The following is intended as a safeguarding update in response to the key questions The FA have received in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The following issues are addressed:
• the ratio of coaches working with children;
• face-to-face Identity (ID) Document Verification for DBS checks;
• guidance for Clubs in WGS Portal in light of changes connected with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Coaches working with children
Guidance issued on 1 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 12 June, clarifies this.
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.
Face-to-face Identity (ID) Document Verification for DBS checks
Please find the new guidance which enables face-to-face ID verification for DBS checks by appointed FA PIN Verifiers – ‘Guidance on carrying out face-to-face Identity (ID) Document Verification for DBS checks in line with Government Covid-19 guidelines’
Measures must be in place to comply with Government guidance on the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst currently there are very limited indoor venues available, over the coming weeks it is possible that the Government will review their guidance on public spaces, and this may provide additional opportunities for face-to-face ID verification to take place indoors. In the meantime, please consider the options that would work safely for your staff and volunteers in taking steps to manage face-to-face ID document verification.
Please also see a Club Welfare Officers Manual and an Applicant Manual.
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.
Please note that all guidance is subject to change and any updates will be shared across The FA and County FA platforms. For latest guidance please visit TheFA.com.