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Adult Safeguarding Policy

Useful Contacts & Information

Kirkbymoorside Adult Safeguarding Officer     

Bob Sinclair

Tel: 01439 771834 

Mobile: 07483806238

Email:[email protected]


Safeguarding in Bowls Information

Bowls England Lead Safeguarding Officer

Helen Slimm : 07858 502191


Safeguarding Adults in Bowls Policy                            


Page No. 

3. Introduction & Policy Statement 

4. Legislation & Government Guidance 

5. Definitions 

    What is Abuse?

7. Signs of Abuse 

    Key Principles of the Care Act 2014 

    Person - Centred Safeguarding / Making        
     Safeguarding Personal  

8. Mental Capacity and Safeguarding

    Safeguarding Responsibilities in Bowls 

9. Roles of the BDA, NGBs, County Associations   and Clubs 

Good Coaching Practice 

11. Safer Recruitment of Staff and Volunteers 

      Safe and Fair Membership 

12. Implementation of Safeguarding in Bowls 

      Dealing with Concerns,


13.  Appendix 1 - Reporting and Managing    
       Concerns within the structure of Bowls 

16. Appendix 2 - Information Sharing and Data       Protection 

17. Appendix 3 - Good Practice Guides to Promote Safeguarding in Bowls  

18. Appendix 4 – Linked Policies 

19. Appendix 5 – Support Lines 

20. Key Abbreviations 

21. Version History 


The Bowls Development Alliance (BDA) and the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of bowls are committed to ensuring that everyone who participates in bowls can do so in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment.  All participants are entitled to feel safe and protected from any form of abuse and neglect.   

The BDA, as the umbrella organisation for the development of the sport of bowls, works with all the NGBs of bowls to provide a framework of policies and procedures which help ensure a safe environment for everyone to enjoy playing bowls.  Everyone in the bowls family has a part to play in safeguarding adults at risk who play our sport.  For the purposes of this policy and related procedures, the bowls family comprises:  the Bowls Development Alliance, the National Governing Bodies (Bowls England, British Crown Green Bowling Association, English Bowling Federation, English Indoor Bowling Association, English Short Mat Bowling Association), players, coaches, umpires/officials and supporters.   

The BDA and Bowls NGBs are committed to safeguarding adults in line with national legislation and relevant national and local guidelines. We will safeguard adults at risk by ensuring that our activities are delivered in a way which keeps all adults safe.  

We are committed to creating a culture of zero-tolerance of harm to adults which necessitates: the recognition of adults who may be at risk and the circumstances which may increase risk; knowing how adult abuse, exploitation or neglect manifests itself; and being willing to report safeguarding concerns. This extends to recognising and reporting harm experienced anywhere, including within our activities, within other organised community or voluntary activities, in the community, in the person’s own home and in any care setting.  

In each local authority area in England, the three safeguarding partners (local authorities, chief officers of police, and clinical commissioning groups) are responsible for making arrangements for working together with relevant agencies to safeguard and protect the welfare of adults at risk in the area. Some have retained Safeguarding Adults Boards while others have merged them into their Safeguarding Partnership. 

Policy Statement 


The BDA and Bowls NGBs believe everyone has the right to live free from abuse or neglect regardless of age, ability or disability, sex, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital or gender status.  We are committed to creating and maintaining a safe and positive environment and an open, listening culture where people feel able to share concerns without fear of retribution. 


The BDA and Bowls NGBs acknowledge that safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and are committed to prevent abuse and neglect through safeguarding the welfare of all adults involved in bowls.  Physical and mental health, well-being, ability, disability and need for care and support can affect a person’s resilience.  We recognise that some people experience barriers, for example, to communication in raising concerns or seeking help.   We recognise that all these factors can vary at different points in people’s lives.  


The BDA and Bowls NGBs recognise that there is a legal framework within which sports need to work to safeguard adults who have needs for care and support and for protecting those who are unable to take action to protect themselves and will act in accordance with the relevant safeguarding adult legislation and with local statutory safeguarding procedures.  

Actions taken by the BDA and Bowls NGBs will be consistent with the principles of adult safeguarding ensuring that any action taken is prompt, proportionate and that it includes and respects the voice of the adult concerned.  

Legislation and Government Guidance 

Safeguarding Adults in all home nations is compliant with United Nations directives on the rights of disabled people and commitments to the rights of older people.  It is covered by: 

•    The Human Rights Act 1998 •         The Data Protection Act 2018 •       General Data Protection Regulations 2018 

The practices and procedures within this policy are based on the relevant legislation and government guidance for England (There are some variations for other home nations – advice is available from the Ann Craft Trust).   

•    The Care Act 2014[1] •            Care and Support Statutory Guidance 2014[2] - (especially chapter 14)

•             The Prevent Duty[3] – The Prevent Duty is a legal duty introduced by the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015. The duty requires local authorities and other public bodies, such as schools, colleges, health, probation and police, to safeguard people from being drawn into terrorism. 

Many other pieces of legislation also affect adult safeguarding.  These include legislation about different forms of abuse and those that govern information sharing. For example, legislation dealing with:   

•             Murder/attempted murder 

•             Physical Assault 

•             Sexual Offences 

•             Domestic Abuse/Coercive Control 

•             Forced Marriage 

•             Female Genital Mutilation 

•             Theft and Fraud 

•             Modern Slavery and Human 


•             Hate Crime  

•             Online abuse 

•             Harassment 


•             Listing and Barring of those unsuitable to work with adults with care and support needs 

There is also legislation about the circumstances in which decisions can be made on behalf of an adult who is unable to make decisions for themselves: 

•             Mental Capacity Act 2005 

There are specific offences applying to the mistreatment of and sexual offences against adults who do not have Mental Capacity and specific offences where mistreatment is carried out by a person who is employed as a carer: e.g. wilful neglect and wilful mistreatment. 


•       An Adult at Risk is defined in The Care Act 2014 as: an individual aged 18 years and over who has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) AND; is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect, AND; as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect. 

•       Safeguarding adults is defined in Care and Support Statutory Guidance as:

protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances. 

What is Abuse? 

It is important to be aware of what constitutes abuse. Abuse is a form of maltreatment. The Care Act 2014 identifies categories of abuse as applied in England. There are some variations for the other countries of the United Kingdom. 

Adults may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or by others. Those in positions of trust such as relatives, community leaders, teachers or coaches can be perpetrators of abuse. 

Several types of abuse affecting adults are identified in the Care Act 2014: 

Physical abuse including: assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint, inappropriate physical sanctions. 

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, sexual assault, sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting. 

Psychological abuse including: emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation, unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks. 

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, the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits. 

Domestic violence including: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse, so called ‘honour’ based abuse. 

Modern slavery encompasses: slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude, traffickers and slave masters using whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. 

Discriminatory abuse including forms of: harassment, slurs or similar treatment: 

because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion. Neglect and acts of omission including: ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating. 

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.  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 illtreatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.  

Adults may also be victims of these types of abuse identified in separate legislation. 

Radicalisation - extremist groups make use of the internet to radicalise and recruit and to promote extremist materials. Extremism goes beyond terrorism and includes people who target the vulnerable – including adults at risk – by seeking to sow division between communities based on race, faith or denomination; justify discrimination towards women and girls; persuade others that minorities are inferior; or argue against the primacy of democracy and the rule of law in our society. 

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - a form of violence against women. FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. This is illegal in England and Wales under the FGM Act 2003. 

Forced Marriage - a forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses do not (or, in the case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. It is different to an arranged marriage where the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses.  Forced marriage is illegal in the UK. 

Honour based abuse - a broad umbrella term used to describe a combination of practices used principally to control and punish the behaviour of a member of a family or social group, in order to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs in the name of ‘honour’. 

Hazing - any activity expected of someone in joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person's willingness to participate.

Abuse can take place within a sporting context and the person causing harm might be any other person. For example: a member of staff, a coach, a volunteer, a participant or a fan. 

Some examples of abuse within sport include: 

•       harassment of a participant because of their (perceived) disability or other protected characteristics, 

•       not meeting the needs of the participant e.g. training without a necessary break, 

•       a coach intentionally striking an athlete, 

•       one elite participant controlling another athlete with threats of withdrawal from their partnership, 

•       an official, coach or other participant who sends unwanted sexually explicit text messages, 

•       a participant threatens another participant with physical harm and persistently 

blames them for poor performance. 

Abuse or neglect outside sport could be carried out by:  

•       a spouse, partner or family member, 

•       neighbours or residents, 

•       friends, acquaintances or strangers, 

•       people who deliberately exploit adults they perceive as vulnerable, 

•       paid staff, professionals or volunteers providing care and support. 

Often the perpetrator is known to the adult and may be in a position of trust and/or power. 

Signs of Abuse 

There are a number of signs that may indicate that an adult is being abused: 

•       unexplained bruises, cuts or injuries – or lack of medical attention when an injury is present, 

•       person has belongings or money going missing, 

•       person is not attending / no longer enjoying their sessions and is not responding to reminders from team members or coaches, 

•       someone losing or gaining weight / an unkempt appearance or a deterioration in personal hygiene, 

•       a change in the behaviour or confidence of a person, for example, a participant may be looking quiet and withdrawn when a relative comes to collect them from sessions in contrast to their personal assistant whom they greet with a smile, 

•       a fear of a particular group of people or individual, 

•       a parent/carer always speaks for the person and doesn’t allow them to make their own choices, 

•       they may tell you / another person they are being abused – i.e. a disclosure.  

Key Principles of the Care Act 2014 

●       Empowerment - People being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and informed consent. 

●       Prevention – It is better to take action before harm occurs. 

●       Proportionality – The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented. 

●       Protection – Support and representation for those in greatest need. 

●       Partnership – Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse

●       Accountability – Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding.

Person - Centred Safeguarding / Making Safeguarding Personal  

Legislation recognises that adults make choices that may mean that one part of our well-being suffers at the expense of another – for example we move away from friends and family to take a better job. Similarly, adults can choose to risk their personal safety; for example, to provide care to a partner with dementia who becomes abusive when they are disorientated and anxious.  

None of us can make these choices for another adult. If we are supporting someone to make choices about their own safety we need to understand ‘What matters’ to them and what outcomes they want to achieve from any actions agencies take to help them to protect themselves. 

The concept of ‘Person Centred Safeguarding’/’Making Safeguarding Personal’ means engaging the person in a conversation about how best to respond to their situation in a way that enhances their involvement, choice and control, as well as improving their quality of life, wellbeing and safety.  Organisations work to support adults to achieve the outcomes they want for themselves.  The adult’s views, wishes, feelings and beliefs must be taken into account when decisions are made about how to support them to be safe. There may be many different ways to prevent further harm.  Working with the person will mean that actions taken help them to find the solution that is right for them. Treating people with respect, enhancing their dignity and supporting their ability to make decisions also helps promote people's sense of self-worth and supports recovery from abuse.  

If someone has difficulty making their views and wishes known, then they can be supported or represented by an advocate.  This might be a safe family member or friend of their choice or a professional advocate (usually from a third sector organisation). 

Mental Capacity and Safeguarding 

Mental Capacity is important for safeguarding for several reasons. 

Not being allowed to make decisions one is capable of making is abuse.  For example, a disabled adult may want to take part in an activity but their parent who is their carer won’t allow them to and will not provide the support they would need.  Conversely the adult may not seem to be benefiting from an activity other people are insisting they do. 

Another situation is where an adult is being abused and they are scared of the consequences of going against the views of the person abusing them.  It is recognised in the law as coercion and a person can be seen not to have mental capacity because they cannot make ‘free and informed decisions’. 

Mental Capacity must also be considered when we believe abuse or neglect might be taking place.  It is important to make sure an ‘adult at risk’ has choices in the actions taken to safeguard them, including whether or not they want other people informed about what has happened, however, in some situations the adult may not have the mental capacity to understand the choice or to tell you their views.   

If a person who has a lot of difficulty making their own decisions is thought to be being abused or neglected the situation should be referred to the Local Authority, and this should result in health or social care professionals making an assessment of mental capacity and/or getting the person the support they need to make decisions. 

There may be times when a bowls club or organisation needs to make decisions on behalf of an individual in an emergency.  Decisions taken in order to safeguard an adult who cannot make the decision for themselves could include:  

•       Sharing information about safeguarding concerns with people that can help protect them, 

•       Stopping them being in contact with the person causing harm. 

Safeguarding Responsibilities in Bowls  

Safeguarding adults at risk is everyone’s responsibility.  To fulfil their commitment to safeguarding, all organisations must have: 

•       a senior board level member to take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements, 

•       at least one identified lead safeguarding practitioner who can advise and support others when a safeguarding concern arises, 

•       a culture of listening and believing where abusive situations are being disclosed, 

•       safe recruitment practices for individuals whom the organisation will permit to work regularly with adults at risk, including policies on when to obtain a criminal record (DBS) check, 

•       codes of conduct for all relevant participants which clearly support the paramountcy of safeguarding, 

•       clear whistleblowing procedures which are suitably referenced in staff training and codes of conduct, and a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all members to be addressed, 

•       clear policies in line with those from the Local Safeguarding Partnership (LSP) for dealing with allegations against people who work with adults at risk, 

•       clear information sharing arrangements which set out the processes for sharing information, with relevant professionals and with the LSP, 

•       appropriate supervision and support for staff, including undertaking safeguarding training.  

Roles of the BDA, NGBs, County Associations and Clubs 

Within the sport of bowls, some people and organisations have specific responsibilities. 

The Bowls Development Alliance  

The BDA, working together with the bowls NGB’s has developed these guidelines on behalf of the sport of bowls. All of the NGB’s have adopted this policy and associated procedures. The BDA works to: 

•       develop and maintain up to date policies and guidelines on safeguarding for the sport of bowls, 

•       ensure that bowls has clear and consistent safeguarding policies and procedures across all the National Governing Bodies of the sport, 

•       communicate these guidelines across the family of bowls, 

•       ensure that these policies and procedures are reviewed at least every year or whenever there is a major change in legislation applicable to any of the organisations within bowls, 

•       ensure that all bowls organisations have clear roles and responsibilities within the process of safeguarding, 

•       support the safeguarding leads within the NGBs, county associations and clubs by offering advice and guidance on any safeguarding queries or concerns, 

•       support the safeguarding leads within the NGBs, county associations and clubs by arranging and chairing a regular case management group and a safeguarding steering group and through telephone/email support from the BDA Lead Safeguarding Officer. 

The National Governing Bodies of Bowls 

Each National Governing Body must ensure that everyone is protected and kept safe whilst participating in the sport of bowls. 

They will: 

•       appoint a Safeguarding Officer to act as the primary safeguarding referral route for their County Associations and affiliated clubs,

•       through the BDA, provide guidance on safeguarding for adults at risk and all those participating in the sport, 

•       adopt safe practice in the recruitment, training and supervision of staff, coaches and volunteers, 

•       advise County Associations and bowls clubs on best practice and recommend they adopt the BDA safeguarding guidelines and the minimum standards laid down in appropriate codes of conduct, 

•       respond to allegations, concerns and complaints relating to safeguarding, 

•       receive and record securely, notification of any safeguarding concerns within their county associations or clubs, 

•       provide advice to their counties and clubs on how to manage the safeguarding process, 

•       liaise with the BDA Lead Safeguarding Officer regarding any safeguarding cases requiring onward referral to statutory agencies, 

•       Create a CMG specific to their code or put forwarded names to form a ‘pool list of’ CMG volunteers to be called upon by each NGB, 

•       Provide lead reports to the BDA CMG for any serious concerns related to members of their code 

•       provide safeguarding data to the BDA Lead Safeguarding Officer to assist in their provision of safeguarding reports to the BDA Board. 

County Associations (where relevant) 

County Associations have direct responsibility for the welfare of those involved in bowls activities organised by the County with support from their National Governing Body. They should: 

•       nominate a County Safeguarding Officer who is suitably trained, 

•       adopt safe practice in the recruitment, training and supervision of staff, coaches and volunteers, 

•       promote safeguarding education and training across the county, 

•       promote the use of the The BDA safeguarding policies and linked guidelines to develop best practice and communicate key basic procedures to all clubs in their county, 

•       report all concerns, allegations or complaints in the County to the NGB Safeguarding Officer. 

Affiliated Clubs 

All clubs must ensure they have safeguarding procedures in place.  

Clubs should: 

•       adopt The BDA safeguarding policies and procedures, 

•       adopt safe practice in the recruitment, training and supervision of staff, coaches and volunteers, 

•       nominate and advertise to members the existence of a Club Safeguarding Officer, 

•       promote safeguarding training opportunities to the Club Safeguarding Officer and other club members, 

•       have a safe and fair membership policy. 

Club/County Safeguarding Officers 

Club/County Safeguarding Officers should be: 

•       given access to information and training appropriate to this role, 

•       clearly identified to all members with their contact details and preferably a photograph, via handbooks, web sites, noticeboards or similar, 

•       the first port of call for any member of the bowls club or county association to report a safeguarding concern, 

•       promoting safeguarding information to their county association or club members, 

•       reporting all safeguarding concerns to the NGB Safeguarding Officer 

A Club Safeguarding Officer is not required to make a judgement regarding an incident but to report it to the County Safeguarding Officer and/or NGB Safeguarding Officer (as appropriate).  

Similarly a County Safeguarding Officer should report any concerns to their NGB Safeguarding Officer.  Channeling all safeguarding concerns through NGB Safeguarding Officers should provide for a consistent approach across the sport of bowls and also allow for analysis of patterns and any training gaps. 

Good Coaching Practice 

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

It is very important that all coaches read this Policy and any related procedures and are aware of the process to follow, to deal with any concerns. All coaches have an outline to safeguarding included within their Level 1 or 2 coaching course and are recommended to attend a Coach Bowls Safeguarding Course[4]

Joint guidance was produced by sports coach UK and the Child Protection in Sport Unit in 2010 outlining best practice guidelines for coaches. 

It stressed the need for ratios for 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. 

Physical contact should be avoided in coaching.  A responsible coach should only use physical contact if it’s aim is to: develop sports skills or techniques, treat an injury, prevent an injury or accident from occurring or meet the requirements of the sport. They should explain the reason for the physical contact, reinforcing the teaching or coaching skill. Unless the situation is an emergency, the coach should ask the player for permission. 

The Coach should hold an appropriate qualification, comply with minimum age requirements, have relevant insurance cover and have read and understood this Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy, the Safeguarding Children Policy plus the following policies of their NGB: 

•       Code of conduct for coaches 

•       Equality Policy 

•       Health and Safety Policy 

Safer Recruitment of Staff and Volunteers 

Safer recruitment is a vital part of creating a safe and positive environment and making a commitment to keep adults at risk as well as children safe from harm.  Bowls clubs and organisations use safe recruitment practices and continually assesses the suitability of volunteers and staff to prevent the employment/deployment of unsuitable individuals in sport of bowls. 

Safer recruitment should be a continuing process of improvement for every club or organisation whose work or services involve contact with children or adults at risk. The Ann Craft Trust provides clear guidance on safer recruitment[5]

Ensuring that staff and volunteers recruited are safe to work with adults at risk and children involves several practices including the application process, interview, criminal records checks (if appropriate), references and induction process. 

A DBS check is not typically required for staff or volunteers recruited to work with adults however it could be sensible under certain circumstances.  The Ann Craft Trust provides a helpful flowchart[6] which clubs, county associations and NGBs should use in deciding if this should be done.  

Safe and Fair Membership 

Bowls clubs and County Associations should promote a safe culture through their membership policy.  This policy should adhere to the guidance for National Governing Bodies in Sport jointly produced by the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) and the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) of the NSPCC[7]

Safeguarding concerns may relate to the membership or proposed membership of people with criminal records, unspent convictions or court cases, particularly in relation to sexual or violent offences.  In this type of situation, membership may be still appropriate but a risk assessment should be conducted.  Membership may be suspended while such a risk assessment is conducted. The guidance booklet contains a flow chart to support membership decisions in these circumstances and a risk assessment template to use.  Clubs and County Associations should seek support from their NGB and they in turn can ask for support from the BDA. 

Implementation of Safeguarding in Bowls 

•       The BDA will update and share this Safeguarding Adults at Risk in Bowls Policy and other related policies and guidelines. 

•       National Governing Bodies should send these Safeguarding in Bowls Policies and related guidance to all County Associations or directly to clubs. 

•       County Associations (if relevant) should support clubs in developing and communicating this information. 

•       Clubs should complete the “Club Checklist” (BDA Template 3) to help them identify areas of development within the club, with the support of the County and/or National Governing Body. 

•       Clubs should communicate relevant information about the Safeguarding in Bowls Policies and procedures to all their members.  This might be a summary document which identifies how the full policy and procedures can be accessed. 

•       Clubs should appoint a Club Safeguarding Officer to lead on the development of safeguards within the club and respond to any concerns. They should ensure that their contact details and preferably a photo are available to all members. 

Dealing with Concerns, Disclosures or Allegations  

Abuse can and does occur in a variety of situations, which may include sport or other social activities. Most adults at risk are abused by someone known to them. This may be within or outside of the bowls context. Concerns may arise from someone expressing concerns or by something observed that raises issues.  These may be about an adult, a perceived risk to other adults or the behaviour of a member of a bowls club or organization towards an adult at risk. 

It is important that those involved in bowls are vigilant about concerns, and that appropriate action is taken.  The relevant Safeguarding Officer should be informed about any concerns or allegations (at club or county level initially) unless they are implicated themselves – in which case another committee member should be contacted or the relevant NGB Safeguarding Officer directly.  However, in the case of an adult disclosing a situation affecting themselves, they can ask for this not to go any further. In these circumstances, an individual could consult with a Safeguarding Officer without providing the name or identifying details of the person who made the disclosure.  They can seek additional advice from their NGB Safeguarding Officer and through them the BDA Lead Safeguarding Officer.   

Mental Capacity must be considered when we believe abuse or neglect might be taking place.  It is important to make sure an ‘adult at risk’ has choices in the actions taken to safeguard them, including whether or not they want other people informed about what has happened, however, in some situations the adult may not have the mental capacity to understand the choice or to make their views known.  Referral may also be required if children are at risk in the situation. 

It is not the responsibility of those working in or playing bowls to make judgements as to whether or not abuse is occurring or to assess mental capacity. It is however part of their duty of care to act on any concerns about an adult’s welfare related to their own observations or things they have been told.  The adult concerned should be advised that the question surrounding their welfare is best referred to a Safeguarding Officer for support.  If they do not give their permission to do so, their views should be respected but guidance should still be sought from a Safeguarding Officer without mentioning any details which would identify the individual concerned. 

Not all concerns about an adult relate to abuse – many relate to lower-level concerns or poor practice and can be dealt with internally, using disciplinary structures, with the support of the NGB if appropriate.  Listening to and logging lower-level concerns is important as it may be inadvertent or thoughtless but could be ultimately intended to enable abuse.   

All information received and discussed about an adult must be treated in confidence and only shared with those individuals within the organisation with a designated safeguarding role.  They may then need to seek advice or inform the statutory agencies e.g. Adult Social Care or the Police.  Calls to the police should use 101 unless it is an emergency requiring a 999 call.  The Ann Craft Trust Helpline (0115 951 5400 ) can be contacted to talk through any concerns that arise.  The adult themselves can be directed to appropriate helplines listed in appendix 4.             

Responding to a Concern 

If you have any concerns about an adult’s welfare you should inform the club’s or                  

organisation’s Safeguarding Officer.  If they are implicated themselves, inform a 

 committee member instead or the NGB Safeguarding Officer directly.   

Do not investigate your concerns or keep them to yourself. It is NOT your responsibility to decide if a situation is poor practice, abuse or bullying, but it IS your           responsibility to report your concerns.  Your report need not involve the person’s  name or identifying details.   

Disclosures by an adult themselves Allegations about an individual 

To retain the integrity of the sport of bowls, given that individuals can and do play, coach or officiate within more than one code, it is important that all organisations apply the same procedures regarding

If an adult talks about a concern or abuse to a club or organisation member, the club member should be advised to: 

•       stay calm and keep an open mind, listen very carefully to what is being said and take the matter seriously 

•       as soon as possible record in writing what was said using the person’s own words 

•       do not make promises that cannot be kept 

•       ask only open questions eg.’ Is there anything else you want to tell me? or 

‘What did you mean by the word xxxxx?’  

•       do not ask leading questions that may compromise any future actions eg. ‘Did they hit you?’ 

•       reassure the adult that they have done the right thing telling you and ask them what they would like you to do next 

•       explain that you would prefer to find support for them through the relevant Safeguarding Officer(s) 

•       if they are uncertain about involving a Safeguarding Officer, discuss the consequences of not sharing the information eg. could someone else come to harm? (there are circumstances where consent can be overridden – appendix 2) 

•       give careful consideration as to whether a relative or carer should be informed of the concern at that stage - if they are responsible for the abuse or are unable to respond to the situation appropriately then this could put the adult at greater risk. 

If there is an allegation about an individual that relates to their behaviour towards, suitability to work/ volunteer with or participate alongside adults at risk, (including observed behaviour, information about a police investigation, court case or conviction) the club or association should ensure this is reported to the Safeguarding Officer at the club or county association.  They should then inform the Safeguarding Officer at their NGB who will: 

•       ascertain the source of the information; eg. self disclosure, word of mouth, online, newspaper, police or offender management services (Youth Offending Team, Probation Service, mental health team), 

•       speak to the individual concerned about the allegation,

•       ask the individual to stop working/volunteering/participating immediately whilst a full investigation is carried out. This is a neutral action, not intended to assign guilt and is to protect all parties involved, 

•       conduct an investigation to gain the fullest available information; this may involve interviewing the individual concerned, witnesses of any observed behaviour or obtaining information from official sources, 

•       conduct a risk assessment using the template from the BDA website which will consider the risks posed and any safeguards that are or could be put into place, 

•       consider temporary suspension of membership if risks cannot be managed within the club(s) concerned while investigations take place,

•       use the relevant disciplinary policy and procedures for the NGB(s) involved if necessary, 

•       the NGB(s) Case Management Group or BDA Case Management Group 

(depending on the level of concern) will assess whether it is appropriate for the person to return to working/volunteering/participating and how this will be managed. They will assess on a case-by-case basis any support needed for the person about whom the allegations have been made. 

•       an independent person may be appointed to give this support. 

The joint publication by the CPSU and NACRO on making safe and fair membership decisions in sports organisations (see footnote 7) provides excellent detailed guidance with key reference to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

Appendix 1 – Reporting and Managing Safeguarding Concerns within Bowls 

If a Safeguarding Officer at any of the stages above is implicated in the reported issue, the Safeguarding Officer at the next stage should be informed instead.  If this is not possible, another appropriate senior official of the relevant NGB or the BDA should be informed. 

All concerns or allegations must be treated with the utmost confidentiality.  Until the allegations are substantiated only those directly involved in investigating the case should be informed. If the allegation is shown to be unfounded, confidentiality must still be maintained. 


If an individual member is unhappy with the conclusions of an investigation into alleged safeguarding concerns they can appeal the decision using the Appeals procedure contained within the relevant NGB Disciplinary Procedure or BDA Complaints Procedure. 

Appendix 2 – Information Sharing and Data Protection Recording and Information Sharing  

All sports organisation must comply with the Data Protection Act (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).  Information about concerns of abuse includes personal data.  It is therefore important to be clear as to the grounds for processing and sharing information about concerns of abuse.  

Processing information includes record keeping. Records relating to safeguarding concerns must be accurate and relevant.  They must be stored confidentially with access only to those with a need to know.  

Sharing information, with the right people, is central to good practice in safeguarding adults at risk. However, information sharing must only ever be with those with a ‘need to know’. This does NOT automatically include the persons spouse, partner, adult, child, unpaid or paid carer.  Information should only be shared with family and friends and/or carers with the consent of the adult or if the adult does not have capacity to make that decision and family/ friends/ carers need to know in order to help keep the person safe. 

The purpose of Data Protection legislation is not to prevent information sharing but to ensure personal information is only shared appropriately.  Data protection legislation allows information sharing within an organisation. For example: 

•       Anyone who has a concern about harm can make a report to an appropriate person within the same organisation  

•       Case management meetings can take place to agree to co-ordinate actions by the organisation 

There are also many situations in which it is perfectly legal to share information about adult safeguarding concerns outside the organisation. Importantly personal information can be shared with the consent of the adult concerned. However, the adult may not always want information to be shared.  This may be because they fear repercussions from the person causing harm or are scared that they will lose control of their situation to statutory bodies or because they feel stupid or embarrassed. Their wishes should be respected unless there are over-riding reasons for sharing information. 

The circumstances when we need to share information without the adult’s consent include those where: 

•       it is not safe to contact the adult to gain their consent – i.e. it might put them or the person making contact at further risk. 

•       you believe they or someone else is at risk, including children. 

•       you believe the adult is being coerced or is under duress. 

•       it is necessary to contact the police to prevent a crime, or to report that a serious crime has been committed. 

•       the adult does not have mental capacity to consent to information being shared about them. 

•       the person causing harm has care and support needs. 

•       the concerns are about an adult at risk living in Wales or Northern Ireland (where there is a duty to report to the Local Authority). 

When information is shared without the consent of the adult this must be explained to them, when it is safe to do so, and any further actions should still fully include them. 

If you are in doubt as to whether to share information seek advice e.g. seek legal advice and/or contact the Local Authority and explain the situation without giving personal details about the person at risk or the person causing harm. Any decision to share or not to share information with an external person or organisation must be recorded together with the reasons to share or not share information. 

The Bowls Development Alliance is participating in the Sport England Case Management Project which requires sharing of anonymised case management data with Sport Resolution & the National Safeguarding Panel. 

Appendix 3 – Good Practice Guides to promote Safeguarding in Bowls 


BDA Template / Guideline number 

Physical Contact 

Guideline 8 

Managing Challenging Behaviour 

Guideline 7 

Residential arrangements 

Guideline 5  

Code of Conduct (Coaches) 

Template 3 

Code of Conduct (Players/Members) 

Template 3 

Code of Conduct (Officials & Volunteers) 

Template 3             

 Appendix 4 – Linked Policies 


BDA Document Location 

Whistle Blowing 



Anti-Bullying Policy 



Complaints and Appeals 

Complaints Procedure BowlsDevelopment Alliance

Disciplinaries in relation to safeguarding issues 

Under construction 

Safeguarding Children Policy 

Resources Bowls DevelopmentAlliance

Safe and Fair Membership 

Under construction 

Data Protection - Information Sharing - Privacy 

Privacy Policy Bowls DevelopmentAlliance

Safe Recruitment 



Health & Safety 

Under construction 


Equality Policy Bowls DevelopmentAlliance            

Appendix 5 – Support lines 

Support Organisation 


Contact Details 

Action on Elder Abuse 

Aims to prevent the abuse of older people  

020 8765 7000 

[email protected]

Ann Craft Trust 

Adult Safeguarding (plus safeguarding children) 

0115 951 5400 


[email protected]

Anti - Bullying Alliance 

Support with bullying issues 

[email protected] 


Support for families who have experienced trauma 

01788 560 800 

Citizens Advice Bureau 

Free information and advice on legal and other problems  

03444 111 444 

Karma Nirvana 

Support and advice re honour based abuse and forced marriage 

0800 5999 247 

LGBT Foundation 

Support for LGBTQ+ issues

0300 330 0630 

Men’s Advice Line 

For male domestic abuse survivors 

0808 801 0327 

National Association for the Care and Resettlement of 

Offenders (NACRO) 

Advice on working with those with criminal convictions 

0300 123 1889 

Rape Crisis 

Information for survivors of sexual violence and their friends and family



Support for victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse who have learning disabilities 

0808 808 0700  [email protected]  


An organisation providing volunteers to listen when people need help 

Freephone 116 123 


Information and support for LGBTQ+ communities  

0800 0502020 

Stop Hate Crime   

Challenges all forms of hate crime and discrimination 

0800 138 1625 [email protected] 

Suzy Lamplugh Trust  

Leading authority on personal safety. 

020 83921839 [email protected] 

Victim Support  

Practical advice and support for those who have suffered the effects of a crime.   

0808 168 9111 

Women’s Aid Federation  

National domestic violence charity  

01236 730992              

Key abbreviations found in this document 


Ann Craft Trust  - Leading UK Authority on Safeguarding 


Adult Social Care 


Bowls Development Alliance 


British Crown Green Bowls Association 


Bowls England 


Case Management Group 


Disclosure & Barring Service (formally known as CRB) 


English Bowling Federation 


English Indoor Bowling Association Ltd 


English Short Mat Bowling Association 


General Data Protection Regulation 


Local Authority Designated Officer 


Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub 

NACRO National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders 

NGB          National Governing Body 

NSPCC National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children 

SO             Safeguarding Officer (NGBs, Counties and clubs) 

SP             Safeguarding Partnership (formerly the Local Safeguarding 

Children Board - LSCB) 

Version History 

Version 1

First Approved: 

December 2021 

Last reviewed: 

November 2021 

Date of next review:

November 2022 

Review History 

Date of Review 


December 2021 

Version 1 created and approved for use 

Revision History 


Change Log 


New policy created to separate policies for children and adults 

December 2021 

[1] Care Act 2014 (

[2] Care and support statutory guidance GOV.UK (

[3] Revised Prevent duty guidance: for England and Wales GOV.UK (

[4] Safeguarding in Bowls Coach Bowls

[5] Safe Recruitment Process ACT (

[6] ACT-DBS-Flowchart-Adults-final-111219.pdf (

[7] nacro-making-safe-and-fair-decisions-about-membership.pdf (

Adult Safeguarding Officer Adult Safeguarding Officer