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  • 1.Welfare officer role outline
  • 2. The BSAC and Government websites outlining the policy
  • 3. Child Safeguarding FAQ’s
  • 4. Duty of care and welfare
  • 5. Safeguard training
  • 6. Safeguarding adults during Covid – 19
  • 7. DBS Disclosure Process
  • 8A. Safeguarding information for parents and guardians of club members
  • 8B. Child Safeguarding Policy
  • 9. Pool Safety Officers Guide
  • 10. Welcoming disabled people into our scuba and snorkelling community
  • 11. Working together to safeguard children
  • 12. Equality Act 2010: guidance

1 Welfare officer role outline

Whilst everyone in the club is responsible for safeguarding, the club’s Welfare Officer is the person with primary responsibility for managing and reporting concerns about discrimination and exclusion, as well as ensuring appropriate safeguarding of children (under 18s) or adults at risk by putting into place appropriate safeguarding procedures. 

For clarity, ‘adults at risk’ describes people aged 18 or over who are in need of care and support, regardless of whether this is being received by them, and because of those needs, these persons are unable to protect themselves against abuse or neglect. 

A good Welfare Officer is someone who is: 

  • Able to work with a team to ensure that diving and snorkelling is a fun, enjoyable and safe experience for all.
  • Passionate about creating a diverse and inclusive environment that enables all, especially children and young people (if applicable to your club), to thrive. 
  • Accessible and approachable to everyone (ideally not the instructor or volunteer with direct responsibility for delivering junior programmes at the branch)

Responsibilities of a branch Welfare Officer

Policy and procedures 

All members are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the policies which BSAC require be adhered to

  • To assist the club to ensure the BSAC Child SafeguardingAdult Safeguarding and Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies and procedures are in place, where appropriate.

  • To promote awareness of the BSAC Code of Conduct policy for instructors, volunteers, members (juniors and adults) and parents.  (Available on BSAC website)
  • To ensure that appropriate appointment procedures for volunteers are followed, when for example a member is appointed by a branch to become a Snorkel Instructor teaching under 18s. 
  • To ensure that all appropriate existing instructors or volunteers in a regulated activity have an up-to-date DBS check. These should be updated every three years.
  • Regulated activity is defines as

    • The definition of regulated activity (i.e. work that a barred person must not do) in relation to children and vulnerable adults comprises, in summary:
    • (i) Unsupervised activities: teach, train, instruct, care for or supervise children, or provide advice/ guidance on well-being, or drive a vehicle only for children;
    • (ii) Work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’), with opportunity for contact: e.g. schools, children’s homes, childcare premises. Not work by supervised volunteers.


    • To be the first point of contact for branch volunteers, members, young people and parents for any issues concerning child welfare/adults at risk, poor practice, discrimination and potential or alleged abuse. 
    • To ensure that all incidents and concerns are reported correctly and referred in accordance with safeguarding and EDI policy guidelines.
    • To ensure confidentiality is maintained and personal information is only shared on a ‘need to know’ basis.
    • Be the first point of contact with the BSAC Safeguarding Officer and BSAC Welfare Officer at HQ.

    Welfare and safeguarding training

    • To advise the club on appropriate training for instructors and volunteers based on BSAC’s recommended training requirements.
    • To signpost those with roles and responsibilities for children and young people to appropriate safeguarding and EDI training opportunities.


    • Work with others in the club to ensure a positive and diverse environment.
    • To sit on the club management committee to advise on EDI issues, child and/or adult safeguarding issues or be in attendance as necessary.

    Knowledge needed

    • Awareness of core equalities legislation, government guidance and national framework for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people.
    • Awareness of core legislation, government guidance and national framework for equality, diversity and inclusion, as discussed in Equality Act 2010.
    • Awareness of issues relating to equality, child protection and safeguarding adults at risk. 
    • Understanding of poor practice, discrimination, harassment, victimisation, bullying and abuse.
    • Understanding of BSAC’s recommended procedures relating to EDI and safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk.

    2 The BSAC and Government websites

    (Note Ctl click on the underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)

    This list is an outline of what is required of us all. It is the responsibility of the member / student / participant in BSAC activities to fully apprise themselves of all appropriate regulations guideline and requirements of both BSAC and Statutory requirements

    Risk assessments need to be generated and lodged as reference documents, each activity should be considered against the baseline document and adapted as appropriate for the specific activity.

    It is recommended that at regular intervals, the generic risk assessments are reviewed at formal meetings and updated reflecting ongoing circumstances and experiences. This should be an ongoing process.

    3 Child Safeguarding FAQ’s

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    What is safeguarding?

    The Government advises that everyone working with children should do everything they can to keep children safe. Safeguarding refers to the process of protecting children (and adults) to provide safe and effective care. This includes all procedures designed to prevent harm to a child.

    What is child protection?

    Child protection is part of the safeguarding process, protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes the child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.

    Who is the child safeguarding policy and duty of care and welfare section aimed at?

    The information provided in the child safeguarding policy and supporting documentation is for all:

    • Club Officers
    • Instructors
    • Members
    • Members’ parents and carers

    Further information is available in section 2.2 of the policy.

    What is child abuse?

    Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm.

    It commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of age, gender, race or ability. Abusers can be adults of any gender identity and other young people, and are usually known to and trusted by the child and family.

    There are four main types of child abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. The abuser may be a family member, or they may be someone the child encounters in a residential setting or in the community, including during sports and leisure activities.

    An individual may abuse or neglect a child directly or may be responsible for abuse because they fail to prevent another person from harming that child.
    Further information is available in section 2.3 of the policy.

    What are the indicators of abuse and what do I need to do if I have concerns?

    If you do have any concerns about somebody’s behaviour or a concern is observed or raised to you by another person, you need to pass these on to the relevant person or organisation who will investigate them appropriately. This may be either the Welfare Officer within your club or at BSAC HQ. Always report concerns.

    Detailed information is available in sections 2.4 to 2.7 of the child safeguarding policy.

    Does our club need a Welfare Officer if we are an adult-only club or do not have any children or young people under the age of 18 as current members?

    BSAC is actively recruiting junior members to both diving and snorkelling across the country so you may well have junior members in the future. Having a Welfare Officer as one of your club’s elected officers means that you will be ready to take on junior members when they come along.

    The role of a WO is primarily to promote good practice within your club, to be a named point of contact for students, parents/carers, instructors and volunteers and to understand BSAC reporting procedures in case a concern is raised.

    When you do appoint a Welfare Officer, ensure they have the necessary skills and training as outlined by BSAC, someone who will take the lead in dealing with all safeguarding matters raised within the club.

    Further information on the role, skills and knowledge to look for in a WO is available in the Duty of care and welfare web section.

    The child safeguarding policy and supporting documentation looks very detailed and heavyweight for ordinary BSAC members, so how much are we expected to know and understand?

    Everyone in BSAC has a responsibility to safeguard and protect young people. Safeguarding legislation and government guidance is in place that BSAC has adopted through the implementation of this policy. Your Welfare Officer, Branch Officers and instructors will ensure all club members and parents of members are aware of how the BSAC safeguarding policy and procedures work within your branch.

    You can of course read all of the documentation, as a minimum it is recommended that you know how to raise concerns in a safe and confidential manner if you have a concern about a child’s welfare.

    This information is available in sections 2.4 to 2.4 of the child safeguarding policy.

    Does BSAC have any guidelines on safe recruitment and selection procedures?
    Yes, section 3 in the child safeguarding policy covers this topic. This section includes points on how to ensure effective recruitment and selection procedures and advice on references and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

    What is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)?
    On 1 December 2012, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) formed from a merger between the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). DBS was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and provides a joined-up service to combine the criminal records and barring functions.

    Why is there a code of conduct?
    The code of conduct forms part of BSAC’s safeguarding policy and procedures. It also supports and complements the Branch Officers’ Handbook, Instructor Manual and Safe Diving guide. It is specifically relevant to the work that you do with children and young people. Make yourself fully aware of the safeguarding policies and actions to take if you have a concern or a concern is raised to you.

    Ensure you attend all relevant updating, access ongoing professional development training and have a current DBS check as required and relevant for the position that you undertake within your club.

    Detailed information is available in sections 3.5 to 3.9 of the child safeguarding policy.

    Can children’s names, date of birth and address be given out by clubs/organisations to a third party if parents have not given consent?
    The simple answer is no.

    For the issue about open access to names, addresses, telephone numbers and DOBs of children you need to consider the following:

    • Did the children/parents know the information was going to be used for another purpose than it was asked for in the first place?
    • Could the information have been provided as part of a cluster e.g. three children in the area etc.?
    • Who received the information?
    • What procedures does the regulator (BSAC branch) have in place for disclosing personal information?

Does BSAC have any guidelines on transporting children and young people to diving and training events?
    Yes, see section 4.7 Transport policy and trips away guidance for information on this topic. This includes an outline of the issues and some best practice guidance to minimise the risks.

    Does BSAC have any guidance on the use of photography?
    Yes, see section 4.8 Good practice guidance on photography and video. The section provides guidance of all photographs taken on film or digital camera (including mobile phones) and any form of moving pictures including video recordings (and video streaming) whilst ensuring that the child’s rights and well-being are safeguarded.

    Parents/carers want to be able to celebrate the achievements of their children when taking part in sporting activities through photographs and BSAC branches will also want to promote their activities to encourage increased participation.

    BSAC does not advocate the banning of photography but recommends that it is subject to appropriate and proportionate safeguards being in place to ensure a safe sporting environment for children and young people.

    Does BSAC have any guidelines on the safer use of text, email and social networking sites?

    Yes, see section 4.11 Guidance on mobile phones and social networking sites. The section provides good practice guidance on staying up to date and keeping children and young people safe in today’s digital world.

    Is there any training available that will enable me to undertake my duty of care as a club member or that will enable me to be a Branch designated officer or Welfare Officer and does this training carry a recognised qualification?

    There are currently no formal qualifications specifically for safeguarding children in sport. At this stage, BSAC does not offer training. However, a number of organisations have developed courses to help you keep children safe.
    BSAC recommends basic safeguarding training offered by UK Coaching: ‘Safeguarding & Protecting Children’.

    You can also contact your Local Safeguarding Children Board and ask if they offer any safeguarding training to volunteers, though this will not be sports specific.

    4 Duty of care and welfare

    (Note Ctl click on the underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)

    It is the duty of every BSAC club to take steps to ensure that all participants, visitors and volunteers can enjoy the activities offered by the club in a safe environment. 

    Outlined below are the measures your club should take to ensure you are adequately carrying out your duty of care and welfare responsibilities. This includes ensuring that: 

    • All activities take place in a safe environment that comply with legal requirements and those set by BSAC such as following Safe Diving practices, such as, risk assessment and pool guidelines.

    • The club has the necessary provision in place for the safeguarding and welfare of its members. 
    • All members are treated fairly and with respect, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and beliefs, sex/gender, and sexual orientation, when taking part in BSAC activities.

    See the Duty of care and welfare – club checklist for more info and support
    (See Attachment 2)

    Risk assessments

    BSAC recommends that all activities, diving and social, are to be assessed for relevant risks.

    In this world of increasing litigation Committees, you need to be able to provide evidence that activities you have sanctioned or are running will be conducted with the minimum of risk to participants, bystanders and the public. Whether an activity should go ahead depends on the judgement of the individual carrying out the risk assessment(s).
    Throughout BSAC’s Diver Training Programme, Safe Diving information and Skill Development Course content, there are considerations of risk assessment.

    Why do you need a risk assessment?
    The overall objectives of the BSAC’s risk assessment guidance are:

    • To place the emphasis on the prevention of incidents rather than on the actions needed to resolve them
    • To reduce the number and seriousness of diving incidents
    • To continue to promote safe diving practices to all divers
    • To ensure that divers can enjoy their sport safely

    Risk assessment resources from BSAC

    For some sheltered water and inland dive sites, it is necessary to submit a risk assessment of diving activities as part of the application. Also, producing a generic risk assessment document for all open-water diving is beneficial as a reference for members planning and managing dives. Risk assessments appropriate for diver training and diving activities: 

    Attachment 4

    Duty of care and welfare support of clubs
    (Note Ctl click on the underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)

    A new web section – Duty of care and welfare – has been created to support clubs in carrying out their welfare and safeguarding responsibilities.

    The new section, which can be found at bsac.com/dutyofcare, will assist clubs in carrying out their responsibilities to ensure that all members, visitors and volunteers can enjoy the activities offered by the club in a safe environment.

    As our world progresses, the advice evolves a little too—you may have seen the recent launch of the BSAC Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy—, and this new web section brings together in one place the measures needed and support available for clubs to take the right steps.

    The new online section includes guidance and support on:

    • Ensuring all activities take place in a safe environment that complies with legal requirements and those set by BSAC.
    • The club has the necessary provision in place for the safeguarding and welfare of its members, including having the relevant DBS checks (or PVG checks in Scotland and AccessNI in Northern Ireland).
    • Matters surrounding equality, diversity and inclusion to ensure members are treated fairly and with respect.

    The new section includes a checklist so clubs can easily see where any gaps may be and where to go for support. Further work is continuing in this area with an online course to support Welfare Officers and greater support surrounding DBS checks both in the works.

    BSAC CEO Mary Tetley said:

    BSAC is committed to ensuring that everyone who takes part in our activities are able to have fun and participate in an environment that keeps them safe. We know clubs have been taking great care of members for many years. However, now is the time to perhaps take another look at your club’s activities to check we are compliant in these areas, particularly surrounding safeguarding and compliance with DBS checking.

    If you have any questions or need support, please email the BSAC Welfare Officer Mary Tetley at welfare@bsac.com

    5 Safeguard training

    (Note Ctl click on the blue underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)

    Do you come into contact with under 18s as Welfare Officer or an instructor? If so, it’s important you understand your role and responsibilities in protecting the children you work with.
    If you feel you need to raise your knowledge of safeguarding, you may want to check out the training on offer with UK Coaching.

    UK Coaching works with the NSPCC and the Child Protection in Sport Unit to deliver a number of safeguarding courses throughout the year.

    The Safeguarding & Protecting Children online course will help you raise your awareness of the tell-tale signs of abuse, and gain the tools and confidence you need to deal with any issues sensitively, appropriately and effectively.

    During the online classroom session, you will be able to participate fully and contextualise your own learning through various activities and making notes in the activity resources provided. The training is £30.

    6 Safeguarding adults during Covid – 19

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    The Covid-19 emergency has given rise to important adult safeguarding considerations. Sport England’s Club Matters and the Ann Craft Trust offer the following advice for clubs.

    For some people, particularly those that have care and support needs, are socially isolated, or live in residential/supported living environments, attending their club and socialising with other members may be the only social outlet they have. They will undoubtedly be missing the contact and the social, physical and mental wellbeing benefits they are used to getting from their club.

    Safeguarding leads, instructors and volunteers within sports clubs may have concerns about their more vulnerable members. They may be considering different ways to keep in touch and ensure people are safe and well during this difficult time.

    Things to think about

    To help you decide what to do and how best to do it, Club Matters is offering the following advice and guidance:

    1. Ongoing safeguarding responsibilities

Your club does still have some key responsibilities regarding Adult Safeguarding during the Coronavirus emergency. Download BSAC’s Adult Safeguarding Policy.

    2. Changes to pathways and contacts

    It is likely that referral and support processes and contacts may have changed in response to the emergency. We recommend that you get in touch with local statutory agencies and partners to check if anything has changed. This will ensure you can continue to provide good advice to your members and volunteers. Local organisations you should consider contacting include: Adult Social Care, the MASH team, Mental Health Services and other key workers for adults at risk.

    3. Safeguarding / Welfare Officer support

Make sure your club’s safeguarding lead or Welfare Officer is able to continue their role and have a contingency plan in place. Check they have the capacity, time and resources to carry on with their responsibilities, and make sure you identify any extra support they might need. At no point should their responsibilities be transferred to anyone without the necessary experience and safeguarding qualifications.

    4. Review your safeguarding arrangements

    Review your existing policies and procedures for safeguarding adults. If any of these have altered because of local changes, or changes to your club/organisation’s reporting channels, make sure this is reflected in them. You may also want to review codes of conduct and online safety, risk management and social media use policies. We would recommend that you share any changes to these policies with your members, committees, workforce and any carers.

    5. Virtual sessions

During the lockdown period, virtual, online sessions are proving to be a great way for clubs and sports organisations to stay connected with their members, committees and workforce. However, there are some important safeguarding considerations to be mindful of if you’re considering using online teaching or coaching as a way to promote continued activity. Please consider the following:

    • Are there specific procedures for reporting and addressing any concerns about online interactions? These can be linked directly to your existing safeguarding procedures, but they need to be clear and accessible for all members.

    • Are the privacy and confidentiality settings of the platform you want to use appropriate? Many organisations are using Zoom – check out this helpful guide to safeguarding considerations for using Zoom.

Make sure all your members have access to sessions to avoid anyone feeling excluded from the group!

To reduce any anxieties about new ways of training, be clear on what your sessions will involve so members/participants know what to expect.

Do group members interact directly, or is this only via the coach? If it’s the former, how can this be monitored and moderated? How will you prevent the risk of cyber bullying?

    6. Offer support to individual members

    Consider if there are particular concerns for any members based on your knowledge of their individual circumstances. If there are, get an appropriate person to offer them support or inform them of the support that is available to them while they are at home. Please don’t just rely on social media to do this and make sure you think through the most appropriate way to contact those who may be at risk in their home environment.

    7. Keep in touch

    Keeping in touch at this time is really important, especially with anyone that might rely on your club as their main social outlet – if they live alone, for example. However, this must be done with regard to safeguarding principles and in response to individual needs. People are feeling isolated and concerned, which may increase their vulnerability. Be creative and consider how you can keep in touch with people on a regular basis, without relying on social media, to ensure that your members and workforce are safe. 

    Have regard for their mental as well as their physical well-being too. For example, you can share information and tips on getting active from Sport England’s #StayInWorkOut campaign, or encourage people to check out the advice from the NHS’ Every Mind Matters website on looking after their mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic.

    7 DBS Disclosure Process

    (Note Ctl click on the underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)

    BSAC is a registered body with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for England and Wales, AccessNI for Northern Ireland and Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme for Scotland. BSAC can facilitate checks free of charge to our UK volunteers that meet the criteria.

    DBS, AccessNI and PVG are government services that helps prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. By processing requests for criminal records checks, it helps organisations like BSAC and BSAC clubs make safer volunteer recruitment decisions.

    The checks are only required if the instructor is teaching children (under 18s) or adults at risk. Adults at risk describes people aged 18 or over who are in need of care and support, regardless of whether this is being received by them and, because of those needs, these persons are unable to protect themselves against abuse or neglect.
    DBS checks are for those in England and Wales. Members in Northern Ireland receive AccessNI checks and Scottish members receive PVG checks. The principles and procedures are the same for all checks, BSAC just has to liaise with different bodies depending on where in the UK members live.

    To apply for a check you need to meet the qualifying criteria:

    • You must be a current BSAC member.
    • Be over the age of 16.
    • Be a Snorkel Instructor, Open Water Instructor (or above) or the Welfare Officer .
    • A member of a club.
    • Be taking part in unsupervised ‘regulated activity’ and teaching ‘regularly’ (see ‘Criteria definitions’ below).

    If you are eligible, please email the Safeguarding Administrator to request the online application.

    The evidence gathering for the online application must be completed by either the club’s Welfare Officer or a committee member, to say that they are responsible for having seen the three types of identification for the applicant. The ID listed on this form must match the ID that the applicant enters on the online application. This must be emailed to us.

    Criteria definitions

    Regulated activity
    The definition of regulated activity (i.e. work that a barred person must not do) in relation to children and vulnerable adults comprises, in summary:
    (i) unsupervised activities: teach, train, instruct, care for or supervise children, or provide advice/ guidance on well-being, or drive a vehicle only for children;
    (ii) work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’), with opportunity for contact: e.g. schools, children’s homes, childcare premises. Not work by supervised volunteers.

    Work under (i) or (ii) is regulated activity only if done regularly: “regularly” is defined as:
Teaching, training or instruction of children and adults at risk, carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often), or on 4 or more days in a 30-day period, or overnight.

    More on the application process
    At any time, the member can withdraw their application and the process will immediately stop. However, that means they won’t be able to teach children and adults at risk but instructors will still be able to continue to teach over 18s.

    Once the online application has been submitted, the process of the checks usually takes up to seven working days and then a certificate is issued directly to the applicant (which can take up to 14 days to receive), BSAC is also notified.

BSAC will then send a letter of suitability to the applicant’s club Welfare Officer or Membership Secretary; therefore, no action is required from the applicant.

    If there are any queries or content on the certificate, BSAC will request the certificate from the member and the BSAC Safeguarding Officer will liaise with the member directly.

The certificate belongs to the applicant and they are valid for three years from their date of issue.

    When do the checks expire and need updating?

    • If the applicant registers for the updated service annually they do not expire.
    • NSPCC (and BSAC) recommends renewing the checks every three years. Checks are valid for three years from the date of issue.
    • Renewal checks are currently completed the same way as the first check.

    8A Safeguarding information for parents and guardians of club members

    (Note Ctl click on the underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)

    Protecting and safeguarding children is of the utmost importance across our organisation and BSAC is committed to ensuring that any child who attends a BSAC club or event will be safeguarded from harm.

    All our clubs must adopt and abide by our comprehensive Child Safeguarding Policy.

    What should parents/guardians expect?

    As a parent or guardian of a BSAC club member, you can be assured that:
    Your child is safeguarded during their time with us.

    All people with responsibility for your child will:

    • be suitable qualified and trained.

have been safely recruited by the club and be DBS checked if eligible.

    Any concerns about your child’s welfare will be listened to and responded to.

    Making contact

    You have a right to access the Child Safeguarding Policy and to contact your club Welfare Officer and / or the BSAC safeguarding team should you need to. The best point of contact for BSAC nationally will be the BSAC Safeguarding Officer, Mary Tetley, at maryt@bsac.com or on 0151 350 6220.

    What should parents be aware of?

    As a parent or guardian, we recommend you make yourselves familiar with…
    Key club information and contacts, such as:

    • Website, social media site or notice board which would provide the latest news and updates for members.
    • Your Welfare Officer – who they are, how to contact them and any information on their role.
    • The instructors and poolside team and who to contact to discuss your child’s training.
    • Information about the pool facilities, particularly around the changing rooms and any relevant rules that apply to the facility e.g. the use of mobile devices.

    The club’s procedures, such as:

    • Any rules, regulations and codes of conduct.
    • Complaints process and disciplinary process and the relevant contacts.

    Always ask the club to make this information available to you if you have problems finding or accessing it.

    How can I help support my child and the club?

    • Complete all consent, emergency contact, and medical forms and update the club immediately if anything changes.
    • Ensure your child arrives at sessions on time and is collected promptly. If you are going to be late let the club know.
    • Ensure your child has the right kit for the sessions, as well as enough food and drink.

    How can I raise a question about my child’s training or progression?

    The instructors and poolside team will do all they can to ensure that children enjoy all the activities and that they progress in accordance with their abilities.

    However, if you or your child is unhappy with the training or you simply have questions you would like to put to your child’s instructor, then you should arrange to meet them at a mutually convenient time to discuss further.

    All BSAC clubs with under 18s must follow the BSAC Safeguarding Policy.

    If you are not happy with the actions being taken to resolve your complaint, you can seek advice from BSAC by contacting Mary Tetley, BSAC Safeguarding Officer, on 0151 350 6220 or maryt@bsac.com.

    8B Child Safeguarding Policy

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    BSAC takes its safeguarding duty very seriously regarding the safety and well-being of children participating in the activities of snorkelling and diving.

    We have worked with leading organisations such as the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), who helped us prepare this document, and with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

    Download ‘Buddyguard – BSAC Safeguarding policy


Download the Safeguarding self-declaration form to be completed by members


Below is the additional list of the Section 4 appendices for you to download:

    About Buddyguard
    We hope our policy will help implement good practice. It complies with current legislation. Following the guidance should not be onerous and much of what has been included in the policy should be a common-sense approach.
    If you have any queries regarding safeguarding issues, contact Mary Tetley directly on 0151 350 6220 or Email

    Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
    The Buddyguard policy can apply to these countries, however, there is different legislation. Visit the NSPCC website for legislation advice and DBS information.

    See the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.
    We realise there will be some questions you may have which are not yet listed on the FAQs page
    If your questions are not listed please email and they will be added to the list if suitable.

    9 Pool Safety Officers Guide

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    These guidelines are here to help BSAC’s pool safety officer’s during sub-aqua activities.


    BSAC clubs and other scuba diving organisations use pool facilities for a variety of skills training. These skills include the following;

    • Swimming
    • Snorkelling – surface and underwater
    • Diver training surface and underwater
    • Lifesaving
    • Octopush – underwater hockey

    Codes of Practice

    Two Codes of Practice cover scuba-training activities and these are the BSAC “Safe Diving” booklet and in the case of commercial training by centres, the HSE Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) ‘Recreational Diving Projects’ (1997).


    Most of the above activities include the use of basic snorkelling equipment of mask, fins and snorkel. These items of equipment are lightweight, portable and do not generally present a high risk factor. The mask glass must be made of tempered glass to reduce risk of injury.

    Scuba equipment consists of a cylinder, regulator, buoyancy compensator, weight belt with weights and may include diving suits. These items of equipment are heavier and can increase the risk factor, however, through their training, divers should help to reduce this factor considerably.

    Cylinders, whether separate or attached to a buoyancy compensator, should be laid down flat if being left unattended. This action reduces the likelihood of them toppling over and causing physical or structural damage.

    Weight belts containing metal weights maybe released and ditched as part of diver training. To reduce the risk of physical damage to the pool tile surface it is recommended that the weights either be coated with a plastic coating or covered with towelling/other suitable material.


    In the publication, Managing Health & Safety in Swimming Pools, jointly published by the Health & Safety Executive and the Local Authorities Enforcement Liaison Committee, recommends that lifeguards require specialised skills to adequately supervise sub-aqua activities.

    Rescue divers

    To this end BSAC recommends that lifeguard duties should be assigned to qualified members of the user group. The minimum qualification that gives a diver the necessary skills is the BSAC Sports Diver or BSAC Snorkel Diver with Snorkel Lifesaver qualification minimum age 18 years. This grade includes diver rescue and basic life support skills. BSAC provides additional skills training through the BSAC Lifesaver Award. This award is NOT a time-limited qualification, however the BSAC would strongly advise that refresher courses be advocated to holders of this award. Where those who hold the award and are also actively teaching rescue skills as an instructor this would be deemed adequate to maintain their own skill levels.
    BSAC members should note that where the Lifesaver Award or Snorkel Lifesaver Award is required for other qualifications (First Class Diver or Advanced Snorkel Instructor) there may be a requirement for the award to have been gained within a specified period.

    Rescue divers to pool users’ ratios

    Due to the nature of the sport, training ratios should take account of pool dimensions, configuration, pool user numbers and diversity of the activities. As guidance it is recommended that the ratio of rescue divers to pool users for scuba diving activities should be 1:15. For snorkelling activities or surface training the ratio could be increased to 1:30. Thus for a diver training session of 25 – 30 pool users, the recommended minimum number of duty diver rescuers should be 2.

    The rescue diver should be in readiness to enter the water at any time during the session. This would entail having quick access to basic snorkelling gear and wearing suitable swimming gear while on duty. The rescue divers should also be familiar with local emergency evacuation procedures.

    Instructor to trainee ratios

    Scuba diver training is carried out in small groups both on the surface and underwater. The maximum ratio recommended by the BSAC to its instructors is not more than 4 trainees to one instructor for underwater instruction. Trainees having problems can be taught individually if the need were to arise, in which case the ratio is 1:1.
    Snorkel diver training can involve larger groups and is considered less of a risk than underwater training. To this end the ratio can be increased to not more than 12 trainees to one instructor. 

    Risk assessment

    Find out more on conducting risk assessments.
    Hazards and control measures – swimming pool 

    Risk assessment template – Pool training during Covid-19

    Pool safety officers guidelines updated October 2017. Download Pool safety officers guidelines PDF copy.

    10 Welcoming disabled people into our scuba and snorkelling community

    (Note Ctl click on the underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)

    Scuba divers with disabilities tend to be very motivated and most challenges can be overcome. And yet disabled people or people living with a long-term health condition (LTHC) are less likely to be part of a sports club. Let’s work towards welcoming more disabled people.

    One in five people in the UK have an impairment or long-term health condition (LTHC). That’s a lot of people. And being part of a BSAC club and scuba diving can offer both physical and mental respite for people living with disabilities.

    It’s important to know, therefore, that people with disabilities may learn to dive or go diving just like any member of any club.

    The intention or aim of BSAC for people living with disabilities is the same for any other person – for the diver/snorkeller to qualify with a branch or training centre as a diver or snorkeller, and to then join in their chosen club’s activities as a full member, enjoying all the benefits that brings.

    BSAC Diving for All Chief Instructor Mick Stewart said:
    “BSAC clubs have always been naturally supportive. Anyone who knocks on our door should be offered the chance to participate. The only reason not to would be a medical condition, backed by professional advice, where diving could be dangerous to their health. Even then, snorkelling might be an option! Being part of a BSAC club has a lot to offer people living with a disability, whether it can be seen or not and, as an organisation we’re dedicated to ensuring that diving is accessible and welcoming to all.”

    Working towards a more inclusive community starts with a better understanding…

    How do we define disabled people and people with LTHC?

    Disability can be defined as ‘a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative impact on people’s ability to do normal daily activities’. LTHCs are conditions that cannot, at present, be cured, but can be managed by medication and/or other treatments/therapies.

    It is important to recognise that not all impairments or LTHCs are visible but they can impact a person’s ability to be part of activities, participate or volunteer in sport and physical activity. It is therefore important for organisations to understand people’s needs to support everyone to have a meaningful and positive experience.

    Why is it important for your branch or training centre to be inclusive?

    Everyone should be able to enjoy sport and physical activities. As organisations that support the delivery of sport and physical activity, it is important that you do as much as possible to make your offer as inclusive and accessible to everyone.

    Organisations have a legal requirement as set out in the Equality Act (2010) which requires them to make reasonable adjustments to their services and offer so that everyone has the opportunity to access them. This does not however just mean making your facilities wheelchair-user friendly, but adapting the activities you offer so that anyone with an impairment or LTHC who wants to attend or be involved with your organisation can.
    People with disabilities may learn to dive or go diving with your branch just like any member of any club.

    Training for a disabled student should follow the BSAC syllabus in the Diver Training Programme (DTP) and the diving protocols of Safe Diving practices. Any deviations from the DTP should be exceptional and only warranted by the student’s disability.

    Help and advice is available from BSAC by email or by calling 0151 350 6203 and also by contacting the Diving for All Chief Instructor by email.

    • Training for a student with disabilities should ideally be delivered by a nationally qualified BSAC instructor who is a fully qualified DfA Instructor. More info on the DfA Instructor Course (DfA IC)
    • Any BSAC member buddying a diver with an impairment or disability should ideally complete the DfA Dive Managers and Buddies Course (DfA DM&B)

    BSAC’s Safeguarding policy contains further information on safeguarding vulnerable adults and equality and diversity within the organisation.

    What are the benefits of being inclusive?

    There are a number of overarching benefits of being an inclusive branch. Positioning yourselves as a champion of inclusion will:

    • Enhance your brand and reputation
    • Increase membership
    • Break down barriers and promote social inclusion
    • Increase governance and risk management and decrease potential legal risks

    What are the barriers for disabled people and people with LTHCs?
    There are many barriers that can prevent disabled people and people living with LTHCs from participating and volunteering within sport and physical activity. A number of barriers rise when the number of impairments that a person has increases.

    Barriers can be broken into three main types; psychological, physical and logistical. Psychological barriers, which are the views and opinions of disabled people and people living with LTHCs that can prevent them from joining in with activities or an organisation, are recognised as being some of the biggest barriers.
    Each of these has been explored in more detail below.

    Psychological barriers:

    • Personal perceptions leading to thoughts of not being able to or not wanting to take part in sport or physical activity. The misunderstanding of what the activity offer is and includes, often leads to these negative perceptions
    • Negative perceptions of sport and physical activity which have been driven by bad experiences in the past.
    • The impression from others already at your organisation. If those at your organisation are unable to advise or provide information on suitable activities upon enquiry, this may give the impression that your organisation does not support people with specific needs.

    Physical barriers:

    • A lack of suitable facilities and equipment which are not accessible or are only partially suitable for the needs of disabled people or people with LTHCs.
    • Adaptions or changes to facilities, equipment or activities offered may not be provided due to the health and safety concerns associated with these changes.

    Logistical barriers:

    • Location of your organisation and the sessions that you run.
    • The expense involved in travelling to different locations and purchasing specialised equipment.
    • The ability to involve family members/friends or carers to support attendance.
    • Inaccessibility of marketing and communications resulting in a lack of knowledge of activities or volunteering opportunities.
    • The suitability and desire of an organisation to mix disabled people and people with LTHCs with non-disabled people. 

    Why is a person-centred approach important?
    Disabled people and people living with LTHCs come from a wide range of diverse backgrounds and there are likely to be unique variations in their needs and the barriers they face. It is therefore unlikely to be a single barrier that impacts their desire or ability to participate or volunteer at your organisation.

    To help address and understand the issues and barriers faced by individuals, organisations should look to adopt a person-centred approach. This approach enables organisations to look beyond people’s impairment as one demographic. The organisation considers the connection between people’s values, motivations and other demographic groupings. It means you can develop an understanding of the participant and volunteer needs to tailor and meet their offer, where possible.

    It can be very challenging to get it right as every audience has different needs, sometimes down to an individual level. But whatever you can do to meet specific needs will help ensure your organisation is as inclusive as possible.

    How does your organisation embed inclusivity for disabled people and people with LTHCs?

    To help address specific barriers identified for disabled people and people with LTHCs and to embed inclusivity in your organisation, it is important to consider what changes you could make.

    Research carried out by the Activity Alliance (Talk to me research report) found there are 10 principles. These 10 principles can be used to improve your club’s offering for disabled people and people with LTHCs.

    11 Working together to safeguard children

    statutory guidance
    (Note Ctl click on the underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)
    Documents are available for review on this website
    Working together to safeguard children – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


    Statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
    This guidance is for:

    • local authority chief executives
    • directors of children’s services
    • safeguarding partners
    • teachers and education staff
    • social workers
    • health service professionals
    • adult services
    • police officers
    • voluntary and community sector workers in contact with children and families

    It applies to:

    • local authorities
    • all schools

    A version of the guidance for young people and a separate version suitable for younger children are also available for practitioners to share.

    Statutory guidance is issued by law – you must follow it unless there’s a good reason not to.

    Working together to safeguard children 2018

    The updated 2018 version, which makes factual changes, replaces the 2015 version, which has been removed from this webpage.

    The Working Together transitional guidance, which has also been removed, was available to support Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs), safeguarding partners, and the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel in the transition from LSCBs and serious case reviews (SCRs) to a new system of multi-agency arrangements and local and national child safeguarding practice reviews. This transition took place between 29 June 2018 and 29 September 2019.

    Statutory framework
    The updated statutory framework sets out the legislation relevant to safeguarding and it should be read alongside the statutory guidance.

    12 Equality Act 2010: guidance

    (Note Ctl click on the underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)
    Information and guidance on the Equality Act 2010, including age discrimination and public sector Equality Duty.

    Government Equalities Office and Equality and Human Rights Commission
    Published 27 February 2013
    Last updated 16 June 2015 — See all updates

    • Overview
    • Discrimination: making a complaint
    • Equality Act provisions: commencement dates
    • Age discrimination
    • Public sector Equality Duty
    • Equalities Act 2010: legislation
    • Guidance on the Equality Act


    The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society
    It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it’s unlawful to treat someone.

    Find out more about who is protected from discrimination, the types of discrimination under the law and what action you can take if you feel you’ve been unfairly discriminated against.

    Discrimination: making a complaint

    Before the Act came into force there were several pieces of legislation to cover discrimination, including:

    • Sex Discrimination Act 1975
    • Race Relations Act 1976
    • Disability Discrimination Act 1995

    If you wish to complain about possible unlawful treatment there are 2 separate processes, depending on when it happened.

    Complaints: before October 2010

    If you were subjected to unlawful treatment (eg discrimination, harassment or victimisation) before 1 October 2010, the Equality Act won’t apply. Instead, you’ll be covered by the legislation that was in force at the time.

    For example, if you experienced race discrimination on 30 September 2010 and want to make a complaint or bring legal proceedings, the Race Relations Act 1976 will apply, not the Equality Act.

    This is also true of any legal proceedings. They will go ahead according to the legislation under which they were brought, even if they may have continued after 1 October 2010.

    • Questionnaires and guidance booklets for complaints under previous legislation

    Complaints: after October 2010

    If you were subject to unlawful treatment on or after 1 October 2010, the Equality Act applies.

    For example, if you experienced sex discrimination on 30 September 2010, which continued until 2 October 2010, the Equality Act will apply, not the Sex Discrimination Act.

    Find out more about how to complain about unlawful treatment in the Discrimination: your rights guide.

    Equality Act provisions: commencement dates

    To allow people and organisations enough time to prepare for the new laws, the provisions of the Act were brought in at different times (known as commencement dates).

    October 2010

    Equality Act provisions which came into force on 1 October 2010:

    • the basic framework of protection against direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation in services and public functions, premi, work, education, associations and transport
    • changing the definition of gender reassignment, by removing the requirement for medical supervision
    • providing protection for people discriminated against because they are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has, a protected characteristic
    • clearer protection for breastfeeding mothers
    • applying a uniform definition of indirect discrimination to all protected characteristics
    • harmonising provisions allowing voluntary positive action

    Provisions relating to disability

    • extending protection against indirect discrimination to disability
    • introducing the concept of “discrimination arising from disability” to replace protection under previous legislation lost as a result of a legal judgment
    • applying the detriment model to victimisation protection (aligning with the approach in employment law)
    • harmonising the thresholds for the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people
    • extending protection against harassment of employees by third parties to all protected characteristics
    • making it more difficult for disabled people to be unfairly screened out when applying for jobs, by restricting the circumstances in which employers can ask job applicants questions about disability or health

    Provisions relating to work

  • allowing claims for direct gender pay discrimination where there is no actual comparator
  • making pay secrecy clauses unenforceable
  • extending protection in private clubs to sex, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment
  • introducing new powers for employment tribunals to make recommendations which benefit the wider workforce
  • April 2011

    Equality Act provisions which came into force in April 2011:

    • positive action – recruitment and promotion
    • public sector Equality Duty (see section below)

    Ministers are considering how to implement the remaining provisions in the best way for business and for others with rights and responsibilities under the act. Their decisions will be announced in due course.
    Equality Act Provisions that the government has decided not to take forward:

    • public sector duty regarding socio-economic inequalities
    • combined discrimination – dual characteristics

    Age discrimination

    The Equality Act 2010 includes provisions that ban age discrimination against adults in the provision of services and public functions. The ban came into force on 1 October 2012 and it is now unlawful to discriminate on the basis of age unless:

    • the practice is covered by an exception from the ban
    • good reason can be shown for the differential treatment (‘objective justification’)

    The ban on age discrimination is designed to ensure that the new law prohibits only harmful treatment that results in genuinely unfair discrimination because of age. It does not outlaw the many instances of different treatment that are justifiable or beneficial.

    You can read the original consultation on the archived Government Equalities Office website.

    There is an overview of how the ban works and tailored guides for small businesses, private clubs and the holiday sector in the Equality Act guidance.

    Age discrimination: exceptions

    The government response to the consultation includes the draft Exceptions Order. You can also read the impact assessment.

    Exceptions under the Order are:

    • age-based concessions
    • age-related holidays
    • age verification
    • clubs and associations concessions
    • financial services
    • immigration
    • residential park homes
    • sport

    These specific exceptions are in addition to:

    • general exceptions already allowed by the Act
    • positive action measures
    • ‘objective justification’

    There are no specific exceptions to the ban on age discrimination for health or social care services. This means that any age-based practices by the NHS and social care organisations need to be objectively justified, if challenged.

    Public sector Equality Duty
    The public sector Equality Duty came into force across Great Britain on 5 April 2011. It means that public bodies have to consider all individuals when carrying out their day-to-day work – in shaping policy, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees.

    It also requires that public bodies have due regard to the need to:

    • eliminate discrimination
    • advance equality of opportunity
    • foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities

    Who the Equality Duty applies to

    The Equality Duty applies across Great Britain to the public bodies listed in Schedule 19 (as amended), and to any other organisation when it is carrying out a public function.

    Specific duties
    The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 came into force on 10 September 2011.
    The specific duties require public bodies to publish relevant, proportionate information showing compliance with the Equality Duty, and to set equality objectives.

    Guidance for public bodies

    The Government Equalities Office has published 2 quick-start guides to help public bodies understand the Equality Duty and the specific duties:

    • Quick start guide: public sector Equality Duty
    • Quick start guide: Specific duties

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the statutory body established to help eliminate discrimination and reduce inequality. The Commission has published new non-statutory guidance on:


    Section 153 of the act enables the Welsh and Scottish ministers to impose specific duties on certain Welsh and Scottish public bodies through secondary legislation. For Welsh and cross-border Welsh public bodies, specific duties have been finalised by the Welsh Assembly government and came into force on 6 April 2011.

    The Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011

    For Scottish public bodies, the Scottish government launched a consultation on revised draft Regulations for specific duties on 9 September 2011. The consultation closed on 25 November 2011.

    More information from the Scottish Government

    Guidance on the Equality Duty specific to Wales and Scotland is available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    Equalities Act 2010: legislation

    Equality Act 2010 on the legislation.gov.uk website

    Explanatory notes on the legislation.gov.uk website

    Legislation repealed or revoked by the Equality Act

    A list of all legislation that was repealed or revoked on 1 October 2010 is available in Schedule 27 to the act.
    Equality Act Statutory Instruments

    Statutory Instruments made under the act are available:

    all UK Statutory Instruments related to the Equality Act on the legislation.gov.uk website
    all Welsh Statutory Instruments related to the Equality Act on the legislation.gov.uk website
    all Scottish Statutory Instruments related to the Equality Act on the legislation.gov.uk website

    Guidance on the Equality Act

    We have produced a series of guides outlining the key changes in the law made by the act .
    Attachment 13

    Guidance on Under 18’s
    (Note Ctl click on the underlined sections to reach formal link for the item)

    This guidance is to help our clubs keep young people safe whilst enjoying their training and diving with BSAC.
    For guidance on the safeguarding of young divers and snorkellers, please see the BSAC Safeguarding policy.
    All open water dives involving under 18s must be managed (on-site) by a suitably qualified diver over the age of 18.
    Supervision of divers over the age of 14 should follow the existing guidelines outlined in the BSAC Diver Training Programme.
    Dive Managers are reminded of the Duty of Care, subject to risk assessment, to provide sites and conditions suitable for all the divers in the diving group.
    BSAC clubs with members under the age of 18 are recommended to follow good practice by appointing a Branch Welfare Officer and adhere to the BSAC Safeguarding – Procedures and Guidelines (for clubs in Scotland this practice is required by law).

    Qualification limitations (for 10-14 years)

    Junior Diving Members, between the ages of 10 and 14, may train and dive with clubs and centres in BSAC. The following requirements are for those clubs who choose to welcome Junior Diving Members to train and dive.

    Qualification limitations (for 14+ years)
    Diver Training Programme
    There are no limitations on Diver Training, so over 14s can progress to Advanced Diver.
    There must be a responsible adult present when under 18s are diving (e.g., an under 18 could act as Dive Manager but would need adult support).

    Boat handling – minimum age 14.
    Diver Coxswain – minimum age 16.
    Compressor Operator – minimum age 16 (under adult supervision).
    Technical diver training for mixed gases (trimix) and CCR Rebreather training – minimum age 18.

    Instructor Training Scheme
    IFC & OWIC – minimum age 16.
    TIE & PIE – minimum age 18.
    Snorkel Instructor – students can do the SITCA and become full instructors at 16, but they can only teach under adult supervision.
    Challenge others if they feel that someone is behaving in a discriminatory manner (where it is safe to do so).
    Inform a Branch Officer or HQ if they believe they are being discriminated against or there are discriminatory practices in place.
    Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) England and Wales

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