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Adults Safeguarding Policy

Three Spires Bowling and Sports Club

Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy

 Three Spires Bowling and Sports Club affiliates to the Bowls England and the Club recognises the policies of their Governing Body, as set in out in the “Safeguarding Bowls Guidelines”.

Policy Aims

  • The purpose of this policy is to outline the duty and responsibility of staff/volunteers working on behalf of the Three Spires Bowling and Sports Club in relation to Safeguarding Adults at risk.
  • All adults have the right to be safe from harm and must be able to live free from fear of abuse, neglect and exploitation.


  • Everyone who participates in bowls is entitled to do so in a safe and enjoyable environment.
  • The Club is committed to helping everyone in bowls accept their responsibility to safeguard adults at risk, from harm and abuse.
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
  • Staff and volunteers working with adults at risk in bowls have a responsibility to report concerns to their Club Safeguarding Officer.

Definition of an Adult at Risk

  • Adult at Risk is a person aged 18 or over who is in need of care and support regardless of whether they are receiving them, and because of those needs are unable to protect themselves against abuse or neglect.  In recent years, there has been a marked shift away from using the term ‘vulnerable’ to describe adults potentially at risk from harm or abuse. 
  • Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons. See section 5 for further explanations.
  • Adult is anyone aged 18 or over.
  • Adult safeguarding is protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
  • Capacity refers to the ability to make a decision at a particular time, for example when under considerable stress. The starting assumption must always be that a person has the capacity to make a decision unless it can be established that they lack capacity (MCA 2005)..

Types of Abuse taken from the Care Act 2014

  • Self-neglect – this covers a wide range of behaviour: neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding. In bowls this could be a player whose appearance becomes unkempt, does not wear suitable sports kit and deterioration in hygiene.
  • Modern Slavery – encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.  Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. In bowls you may notice that a participant in a team has been missing from practice sessions and is not responding to reminders from team members or coaches.
  • Domestic Abuse – including psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse. It also includes so called 'honour' based violence. Sport may notice a power imbalance between a participant and a family member. For example, a participant with Downs syndrome may be looking quiet and withdrawn when their brother comes to collect them from sessions, in contrast to their personal assistant whom they greet with a smile.
  • Discriminatory – discrimination is abuse which centres on a difference or perceived difference particularly with respect to race, gender or disability or any of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act. This could be the harassing of a club member because they are or are perceived to be transgender 
  • Organisational Abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation. In Bowls, this could be training without a necessary break.
  • Physical Abuse – includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions. This could be a coach intentionally striking an athlete.
  • Sexual Abuse – including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting. This could be a fellow athlete who sends unwanted sexually explicit text messages to an adult with learning disabilities they are training alongside.
  • Financial or Material Abuse – including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits. This could be someone taking equipment from an athlete with dementia.
  • Neglect – including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.   This could be a coach not ensuring athletes have access to water.
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse – this includes threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks. This could be an athlete threatening another athlete with physical harm and persistently blaming them for poor performance. 



Coaches have a very important part to play in protecting children and adults at risk from potential harm and are often the first to recognise and raise concerns.

It is very important that all coaches read the “Safeguarding Bowls” Policy & Guidelines document and are aware of the process to follow, to deal with any concerns. They should also ensure that any coaches employed or deployed by them also have knowledge of and abide by these guidelines.

All coaches are advised to attend a Basic Safeguarding Course

Good Coaching practice

Joint guidance was produced by sports coach UK and the Child Protection in Sport Unit in 2010 outlining best practice guidelines for coaches coaching young people’s activities.

It stressed the need for clear ratios for appropriate staffing/supervision ratios of coaches to participants (generally 1:8). This will minimise any risks to participants and enhance the benefits they draw from the activity

Coaches should never be left alone with an individual or group and it is recommended that at least one adult present is the same gender as the bowler or group of bowlers.

The Coach should hold an appropriate qualification, comply with minimum age requirements, have relevant insurance cover, have completed a criminal records disclosure that is acceptable to the NGB (if they are coaching on a regular basis) and have signed up to the following policies:

  • Code of conduct for coaches
  • Equality Policy
  • Safeguarding policy
  • Health and Safety Policy

Safe recruitment

Ensuring that staff and volunteers recruited are safe to work with children and adults at risk includes several areas as outlined in the” Safe Recruitment Guidelines”, i.e. application process, interview, criminal records checks, references, induction process.

Criminal records checks form one part of this process. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in December 2012.

The DBS was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (‘The Act’) and carries out the functions previously undertaken by the CRB and ISA, and the CRB application form has been replaced with a new DBS application form.


Not included in the Care Act 2014 but also relevant:

  • Cyber Bullying - cyber bullying occurs when someone repeatedly makes fun of another person online or repeatedly picks on another person through emails or text messages, or uses online forums with the intention of harming, damaging, humiliating or isolating another person.  It can be used to carry out many different types of bullying (such as racist bullying, homophobic bullying, or bullying related to special educational needs and disabilities) but instead of the perpetrator carrying out the bullying face-to-face, they use technology as a means to do it. 
  • Forced Marriage - forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties are married without their consent or against their will. A forced marriage differs from an arranged marriage, in which both parties consent to the assistance of a third party in identifying a spouse. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 make it a criminal offence to force someone to marry.
  • Mate Crime - a ‘mate crime’ as defined by the Safety Net Project is ‘when vulnerable people are befriended by members of the community who go on to exploit and take advantage of them. It may not be an illegal act but still has a negative effect on the individual.’
  • Radicalisation - the aim of radicalisation is to attract people to their reasoning, inspire new recruits and embed their extreme views and persuade vulnerable individuals of the legitimacy of their cause. This may be direct through a relationship, or through social media.

Responsibilities and Communication

  • Three Spires Bowling and Sports Club Safeguarding Policy will be available to all members, parents, staff, volunteers and participants. It is important that adults at risk are protected from abuse. All complaints, allegations or suspicions must be taken seriously with the Club Safeguarding Officer passing information to the appropriate NGB Safeguarding Officer and informing the appropriate club staff where relevant.
  • The Club has responsibility for ensuring that the policy and procedures are implemented, including referring any appropriate disciplinary action to the national governing body as appropriate.

The Role of Key Individual Agencies

  • Adult Social Services - The Department of Health’s recent ‘No secrets’ guidance document requires that authorities develop a local framework within which all responsible agencies work together to ensure a coherent policy for the protection of vulnerable adults at risk of abuse.

All local authorities have a Safeguarding Adults Board, which oversees multi-agency work aimed at protecting and safeguarding vulnerable adults. It is normal practice for the board to comprise of people from partner organisations who have the ability to influence decision making and resource allocation within their organisation.

  • The Police - The Police play a vital role in Safeguarding Adults with cases involving alleged criminal acts. It becomes the responsibility of the police to investigate allegations of crime by preserving and gathering evidence. Where a crime is identified, the police will be the lead agency and they will direct investigations in line with legal and other procedural protocols.

Legal Framework

  • The Care Act 2014 sets out a clear legal framework for how local authorities and other parts of the system should protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect. Each Local Authority must have a Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB), in much the same way of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB). They must lead a multi-agency system that seeks to prevent abuse and neglect and stop it quickly when it happens which includes the NHS, police and Social Care. The Safeguarding Adults Boards (SAB) must meet regularly, develop shared safeguarding plans and publish an annual review of progress. They will carry out Safeguarding Adults Reviews in some circumstances relating to safeguarding failures. The Act also introduces a responsibility for Local Authorities to make enquiries and take any necessary action if an adult with care and support needs could be at risk, even if that adult isn’t receiving local authority care and support.
  • The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012
  • The Equality Act 2010
  • The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • The Data Protection Act 2018

Monitoring and Review

  • This policy will be reviewed one year after being introduced and then every three years or in response to significant new legislation by the Management Committee and amended as appropriate. Guidance from Bowls National Governing Bodies will be sought as part of the review process.
  • The policy will be monitored in partnership with the Bowls National Governing Bodies and Bowls Development Alliance procedures.