Best Practice
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Sport Ireland

Guidance on safe recruitment procedures for those working with young people

Sport relies heavily on the time and commitment given by volunteers and paid staff. Without this the opportunities for children and young people to participate and learn new skills would not exist.

Participants should contact their own governing body or employer for specific advice on safe recruitment and vetting procedures or visit CPSU.

The Risks

The vast majority of volunteers will help out through their genuine desire to see children or their particular organisation develop. Unfortunately we must face the reality that a small minority of others will join an organisation or club as an opportunity to gain access to children and create an air of acceptability about their role and therefore justifying their close contact with children.

Easy Rules to Remember

The procedures outlined below are recommended best practice and the more of these procedures that are in place the safer the sporting organisation will be from recruiting the wrong type of person to work/volunteer with children. This reduces the risk of someone targeting a club or organisation to gain access to children. Sports clubs/organisations should ensure good recruitment procedures by:

  • Defining the role the individual is applying for (job/role specification)
  • Insisting that a person applying for any post of responsibility within the club complete the relevant sports application form
  • Obtaining two references in writing, (the request for references should only be sought for preferred applicants)
  • Ensure that the individual completes their vetting either with AccessNI or National Vetting Bureau through the relevant Sport’s Governing Body prior to commencement of working with children or vulnerable people.
  • Setting a probationary period (six months for staff or long-term volunteers)
  • Interviewing or meeting the individual either formally or informally. Have two appointed club members doing this will enable you to:
    • assess the individual’s experience of working with children or young people and knowledge of safeguarding issues
    • assess their commitment to promoting good practice
    • assess their ability to communicate with children and young people (i.e. be approachable).
  • Ensure that the club management committee ratifies appointments.
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CPSU | Safe Recruitment and Selection Procedures