Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

With regard to child protection, the English Short Mat Bowling Association (ESMBA) is included under the umbrella of the BDA Panel for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults. We adhere to the principals and procedures adopted by the BDA's Governing Bodies Joint Panel for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.

As such, we recognise and acknowledge our joint and several responsibilities to establish policies which promote and encourage affiliated counties and clubs to adopt the highest possible standards of care towards children and other vulnerable people participating in the Game of Bowls.

We believe that everyone has a duty of care towards the children and other vulnerable people, with whom they have contact, and to safeguard and protect them from abuse. This is both a moral and legal obligation. Everybody, whether administrator, official, coach, or bowler, involved in working with children, young people and the vulnerable adults has a responsibility to be informed about, and be able to recognise the different forms of abuse. They also need to know what precautions or steps should be taken for its prevention and what action to take if an incident occurs.

In doing so it offers help and advice to Affiliated Clubs and County Associations, who are introducing procedures for child protection in their own locality; it will also seek feedback on their experiences.

Those ESMBA and County Officials having any supervision duties of Junior Bowlers, running of Competitions for Under 18s and Junior County Teams where the majority of the players are under 18 must go through the DBS Disclosure procedure. Details of the Disclosure scheme can be obtained from the ESMBA CPO.
Any Allegations in respect of Child Protection should be referred to the County Safeguarding Officer or the County Secretary who will refer to the National Safeguarding Officer. Comprehensive guidance and advice in respect of the protection of children and vulnerable adults can be found on our Information pack under the Administration section of our website.  This includes a useful simple guide for those new to the process at both county and club level.

Barry Hedges
Telephone     07788 414311


A Guide for Affiliated Counties and Clubs
September 2011


The ESMBA does not make the law but is responsible for implementing it.

In order to safeguard Affiliated Counties and Clubs, the following guidance has been prepared to advise Counties and Clubs of the ESMBA's agreed policy on Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults.

This guidance notes provides some simple guidance in the following areas:

What is a DBS check?
Why is a DBS check necessary?
DBS checks explained

Who should have a DBS check?
Statement on use of other DBS clearance providers
Update on Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006
How long is a DBS check valid?
Club Child Protection Officer
DBS Checklist
What is a Child?
What is a Vulnerable Adult?


What is a DBS check?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is an Executive Agency of the Home Office that provides access to criminal record information and to the lists of those people barred from working with children and vulnerable adults through its Disclosure service. This service enables organisations to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, paid and unpaid, that involves children or vulnerable adults.

This service is NOT available for people who are not in particular roles with children or Vulnerable Adults and it is not legal to seek Disclosures for those not ‘eligible’ for such checks.

Why is a DBS check necessary?

The DBS was established under Part V of the Police Act 1997 and was launched in March 2002.

It is the only safe, reliable and legal way to access information held by the Police and other agencies which may indicate that a person may be a risk to children or Vulnerable Adults.

DBS checks explained

Each DBS check and the subsequent decision made on it is an individual piece of work.

This means that although a person may have been deemed ‘fit’ to carry out the duties in one particular role (i.e. at work) following a DBS check, it DOES NOT mean they are automatically suitable to work within your club.

It’s important to also recognise that any DBS:

Is only as good as the day it is issued. Somebody may come to your Club with a clear Disclosure from another organisation but may have obtained this prior to a recent serious or relevant offence.

May not have been quality assured. For example if the date of birth or post code is incorrect the check will not be accurate.

May have had ‘additional information’ released to the employer who requested the check and which is not visible on the applicant’s copy.

This information is private and only for the employer that requested the DBS. The applicant will not know about it. In a worse case scenario such information may indicate the person is currently being monitored and considered as a risk but the check shown to you by the new member may be clear of any criminal history.

If a Club or Association relies on a previously issued Disclosure it should carefully assess the degree of risk in not obtaining up to date information on the applicant. The DBS does not recommend this process and does not endorse it.
For more information please see www.crb.gov.uk and select Portability from ‘Quick Links’

Example One:
A new member joins your club from another area of the country and says they have a current DBS certificate issued through a previous employer. They volunteer to become a driver for your junior section. The ESMBA carries out a new check and finds they have several convictions for drink-driving over many years making them unsuitable for driving Bowls Junior sections.
This does not mean the previous employer made a wrong decision; it simply means that The ESMBA finds that this particular person is not ‘fit’ for this particular role. Under our
‘Duty of Care’ we have to ensure that the person is ‘fit for purpose’.

Example Two:
A new member joins your club and shows you their Disclosure from August 2008. It is clear of any information and you encourage them to work with the Junior Section. Later you hear a rumour that they were convicted for downloading indecent images of children in October 2008.
A new DBS would have shown The ESMBA this information and they could have prevented them from helping with children. On this occasion you may find the person has been active in your club for many months before the risk is known.

Example Three:
The new person shows you a clear Disclosure. You do not know whether or not there was ‘Additional Information’ released with that Disclosure. This person may for example be mixing with known offenders or having their computer monitored. This will not show on their copy of the Disclosure and again you may be unknowingly accepting a high risk person in to the Club.
Obtaining a fresh Bowls Disclosure gives the club renewed assurance that all issues have been examined. The ESMBA uses the services of BCGBA as its umbrella body for DBS checks. By using this service The ESMBA offers clubs a dedicated and confidential method of compliance.
The ESMBA RECOMMENDS that all DBS checks are conducted using the services of BCGBA, which means clubs can be sure that the correct checks have been taken and that all relevant information regarding the applicant for the position applied for is received.

By using this process, The ESMBA and its Counties and clubs can act appropriately should any information be received regarding the applicant.
It is NOT however necessary to have a new check on a ESMBA Member who has already had a ESMBA DBS check in another Club or area. The ESMBA can tell you whether or not that person has had an acceptable check.

All Clubs and Counties approached by people who tell you they already have a ESMBA check can ensure the process has been completed by contacting The ESMBA National Child Protection Officer. Contact details are shown in Section 5 of this Guidance.

DBS Disclosure Application forms are available from Barry Hedges at the ESMBA on 07788414311 or e-mail: barry@esmba.co.uk

BCGBA currently charge the ‘Family of Bowls’ £10.00 for each DBS check.

Who should have a DBS check?
The ESMBA has agreed that it is MANDATORY that people in the following categories who regularly teach, train, supervise and/or are in sole charge of a child and/or vulnerable adult should have a DBS check. Regular contact is defined as ‘Frequently’ (once a month or more); ‘Intensively’ (2 or more days in every 30 day period) and/or ‘Overnight’ (any activity between 12am and 6am).

• ESMBA Officials (including Team Managers/Selectors and Competition Organisers )
• Club Child Protection Officer
• County Child Protection Officer
• National Child Protection Officer
• Any other person who has or is likely to have regular and relevant contact with children and/or vulnerable adults. Examples include Junior Coach/Junior Team Manager/ regular driver for the Junior Team.


Statement on use of other DBS clearance providers
The ESMBA is aware that some clubs may be offered free DBS Disclosure services provided by local organisations.

Clubs should be aware that if they do this they are fully responsible for Code of Practice requirements, proper identity checking, the receipt, secure use and disposal of the Disclosure and for the management of any information released to them.
In addition they may not share the Disclosure content with anyone else in bowls.

If the Disclosure reveals adverse information indicating that the applicant poses a risk to the vulnerable, it is the sole and personal responsibility of the members of the Club Committee to decide how that risk is managed.

The ESMBA is prohibited from any use of the information disclosed and thus will be unable to assist them.

We are confident that using the ESMBA DBS route protects you, and your club, from this and enables The ESMBA to manage a nationwide system to protect children and vulnerable adults through consistent decision making, record keeping and information sharing across the sport, plus enforcement of supervision and suspensions when necessary.


Update on Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006
The SVGA is a new Act, with phased implementation from July 2010, to prevent unsuitable people from working or volunteering with children or vulnerable adults.

It includes the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) and DBS.

Although final details are still being finalised, The ESMBA understands The Act will have little impact on Members who use The ESMBA’s recommended route to process DBS Disclosures as ISA registration can be included as part of the DBS process through BCGBA.

The ESMBA is currently awaiting sector specific guidance from the Government and will work with the Child Protection in Sport Unit to ensure appropriate understanding and roll out of the scheme.

How long is a DBS check valid?
The ESMBA has agreed that DBS checks conducted for the sport of bowls through BCGBA are valid for a period of three years from date of issue.

The ESMBA reserve the right to seek a check at any point if it has reason to believe there has been a cause for concern or further offending by any individual.


Club Child Protection Officer
The ESMBA RECOMMENDS all clubs should have a CLUB CHILD PROTECTION OFFICER, whose duties should include:
• To be responsible for Young People and Vulnerable Adults
• To act as a point of referral for concerns for Club Members

Each club only requires ONE Club Child Protection Officer. Small clubs with less than 20 members may choose to share this role with another local club.

The Club Child Protection Officer DOES NOT need to be present at the club at all times that children and/or vulnerable adults are present.
The Club Child Protection Officer DOES need to receive Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) clearance through The ESMBA.

The ESMBA has agreed that it is MANDATORY that all clubs, regardless of size, providing any of the following, or similar, activities must have a CLUB CHILD PROTECTION OFFICER.
• Youth programmes
•  School links
•  Activities for vulnerable adults
•  Junior tournaments
•  Any other frequent/intensive activities for children and/or vulnerable adults

It is MANDATORY that all coaches/helpers, regardless of level, who have regular contact (see 1.4) with Children and Vulnerable Adults at ESMBA Affiliated Clubs MUST have a CURRENT DBS CLEARANCE OBTAINED THROUGH The ESMBA.
DBS Checklist
The following checklist is designed to advise Clubs and Counties which individuals require DBS clearance through The ESMBA.


The ESMBA Officials (including Team Managers/ Selectors/Competition Organisers) Recommended (Mandatory for those who have regular contact with children and vulnerable adults as outlined in 1.4)

Club Child Protection Officer Recommended (Mandatory in all clubs providing activities for children and vulnerable adults outlined in 2.1)

County Child Protection Officer  Mandatory

National Child Protection Officer Mandatory

Any other person who has or is likely to have regular and relevant contact with children and/or vulnerable adults. Examples include Junior Coach/Junior Team Manager/regular driver for the Junior Team Mandatory

Coaches/helpers, regardless of level, who have regular contact (see 1.4) with Children and Vulnerable Adults at ESMBA Affiliated Clubs Mandatory

What is a Child?
The Children’s Act 1989 defines a child as any male or female person aged under 18 years of age.

What is a Vulnerable Adult?
There are various definitions of Vulnerable Adult but for the purposes of DBS at present it is currently defined as:
A vulnerable adult for the purposes of an Enhanced Check is a person aged 18 or over who receives services of a type listed in paragraph 1) below and in consequence of a condition of a type listed in paragraph 2) below, has a disability of a type listed at 3) below.

The services are:
a) accommodation and nursing or personal care in a care home,
b) personal care or support to live independently in his or her own home,
c) any services provided by an independent hospital, independent clinic, independent medical agency or National Health Service body,
d) social care services; or
e) any services provided in an establishment catering for a person with learning difficulties.

The conditions are:
a) a learning or physical disability,
b) a physical or mental illness, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs; or
c) a reduction in physical or mental capacity.

The disabilities are:
a) a dependency upon others in the performance of, or a requirement for assistance in the performance of, basic physical functions,
b) severe impairment in the ability to communicate with others, or
c) impairment in a person’s ability to protect him or herself from assault, abuse or neglect.
From October 2009 the eligibility criteria will expand to include more positions. This will mean that many more people posing a risk to the vulnerable will be checked and prevented from working with vulnerable groups.
The ESMBA will advise you nearer the time of these changes.
As it can be difficult to decide who is and who is not a Vulnerable Adult, The ESMBA recommends you contact BCGBA directly before seeking a check.

Please contact BCGBA directly at
The ESMBA gives ‘Notice of Intent’ to change its Regulations with regard to Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults as follows:

Regulation 3 – Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy
3.5 (h) All categories of Membership shall have in place an appropriate policy for the safeguarding children and vulnerable adults while on their premises. A statement of the policy shall be prominently displayed at their premises.

Regulation 7 - Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults
7.3 It is a legal requirement on The ESMBA that all Members providing activities for children and vulnerable adults shall have in place a policy for safeguarding them.
They shall appoint a Safeguarding Officer to administer their policy who will be required to be cleared through The ESMBA by the Disclosure and Barring Service(DBS) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
Copies of the Statement will be circulated to all Affiliated Clubs.


Barry Hedges
ESMBA Chairman
T: 07788 414311

W: www.esmba.co.uk

ESMBA Safeguarding Officer contact
Barry Hedges as above
NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU)
T: 0116 234 7278
W: www.nspcc.org.uk

W: thecpsu.org.uk
The ESMBA wishes to acknowledge the support of BCGBA and the CPSU in the production of this guidance.

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