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Safeguarding for employers

Ensuring that your employees and clients are able to enjoy their time at your centre with the peace of mind that you're doing all you can to ensure their safety is very important. In order to achieve this, there are a number of things that you can do...

  1. Have an appointed Safeguarding Officer  
  2. Follow the British Equestrian Safeguarding Policies (Children & Young People and Adults at Risk)
  3. Carry out a risk assessment to identify and manage risks at your club or centre to include safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk
  4. Utilise codes of conduct for your staff, volunteers, competitors, spectators, parents, etc. 
  5. Ensure that the Safeguarding Officer and other staff working with children, young people and adults at risk have attended safeguarding training workshops, and those working in regulated activity with children have had an appropriate Criminal Record Check.  
  6. Ensure that individuals at the club or centre know how to respond to concerns about a child. Examples could be a flowchart procedure for responding to concerns, or posters displayed outlining who the Safeguarding Officer at the club or centre is together with contact details.  
  7. Have disciplinary guidelines for disciplinary issues.   
  8. Review if any child protection concerns have been raised at your club or centre, and if so how have they been dealt with.  

CPSU Podcast "The Basics of Safeguarding"

Duty of Care

Clubs and centres have a duty of care towards children and young people. Further guidance on what that duty means, and what can be done to demonstrate that this duty is being met, is detailed in the link below.

Duty of Care

Recruiting and selecting people to work with children, young people and adults at risk 

A commitment to provide safe and enjoyable environments, sound recruitment and selection procedures is essential. The intentions of most people who work with children, young people and adults at risk are good. However, when centres or clubs recruit new staff and volunteers, all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working in equestrian sport. 

Further information on recruitment can be found in the documents below... 

Safer Recruitment

Recruitment Selection and Training

Reference Form template (word doc.)

Reference Form template (pdf)

Induction checklist

Criminal Record Checks 

British Equestrian requires those working in eligible roles with children, young people and adults at risk to pass a criminal record check. This is in line with legislation and Government guidance, and is standard practice.  In order to help you to ensure that those required to have criminal record checks while at your club or centre have them, we provide the framework and guidance for criminal record checks in equestrian sport. 

Who needs a criminal record check? 

Eligibility is governed by legislation and Government guidance. In brief, this means that a criminal record check is required for anyone aged 16 years or over who undertakes any potentially unsupervised roles that involve working directly with children and young people under the age of 18.  
These activities include...

  • managing, training, coaching and supervising
  • giving advice or guidance on wellbeing
  • caring for children
  • driving a vehicle solely for children on behalf of a club, centre or organisation

All coaches and managers working directly with under-18s must hold a current criminal record check, accepted by the centre or club they work for. Those staff or volunteers with significant access to children, or holding a Position of Trust, must first be vetted by the centre or club who is employing them to establish whether they are suitable to work with children.  

If a member of staff or volunteer is changing their role and will be taking on responsibility for children, they will need to have a criminal record check before they take up their new job role.  

Each British Equestrian Member Body has a Criminal Record Check plan that is bespoke to their discipline. If in doubt, please contact your Member Body Safeguarding Officer or the British Equestrian Safeguarding team for advice.  

Further information can be found in the Government guidance documents...

DBS Checks in Sport - Working with Children

DBS Checks in Sport - Working with Children (Welsh) 

DBS Checks in Sport - Working with Adults

DBS Checks in Sport - Working with Adults (Welsh)


Who completes a Criminal Record check? 

It is the responsibility of the club or centre to arrange a criminal record check for any employees or volunteers. They are also responsible for ensuring that the criminal record is satisfactory before the person starts working for them.  

What type of criminal record check are needed to work with children?  

In England and Wales, an Enhanced DBS Check with the children’s barred list checked is needed. You may find the DBS (England and Wales) Eligibility tool useful to find out what type of check is most relevant for you, your staff and volunteers. 

In Scotland, staff and volunteers will need to register with the PVG scheme. The British Horse Society, in conjunction with Horsescotland and Disclosure Services, provides a complete checking service for British Equestrian Member Bodies, BHS Approved Centres, affiliated riding clubs and other equine organisations.  

In Northern Ireland, staff and volunteers will need to have an Enhanced Access NI Check. Further information on AccessNI checks can be found here.

If you have recently moved to the UK, or are planning to move to the UK, you may need an overseas criminal record check. Further information on overseas criminal record checks can be found here.  

What if somebody has a criminal conviction?  

Where the criminal record check highlights any relevant information, this must be investigated further, and a risk assessment must be carried out to establish whether the person will be accepted to work with children, young people or adults at risk. The British Equestrian Safeguarding team can provide advice to centres and clubs to ensure that a consistent approach to the risk assessment is applied across equestrian sport. It is a criminal offence for employers or voluntary organisations to knowingly employ a barred person in regulated activity.  

Self-Declaration Forms

Self-declaration doesn't replace the need for a DBS disclosure check for eligible roles, but can provide additional information that a DBS check will not.

Self-declaration can be part of your club's or centre's safer recruitment process. It involves requiring an individual to provide information to be used as part of a decision on their suitability for a particular role with children.

Some organisations use a separate self-declaration form, while others embed self-declaration questions within their overall application form.

Self Declaration template (word doc.)

Self Declaration template (pdf)

Safeguarding Training and Education  

British Equestrian seeks to build a safe, enjoyable and inclusive environment for all, whether you're a rider, parent, official, volunteer, qualified coach or working with horses. We have developed safeguarding training that is equestrian-specific and child-centred. 

Safeguarding Equestrians workshop

This three-hour interactive workshop is suitable for anyone over the age of 16, including centre proprietors, club officials, coaches, and those with roles in equestrian sport. It is a requirement for those taking on the club or centre Safeguarding Officer role.  

The course outlines the roles and the responsibilities of our Member Bodies in their duty of care towards young people and adults at risk. We outline the issues involved in safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk, and highlight the signs and indicators that identify that someone is at risk of significant harm. You will also be given guidance on how to respond to concerns. 

Individuals who complete the course will receive a Safeguarding in Equestrian Sport Qualification. This qualification is valid for three years and can go towards the requirements needed to undergo a UK Coaching Certificate (UKCC) course and parts of the BHS Coaching Pathway.  

Member Bodies are able to offer virtual Safeguarding for Equestrians sessions – these are tutor-led, face-to-face courses via video link, as well as face-to-face sessions.

Alternatively, Member Bodies, clubs and centres can book a virtual Safeguarding for Equestrians session directly with the Child Protection Company by calling 01327 552030. The Child Protection Company can deliver the course to a maximum of 12 delegates per workshop at the cost of £450 + vat. 

To book onto these courses or book a workshop for your club or centre, follow the link below to your Member Body website or contact your Member Body Safeguarding Officer for further details...

ABRS+ Safeguarding Workshops

British Dressage Safeguarding Workshops

British Eventing Safeguarding Workshops

British Horse Society Safeguarding Workshops

British Showjumping Safeguarding Workshops

Riding for the Disabled Association Safeguarding Workshops

The Pony Club Safeguarding Workshops

Online Training

British Equestrian has worked with the Child Protection Company, to create a series of online safeguarding training courses.

Equestrian Basic Safeguarding Awareness  

Aimed at officials who are working or volunteering at clubs or centres with under-18s. The course explores the key safeguarding building blocks in clubs such as...

  • Effective committees
  • Safer recruitment
  • Building safe environments
  • Recognising and reporting concerns
  • Whistle-blowing

We would recommend that secretaries, chairpersons, treasurers and committee members complete this course to enable clubs with under-18 teams to have a better awareness of their responsibilities around safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk.  

Equestrian Advanced Safeguarding  

Designed specifically for coaches in the equine industry or for anyone who has already completed a British Equestrian-accredited face-to-face safeguarding course and wishes to refresh their knowledge. 

Equestrian Advanced Safeguarding for Safeguarding Officers 

Aimed at everyone who's working or volunteering as a club or centre safeguarding officer. The course explores the skills, attributes, roles and responsibilities of the safeguarding officer. It focuses on the importance of addressing concerns, as well as building the safeguarding officer’s confidence regarding how and when to seek help and advice. 
Before enrolling on this course, you must have completed the British Equestrian Safeguarding for Equestrians  Workshop and have a criminal record check that is less than three years old and has been accepted by your club or centre.  

The following clip will help you to decide which course is right for you.

Renewing Your Safeguarding Training 

We recommend that everyone working with under-18s renew their safeguarding education every three years. 

Re-certification can be done by...

  • completing the Child Protection Company Equestrian Advanced Safeguarding online refresher training  
  • re-attending a BEF Safeguarding for Equestrians workshop 
  • attending a pre-approved course. These include:
    • UK Coaching: Safeguarding and Protecting Children
    • SportScotland: Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport
    • SportScotland: In Safe Hands
    • Sport Ireland: Safeguarding and Protecting Young People in Sport
    • CPSU Time to Listen
    • NSPCC courses (depending on the level)
  • Designated Lead Officer 3-day courses offered by your Local Authority