Joint Safeguarding Complaints Procedure for Baseball and Softball

Introduction

The British Baseball Federation (BBF), the British Softball Federation (BSF) and BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) are committed to promoting the welfare of all involved in baseball and softball. We aim to provide a process that will make it simple and straightforward for people to raise any concerns they may have.

This procedure explains how to deal with a complaint resulting from a safeguarding concern relating to someone under the age of 18 or a vulnerable adult by a parent, guardian or carer, or by a young person or vulnerable adult directly (an adult at risk). The broad definition of a vulnerable adult is “a person who is 18 years of age or over, and who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him/herself, or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or serious exploitation”.

This procedure is mandatory for all BBF, BSF, BSUK officials, staff and members.

Responsibility for ensuring that these procedures are followed rests ultimately with the Executive Boards of the BBF, the BSF and BSUK. Clubs and leagues are also responsible for ensuring that concerns raised in relation to their members are handled in accordance with this procedure. Failure to adhere to these procedures should be considered a disciplinary offence.

It is essential that young people and vulnerable adults are able to make a complaint. Everyone within the sports should be familiar with this procedure, and should make them as easy to use as possible. The rights of the young person or vulnerable adult involved should be protected and their safety ensured throughout the process. Just as importantly, all parents and guardians of young people involved in the sports need to be assured any concerns they raise or complaints they make regarding the welfare of a young person will be dealt with in the appropriate way. Those with caring responsibilities for vulnerable adults require similar assurance.

The Joint Safeguarding Complaints Procedure must be followed when a concern or complaint is received from any participant, official or staff member, or someone responsible for the welfare of a participant (such as a parent, guardian or carer), and:

  • the concern or complaint involves someone under the age of 18 or a vulnerable adult, and
  • the concern or complaint is deemed to be a safeguarding matter by the relevant Club Welfare Officer

Where there is any doubt about whether or not the concern or complaint is a safeguarding issue, or where no suitably trained or qualified Club Welfare Officer is available to determine an appropriate course of action, advice must be sought from the BSUK .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or another appropriate source. If a concern/complaint is considered to relate to abuse or neglect, it should be referred at the earliest opportunity to a Statutory Agency or to the BSUK .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), who will refer the matter to a Statutory Agency if appropriate.

 

Joint Safeguarding Complaints Procedure

Note: The use of the term “Club Safeguarding Officer” in this document is used generically to identify the official responsible at a local level within a club, league, team or other structure who has responsibility for safeguarding issues. Where a complaint or concern is raised in a different context (eg a national team or academy event), the staff member or official nominated with responsibility for safeguarding issues should take the role set out below for Club Safeguarding Officer. Where no Club Safeguarding Officer or equivalent is available for any reason, the .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) should take the role set out below for Club Safeguarding Officer.

 

Level 1

  • Resolve locally in an informal manner
  • Time-scale – IMMEDIATE

As an adult member of the BBF, the BSF or BSUK, when a child, parent, guardian, vulnerable adult or carer makes a complaint or draws your attention to a concern, you must first decide whether it is appropriate for you to resolve it. For example, if it is minor and you are in a suitable position to address the concern then you should do so. However, you should consult your Club Safeguarding Officer before following through with any such action.

As is the case with any complaint, confidentiality must be maintained; only those who need to know should know i.e. the young person's parents, the Club Safeguarding Officer, the coach. This close circle of people may be extended if the situation calls for it. For example, the Team Manager may need to be informed if the complaint has originated from a team training session.

If you are unable to address the concern immediately yourself to the satisfaction of the complainant, you must refer it to your Club Safeguarding Officer to be handled at Level 2.

 

Level 2

  • Resolved by Club Welfare Officer
  • Time-scale – 7 DAYS

The Club Safeguarding Officer will follow on from Level 1 in much the same way, but on a more official level. Their primary concern is to satisfy the child, parent, guardian, vulnerable adult or carer that their complaint has been resolved.

The complaint could be referred to them from Level 1 or the complainant may have come to them directly. The Club Safeguarding Officer will then consider whether they are able to address the concern themselves. It is anticipated that they will be able to resolve minor issues through the club's own complaints procedures. 

The BSUK Safeguarding Officer may be consulted before action is taken. Regardless of whether support from the BSUK Safeguarding Officer is sought or not the original complaint, action taken and the outcome must be reported to them afterwards.The Club Safeguarding Officer should only deal with general welfare matters - matters relating to abuse or neglect must immediately be referred to the appropriate statutory authority and the BSUK Safeguarding Officer.

The Club Safeguarding Officer must complete the following duties when dealing with a complaint:

  1. Record the complaint made
  2. Record the action taken to resolve the complaint
  3. Maintain confidentiality whilst dealing with the complaint, including secure storage of related documentation.

If the Club Safeguarding Officer is unable to address the concern within seven days to the satisfaction of the complainant, they must refer it to the BSUK Safeguarding Officer to be handled at Level 3.

 

Level 3

  • BSUK Safeguarding Officer
  • Time-scale – 3 DAYS

The BSUK Safeguarding Officer has the right to be involved in any safeguarding matter that they or any of the BBF, the BSF or BSUK deems requires their involvement.

This involvement would primarily come from:

  • A complainant remaining unsatisfied that the matter has been resolved adequately at Level 1 or Level 2.
  • The matter being referred to the BSUK Safeguarding Officer by the Club Safeguarding Officer at Level 1 or Level 2.
  • At any stage of the complaints procedure a participant, young person, parent, guardian, vulnerable adult or carer may contact the BSUK Safeguarding Officer directly.

The BSUK Safeguarding Officer will liaise with the Club Safeguarding Officer to ensure the complaint is being dealt with correctly. The Club Safeguarding Officer will be held accountable for the club following the guidance of the BSUK Safeguarding Officer. It is the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer's decision alone as to how much they involve themselves in the issue.

Throughout the BSUK Safeguarding Officer's involvement they will continue to reassess the situation and may decide to:

  • Refer the complaint to a statutory agency.
  • Request that the BSUK Safeguarding Officer or an independent investigator complete a fact-finding assessment surrounding the complaint.
  • Make a formal complaint in accordance with the relevant BBF/BSF/BSUK rules.
  • Make formal recommendations to the BBF, the BSF or BSUK in respect of required changes to policy and practice, appropriate disciplinary investigation, or any other matter.
  • Take further action as necessary to ensure that the welfare of the young person or vulnerable adult concerned remains paramount.

All clubs must be aware that if guidance from the BSUK Safeguarding Officer is not taken into account when dealing with the matter, this could result in disciplinary action on the basis that the club has failed to follow the Joint Safeguarding Policy.

The BSUK Safeguarding Officer should decide upon their level of involvement in the matter and inform all of the parties involved of their position within three days. The BSUK Safeguarding Officer will aim to have resolved the matter or decided on any further action needed within three months of the original referral. Where this is not possible, i.e. after the involvement of a statutory agency, the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer will keep the child or vulnerable adult and their parent, guardian or carer informed of the progress of their complaint.

 

Appeal

The BSUK Safeguarding Officer's decision on whether this is to close the complaint's file and/or recommend an alternative action is final.

Where the recommendations of the BSUK Safeguarding Officer result in disciplinary action, the relevant disciplinary rules will be followed, including those relating to appeal against any resulting sanction.

 

Contact

The BSUK Safeguarding Officer can be contacted at BSUK on 020 7453 7055 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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