Respect, poor practice and abuse amongst club members.
7. We acknowledge and fully endorse The FA's identification of bullying as a category of abuse. Bullying of any kind is not acceptable at our club. If bullying does occur, all players or parents/carers should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly. Incidents need to be reported to the Lead DSO. In cases of serious bullying the CFA Welfare Officer/Safeguarding team and/or the EFL Regional Officer may be contacted.
8. Respect codes of conduct for Players, Parents/ Spectators, Officials and Coaches have been implemented by Northampton Town Football Club. The Academy operate the SLR Code of Conduct, and this is fully embedded in everything that they do. In order to validate these Respect codes of conduct, the club has clear actions it will take regarding repeated or serious misconduct at club level and acknowledges the possibility of potential sanctions which may be implemented by the County FA and/or the EFL and/or the FA in more serious circumstances.
9. Reporting your concerns about the welfare of a child or young person is very important to us at Northampton Town FC. Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility, so if you are worried about a child or vulnerable adult, it is important that you report your concerns - no action is not an option.
i. If you are worried about a child then you need to report your concerns to the Lead DSO.
ii. If the issue is one of poor practice the Lead DSO will either:
• deal with the matter themselves or
• seek advice from the EFL Regional Officer and/or the CFA Welfare Officer/Safeguarding team
iii. If the concern is more serious - possible child abuse, where possible, contact the EFL Regional Officer and the CFA Welfare Officer first, then immediately contact the Police or Children's Services
iv. If the child needs immediate medical treatment take them to a hospital or call an ambulance and tell them this is a child protection concern. Let the Lead DSO know what action you have taken, they in turn will inform the EFL Regional Officer and the CFA Welfare Officer/Safeguarding team.
v. If at any time you are not able to contact the Lead DSO, the concern is in relation to the Lead DSO, or the matter is clearly serious then you can either:
• contact the clubs’ Senior Safeguarding Manager
• contact the CFA Welfare Officer/Safeguarding Team directly
• contact the EFL Regional Officer directly
• contact the Police or Children's Services
• call The FA/NSPCC 24 hour Helpline for advice on 0808 800 5000 or Deaf users text phone 0800 056 0566
NB - The FA's Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures are available via https://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/safeguarding/policy-downloads The policy outlines in detail what to do if you are concerned about the welfare of a child and includes flow diagrams which describe this process. How to make a referral is also covered in the Safeguarding Children workshop. Participants are given the opportunity to discuss how this feels and how best they can prepare themselves to deal with such a situation. For more information on this workshop contact the Northamptonshire FA, or visit https://learn.englandfootball.com/courses/safeguarding/safeguarding-children-course
10. Further advice on Safeguarding Children matters can be obtained from:
The FA Safeguarding Children general enquiry line 0845 210 8080
The EFL Safeguarding information, available from https://www.efl.com/governance/safeguarding/
In the first instance of a safeguarding and welfare issue or concern please contact Pete Stephenson for Club and Academy related matters, and Phillip Smith for Community Trust matters.
Club Secretary/Match Day DSO
Julie Delauney, Senior Safeguarding Manager/Matchday DSO
Pete Stephenson, Club/Academy Lead Designated Safeguarding Officer/Matchday DSO
Lucan Burge Player Care Lead/Matchday DSO
Phill Smith, Senior Safeguarding Manager
KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE AT NORTHAMPTON TOWN
Julie Delauney (Senior Safeguarding Manager)
As a proud community club, it is vitally important that everyone that comes to watch football at Northampton Town can do so in a safe and inclusive environment.
We continue to work with the EFL to do all we can to meet the regulations and requirements that they have put in place throughout the EFL to try to make football a safer place for everyone.
As stated on the EFL website ‘With so many people involved in and influenced by professional football, it is essential that the EFL and its member clubs acknowledge the role that they play in creating a safer environment for everybody involved in the game, especially for the more vulnerable, including children and young people. The EFL is working closely with other football governing bodies to help contribute to this safer environment.’
We are already confident that Sixfields is a safe place to come and watch football, but we will keep working to make sure we continue to improve the spectator experience. A lot of this work goes on in the background but this season, you should start to see some more signs of the work that is in place to keep you safe, and more information about what to do if you have any concerns during your time at the ground.
Things to look out for this season include:
- Safeguarding information around the ground – key contacts in several places around the ground and included in all programmes this season
- A direct form that can be accessed using a link, where you can report any safeguarding issues anonymously.
- Dedicated ‘Safe Cobblers’ game during the 23/24 season.
As we saw during last season, attendances have risen, and the supporters really can be the 12th player, helping the team push on. We want to do all we can for that to be able to continue and for the supporters to keep playing their part.
Therefore, it is really important to us that we ensure that as many people that come to watch the Cobblers can enjoy their experience of Sixfields Stadium and feel safe coming here, so that they want to keep coming back to Sixfields to back the players!