Newsletter for Club Welfare (Safeguarding) Officers 2021
6th March 2021
We have just received a statement from the ECB which I hope all will find encouraging. ‘The ECB welcomes the Government’s decision to permit outdoor grassroots cricket to return in time for the start of the 2021 season from 29 March….We are working with Sport England and the Government on each step of the Government’s Roadmap and will issue further guidance shortly on what each step means for the game to support players, teams, clubs, coaches and umpires to prepare in time for 29 March’.
As we look forward with hope for better times in 2021, thank you for all you did in 2020 to maintain high standards of welfare and safeguarding ensuring that many, especially children and young people, were able to enjoy cricket in Norfolk despite the restrictions. The ECB continues to oversee all our safeguarding work; The Safeguarding Team have expanded in number and remit and many changes are planned or have already taken place.
There is one very important change that will affect all Club Welfare officers. The ECB has decided that there needs to be a change in name for the role you and I undertake. Consequently, I am now the County Safeguarding Officer with Kevin Denmark as the Deputy County Safeguarding Officer. Your role will become known as Club Safeguarding Officer (CSO). This is to bring our titles in line with the terminology used across all areas of cricket, in other sports and with external agencies. This is NOT an immediate change – the ECB recognise that there will be a year of transition as there will need to be amendments made to various policies and guidance documents such as Safe Hands. At club level, as well as the change to your name/role, club documentation will need to be amended. There is absolutely no hurry in doing this and Kevin and I will pass on further guidance when it is received. However, we wanted you to be aware of this planned change. The NCB has started amending documentation and the website – again, it will take some time for all the changes to be completed.
Safe Hands / Compliance
To be fully compliant you should have in place:
- Current DBS
- A completed Safe Hands Course within the last three years.
- A completed a Safeguarding Course within the last three years.
The current pandemic has forced various changes where, having planned for face-to-face Safe Hands courses last March, and having delivered the first course, lockdown forced us to cancel the remaining sessions. The ECB recognised that there were many CSOs without up-to-date Safe Hands training and throughout 2020 provided an excellent two-hour webinar to replace the face-to-face course. Their intention was that attendance would give validity for a year. As we are still in a position where we cannot deliver face to face Safe Hands courses in Norfolk, the ECB have decided that the Safe Hands webinar certificate received last year will be valid for two years (eg if you completed in June 2020 the certificate is valid until June 2022). Dave Bowker (NCB secretary) continues to contact all who need to undertake their first Safe Hands training or those who require a refresher this year, providing the links to the ECB webinars. These will continue to give two years’ validation.
In addition, the face-to-face Safeguarding courses have also been replaced by an on-line course ‘Safeguarding Young Cricketers’ which have a three-year validity – this takes about 45 minutes to compete. Those attending the Safe Hands webinar’s will also be given a link to register and complete the Safeguarding course.
Safe Hands Management System
The other big change which will affect clubs either this year or in the future is the introduction of The Safe Hands Management System (SHMS). This is a digitalised record designed to help clubs track compliance with safeguarding standards, assisting clubs in ensuring that all individuals involved in the running of the club have valid qualifications for their role. It is effectively a single central record bringing together IT systems from across the game, sharing information on DBS and Safe Hands Qualifications to start with and further qualifications to be added at a later date.
The role out of SHMS has begun in Norfolk – Club Mark clubs are being invited to be involved first with all other clubs being required to join by the end of 2022. Kevin Denmark is the NCB lead on this and he will be liaising with Clubs as they are invited ‘in’ by the ECB.
If you have tried to undertake DBS verifications and checks in recent weeks you will have discovered that, because of national lockdown restrictions, access to online ID verification is currently not given to CSOs and, in Norfolk, only Kevin and myself can initiate and verify DBS applications. If you need us to do this for members of your club please email us providing the name, DOB, email address and role within the Club of the person/people concerned. We will then initiate and arrange a WhatsApp video call to complete verification. At the moment Clubs do not have access to the ECB DBS checker so please contact Kevin or me if you need to undertake a current valid DBS check.
Finally, during lockdown, we may have not been aware of any/many new incidents of abuse or poor practice arising in cricket. But, as we begin to open our clubs, it may be that young people return having experienced the stresses associated with the consequences of coronavirus and the impacts of social isolation. Increased online activity may also have increased the risks to children. Please can I encourage you and your club to ensure communication channels are open for children, parents and others and that you actively promote information about how any concerns about a child’s wellbeing can still be reported to myself or Kevin in the first instance. As you begin the season please can you ensure that all coaches, participants and parents are aware of the club’s code of conduct regardless of the way any activities, training or coaching may be provided or accessed. Promoting safe online behaviours and communications, particularly between coaches and young people is essential. Please remember that there is excellent guidance and many resources available on the ECB website (www.ecb.co.uk/safeguarding).
Contact us / More Information
Please don’t hesitate in getting in touch with me or Kevin if you need any advice, reassurance or support. Our email addresses are
The final words must go to the ECB: ‘Cricket has a hug part to play in helping the country back on its feet and we will work in partnership with Government of achieve this’.
Liz Plater February 2021 (County Safeguarding Officer)
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