Safeguarding Threshold

The process of reporting a safeguarding concern

Safeguarding thresholds underpin how safeguarding concerns are managed between the Clubs, Leagues, East Riding FA, FA Case Management Team and Statutory Services.

Safeguarding matters and incidents are categorised into four tiers.

Tier One: Poor Practice - These should be managed by Club Officials.

Tier Two: Poor Practice - These are managed by the East Riding FA Designated Safeguarding Officer and Club Officials.

Tier Three: Serious Cases - These are managed by the East Riding FA Designated Safeguarding Officer and the FA Case Management Team.

Tier Four: Serious Cases - These are managed by the East Riding FA Designated Safeguarding Officer, FA Case Management Team and Statutory Services (Police, Local Authority Designated Officer and Children's Services).

What is Poor Practice?

Poor Practice is behaviour which falls below the standard required by a club as set out in the Code of Conduct. Whilst the behaviour may not be immediately dangerous or intentionally harmful it does set a poor example and if it were to continue, it might lead to harm or put a child in danger.

To allow poor practice to continue unchallenged may result in an environment developing in which abuse may be able to take place. It normalises behaviour which is unacceptable and should not be condoned. It may also lead to other people having suspicions about an individual’s motivations, even if there was no intention to harm.

If it is decided that the matter is one of poor practice and is to be dealt with by the club then it will need to be referred to the club disciplinary committee (which could simply be the club chairman, secretary and designated safeguarding officer depending on the club constitution) to be dealt with as quickly as possible. It is important that club disciplinary rules refer to poor practice to enable such issues to be dealt with through that process.

What are examples of Poor Practice that sit in ‘Tier 1 – Club Managed Matters and Tier 2 Poor Practice – County FA + Club Managed Matters?

• Failure to provide effective supervision for coaching sessions which should be properly planned;

• Putting performance over the wellbeing and safety of players;

• Having a win at all costs mentality and failing to be gracious in defeat;

• Lack of respect for other individuals, such as match officials, opposition coaches, players, managers and spectators and failing to accept a match official’s decision (this may be dealt with by way of on field disciplinary proceedings but may fall short of being dealt with in this way);

• Having favourites and not treating all children fairly and equitably;

• Allowing rough and dangerous play, bullying, the use of bad language or inappropriate behaviour by players;

• Overtraining and exerting undue influence over players;

• Using punishments that humiliate or harm children

• Not taking time to explain coaching techniques and ensuring they are understood by all players;

• Condoning rule violations by players and not adhering to the laws and spirit of the game;

• Not holding required FA coaching qualifications for the role being carried out;

• Providing one to one coaching without any supervision or the presence of other adults;

• Inappropriate use of social media;

• Allowing children to discriminate on the grounds of religion, race, gender, social class or lack of ability;

• Failure to encourage children to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour;

• Engaging in, or tolerating, offensive, insulting or abusive language or behaviour;

• Failure to challenge poor practice in others;

• Allowing allegations of abuse to go unchallenged or unrecorded and failing to report these to the DSO;

• Failure to record incidents or accidents;

• First aid being administered without others being present other than in an emergency;

• Not referring more serious medical incidents to the club first aider;

• Not having access to a telephone to be able to immediately contact emergency services if necessary;

• Not working as part of a team to ensure the safety of children in their care;

• Failing to address the additional needs of disabled players or other vulnerable groups;

• Allowing confidential information to be shared inappropriately;

• Failure to respect and listen to the opinions of children and consider the rights and responsibilities of children;

• Failure to display and promote consistently high standards of behaviour and appearance;

• Smoking and consuming alcohol during coaching sessions;

• Spending excessive time alone with children;

• Taking children to their own home;

• Not adhering to guidance when transporting children including travel abroad.

The above list is not an exhaustive one but it should give an idea of the type of behaviour which constitutes poor practice.

What does the County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer do once they receive a referral?

It may not always be clear at the outset whether the concern is one of poor practice or abuse; it may only become apparent once further information has been collected and an assessment can properly be made.

It is very important when making a referral to include as much information as possible including;

Who - was involved the incident?

What - happened in the incident when you saw or when the incident has been reported to you?

Where - did the incident take place?

When - did the incident happen?

In order to consider the severity of the case, the CFA DSO will need to gather information about the concern, the individuals involved and any other relevant information.

The CFA DSO may need to talk to others involved in the matter and ask for some statements before being able to assess the situation.

What do I refer to the County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer?

  • Repeat offenders
  • Any matters where a child could be at risk of harm
  • Any matters where there could be a breach of FA Disciplinary Regulations
  • Any matters that you have tried to address but continue to happen in the club

How do I refer a matter to the County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer?

Poor Practice: The easiest way to refer a poor practice Safeguarding Concern is by emailing

As mentioned in previous points this must include as much information as possible including;

Who - was involved the incident?

What - happened in the incident when you saw or when the incident has been reported to you?

Where - did the incident take place?

When - did the incident happen?

If you have a safeguarding concern (child or vulnerable adult) please contact your local authority child or adult services - if the concern is urgent contact the police.

You can also receive advice from the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 for issues relating to children.

If you refer a concern to any of the above agencies, please also copy in and and we will follow up with you.

What happens if the CFA categorises the incident as a Tier 3 or 4?

The CFA DSO will need to make the referral to FA Case Management Team.

The FA Case Management Team is a specialist unit within The FA who investigate referrals and liaise with CFA's, Local Authority Designated Officer's and Police on a case by case basis.

The referral requires completion with as much information as possible about both the alleged perpetrator being referred as well as the child or adult who has suffered the alleged abuse. This will mean the CFA DSO will have to carry out some information gathering before making the referral.