New research from Saje Impact and the Sports Think Tank highlights the state of duty of care practices within community sport settings revealing that the sector is ready to embrace new leadership and support mechanisms to make sport safe in 2018.

The research specifically looked at community sport provision as much of the profile of duty of care to date has been at the elite level of sport.

The research brings duty of care into sharp focus and reviews a broad range of UK sports organisations, including County Sport Partnerships, National Governing Bodies, Associations, Federations, and Charitable Trusts. It marks the beginning of a coordinated response to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s Duty of Care in Sport report (April, 2017), covering a wide array of issues from first aid to safeguarding, online safety and child sexual exploitation.

The results of this timely research reinforce that there are a number of challenges facing the sector:

  • Only 5% of senior managers/named board members surveyed receive full training in duty of care
  • Less than 40% of organisations surveyed collect data about duty of care issues
  • The vast majority of organisations (75%) surveyed have no financial support for duty of care training programmes
  • Almost all organisations surveyed want to see an ombudsman type body set up with key objectives and benchmarking

The report addresses the need for additional support and guidance, for example by working with existing bodies such as Sport Resolutions. To progress with the recommendations an implementation strategy or task force will need to be set up with effective leadership to ensure there are agreed standards, monitoring and independent scrutiny and reporting.

Amongst the recommendations was the establishment of an ombudsmen type body to create an agreed ‘industry standard’ and for any sporting organisation in receipt of public funding to have a guardian responsible for duty of care who is sufficiently trained and experienced to carry out their role effectively.

Director of the Sports Think Tank and former CIMSPA Chair Andy Reed OBE, said:

This research has provided a great deal of insight into the implications for community clubs of a wide range of duty of care issues. Unquestionably, duty of care is a complex area to navigate however it is clear that sport needs agreed standards, accountability and support in place as soon as possible from the government.

Our research recognised that self-regulation will not gain public support, rather the sector should be independently monitored by an ombudsman style body. The overall response to our survey has been very positive however we now need to take action to keep sport safe and this has to be consistent.

We are grateful to EduCare for helping support this research.

For a full copy of the report, visit: A full data set is also available online.

For press enquiries, please contact Lucy James at The Sports Think Tank.


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