Northern NSW Football will host a webinar in conjunction with the Office of Children’s Guardian as part of Working with Children Week.
Working with Children Week raises awareness of key child safety provisions in NSW including the Working with Children Check and the Child Safe Standards.
The 2022 theme is child focused leadership.
Matt Sibley from the Office of Children’s Guardian will make a presentation to NNSWF clubs on Monday 27 June. The webinar will focus on risk management and the 10 child safe standards.
NNSWF Club Development Officer Phillip Andrews said it was important that clubs attend the webinar.
What: Office of Children’s Guardian Working with Children Week webinar
Topic: OCG risk management/10 child safe standards
When: Monday 27 June
Time: 6pm to 7.30pm
Andrews also outlined a number of key areas for clubs regarding child protection.
Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO)
Member protection is a term widely used in the Australian sports industry to describe the practices that sporting organisations put in place to protect their members from discrimination, harassment, abuse and other inappropriate behaviour.
“From 2017 the NSW Office of Sport directed sporting clubs in all codes to adopt the MPIO role,” Andrews said.
“The FA Member Protection Framework guides MPIOs through the complaints process towards a resolution or an escalation involving an investigation.”
MPIO Position Description PD-MPIO-FEB-2022.doc (live.com)
Football Australia National Member Protection Framework
The FA Member Protection Framework provides guidance for the MPIO officer to deal with and resolve complaints. The framework should be displayed by clubs as they strive to provide the best possible experience for their members and grow a positive culture.
MPIO training is provided in two parts – the online course and the local face to face training.
Step 1: The Play by the Rules MPIO online course is tailored towards those seeking to become recognised MPIO officers in their state, covering the MPIO role, complaint resolution procedures, member protection and the law, child protection, harassment and discrimination, and ethical and practical considerations.
Step Two: NSW Office of Sport deliver a two-hour workshop to complete the MPIO training.
Hierarchy of managing a member protection matter
Football Australia has produced a flowchart for managing member protection matters
All member protection matters should seek a resolution at the ‘lowest level possible’ – initially raised with the club’s MPIO. The club’s MPIO will take the following steps:
- Serious matters will be reported to the police
- Resolution sought from parties involved. Mediation should be offered as a pathway
- An investigator will be appointed by the club. The initial investigation should begin ‘informally’ and be escalated as required
Risk Management (incorporating Working with Children Check)
The Working with Children Check is one tool that should be included in risk management strategies used in football clubs to mitigate the risk of harm to children.
The employer is responsible for complying with the NSW Working with Children Check legislation. This will include clubs, referee departments, zones and Northern NSW Football.
Clubs, Referee Departments and Zones
- Identify adults in child related roles
- Collect and process WWCC’s as per the NSW WWCC legislation
- Verify WWCC through their club’s portal
- Record all adults in child related roles on the club’s WWCC spreadsheet. The spreadsheet must be used to record adults who have been approved for a WWCC exemption.
Northern NSW Football
- Manage employee WWCC’s as per above
- Maintain relationship with the Office of Children’s Guardian
- Maintain and update WWCC information on NNSWF website
- Support compliance through the annual Certificate of Currency process
- Deliver WWCC webinars to clubs
Risk Management in football
- Monitor physical spaces and making infrastructure changes that minimise child safe risk
- Establish and monitor communication pathways that incorporate child safe practices
- Promote a child safe online environment
- Promote training opportunities and deliver induction sessions for volunteers/employees
- Develop strong governance
- Work towards building a positive club culture
Numerous policies combine to provide the structure in governance required for a progressive football club to prosper.
Policies have been integral in many clubs where committees have actively sought to create change. Whether the goal is to create positive culture, grow player numbers or attract volunteers, adopting and displaying a suite of policies is an important step in the process.
Through the National Club Development Program, a resource library has been created to store all current policies amongst other documents.
There are two policies listed in the Terms & Conditions on PlayFootball that are therefore agreed to by every registered participant and should be made available to all members in all clubs.
Football Australia Code of Conduct
Football Australia Member Protection Framework
“Club committees that have created positive change in their clubs often begin with reviewing existing governance including their constitution and policies,” Andrews said.
“Having key resources accessible in the NCDP Toolkit allows clubs to select and adopt the documents that can support the outcomes they are working to achieve.”
Football Australia has invested considerable resources into the development of the Code of Conduct and the Member Protection Framework. Clubs can make these accessible to their members by:
- posting to their website
- add to the documents TAB on TeamApp
- email directly to members
- link through Facebook
“The Member Protection Framework provides clubs with direction on Safeguarding Children, Bullying & Harassment, Anti-discrimination and Complaint Resolution,” Andrews said.
“The framework supports the club’s MPIO by outlining the complaint handling process.”