Safeguarding Bowls

Adults at Risk Policy

December 2015







Item                                                                                                     Page

Key abbreviations                                                                               

Introduction                                                                                          1

Principles                                                                                             2

Guidance and legislation                                                                     3

Definitions                                                                                            2

Types of abuse                                                                                    3

Signs and indicators of abuse                                                             4

Concerns                                                                                             4

Roles and responsibilities                                                                    5

Safer recruitment                                                                                5

Whistle blowing                                                                                    5

Records and Information                                                                     7

Further information                                                                              6

Version Control                                                                                    10




Key abbreviations found in this document

BDA           Bowls Development Alliance

BCGBA      British Crown Green Bowling Association

BE              Bowls England

CMG          Case Management Group

CPO           Welfare Officer/Child Protection Officer

CPSU         Child Protection in Sport Unit

CSC           Children’s Social Care (formerly known as Social Services)

CSP           County Sports Partnership

DBS           Disclosure & Barring Service (formally known as CRB)

EBF            English Bowls Federation

EIBA           English Indoor Bowling Association Ltd

ESMBA      English Short Mat Bowling Association

LSCB         Local Safeguarding Children’s Board

NGB           National Governing Body

NSPCC      National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children




Safeguarding Bowls – Adults at Risk


The Bowls Development Alliance (BDA) is the umbrella organisation for the development of the sport of bowls. It has developed Safeguarding Bowls in partnership with the National Governing Bodies of bowls – to ensure a safe environment for adults at risk to enjoy playing bowls.

Everyone in the sport of bowls has a part to play in safeguarding adults at risk. This policy includes guidelines for all those involved in the sport of bowls to ensure that everyone is aware of the structures and systems in place to make bowls an enjoyable and safe experience. It also contains guidance on how to respond to any concerns that may emerge.

Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding Bowls has produced a separate Safeguarding Policy specifically for use when caring for people aged under 18 that may be viewed and/or downloaded at:


The guidance given in this Policy is based on the following principles:

All adults, regardless of age, ability or disability, gender, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital or transgender status have the right to be protected from abuse and poor practice and to play bowls in an enjoyable and safe environment.

The BDA and NGB’s will seek to ensure that the sport is inclusive and make reasonable adjustments for any ability, disability or impairment, and also commit to continuous development, monitoring and review.

The rights, dignity and worth of all adults will always be respected.

The BDA and NGB’s partners recognise that ability and disability can change over time, such that some adults may be additionally vulnerable to abuse, for example those who have a dependency on others or have different communication needs.

The BDA and NGB’s partners recognise that disabled adults may or may not identify themselves or be identified as an adult ‘at risk’.

Everyone involved in bowls has a shared responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all adults and should act appropriately and report concerns whether these concerns arise within bowls (e.g. inappropriate behaviour of a coach) or outside (e.g. in the wider community).

All allegations will be taken seriously and responded to quickly, in line with this Policy.

All affiliated clubs of NGBs are asked to appoint an appropriate named person to ensure that best practice is promoted and that implementation of this Policy is supported at each level of the sport.

Guidance and legislation

The practices and procedures within this Policy are based on the principles contained within UK and international legislation and current Government Guidance. It has been developed to complement the Safeguarding Bowls Policy and supporting guidance, and take the following into consideration:

·         Data Protection Acts 1994 and 1998

·         Human Rights Act 1998

·         Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

·         Equality Act 2010

·         Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

·         Sexual Offences Act 2003

·         Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004

·         Mental Capacity Act 2005

·         Care Act 2014

·         No Secrets Guidance 2000

·         Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012

·         Care and Support Statutory Guidance 2014


To assist working through and understanding this Policy a number of key definitions need to be explained:

Adults are people over the age of eighteen years of age.

An adult at risk has previously been referred to as a vulnerable adult; this is now considered to be inappropriate terminology. The adults referred to in this document are adults at risk using the definition from the Safeguarding Adults in Sport Steering Group (2013):

‘When we are speaking about adults at risk we are referring to those who have health or social care needs (irrespective of whether or not those needs are being met by social services) and who are unable to safeguard themselves as a result. While we recognise that some people will be vulnerable due to their learning disability or mental health needs, there are also those adults who are at risk due to a specific circumstance they may find themselves in, for example: domestic abuse; forced marriage; and sexual or commercial exploitation (this is not an exhaustive list).’

Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons. See type of abuse for further explanations.

At risk is a term meaning that someone may be more vulnerable to abuse than someone else. For example, an adult with a learning disability may well be more at risk of financial abuse as they may struggle with managing their finances, this could leave them at risk from an unscrupulous person.

Capacity refers to the ability to make a decision at a particular time, for example when under considerable stress. The starting assumption must always be that a person has the capacity to make a decision, unless it can be established that they lack capacity.

Types of abuse

Discrimination – discrimination is abuse which centres on a difference or perceived difference particularly with respect to race, gender or disability or any of the Protected Characteristics of the Equality Act 2010. Research tells us that bullying of vulnerable groups can be an issue in sport.

Emotional Abuse/Psychological – this includes threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.

Financial Abuse – including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Organisational Abuse – Neglect, poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, poor practice in relation to care provided in one's own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.

Physical Abuse – includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, and misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions.

Sexual Abuse – this includes Rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into.

Domestic – includes psychological and so called 'honour' based violence

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

Neglect – including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and hearing.

Self-Neglect – covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care one one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding

Signs and indicators of abuse

Abuse can take place in any context and by all manner of perpetrator. There are many signs and indicators that may suggest someone is being abused, these include but are not limited to:

·         Unexplained bruises 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 bowls sessions

·         Someone losing or gaining weight / an unkempt appearance

·         A change in the behaviour or confidence of a person

·         They may self-harm

·         They may have a fear of a particular group or individual

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

What to do if you have a concern or someone raises concerns with you

You may become aware that abuse or poor practice is taking place, suspect abuse or poor practice may be occurring, or be told about something that may be abuse or poor practice and you must report this.

It is recognised that it is not always easy to identify the best person to share your concerns with, therefore the following may help:

·         Every club should have an appropriate named person and you should report the matter to them in the first instance.

·         If you are concerned someone is in immediate danger please contact the Police.

·         Contact your NGB Designated Safeguarding Officer for further advice and support.

Safeguarding Bowls has produced an Initial Concern/Issue Reporting Form that may be used to record the concern. This should be completed accordingly and sent to your NGB Designated Safeguarding Officer to consider. They will provide support and guidance for anyone reporting this type of information.

It is important when considering your concern that you also consider the needs and wishes of the person at risk, taking into account the nature of the issue or concern.

Roles and responsibilities of those within bowls

The NGB Designated Safeguarding Officer will take seriously all allegations and concerns raised. The information provided will be referred to the Local Safeguarding Adults Board. The LSAB is responsible for ensuring the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures are effective and prevent adults from experiencing significant harm.

Safer recruitment of people working with adults and adults at risk

Those involved with adults at risk must ensure that appropriate recruitment procedures are followed when recruiting new volunteers and employees. It is always useful to have full and clear job descriptions and to carry out an interview, even when filling a volunteer position. In general, coaches working with adults will not be required or eligible for a DBS check as they are not in Regulated Activity

If a coach is working with adults at risk they may be in Regulated Activity as defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 they will need a DBS disclosure checking the Adults barred lists.

Regulated Activity with adults at risk includes providing health care, personal care, social work and assistance with people’s personal affairs, whether household or financial, and driving.

Whistle blowing

The BDA and NGB’s are committed to the highest possible standards of openness, honesty and accountability. In line with that commitment, all members are encouraged to come forward and voice any concerns. It is recognised that certain cases will have to proceed on a confidential basis

All suspicions and allegations of abuse or poor practice must be taken seriously, appropriately reported and managed accordingly. It is recognised that strong emotions can be aroused, particularly in cases where any form of abuse or poor practice is suspected or where there is loyalty, sometimes misplaced, to a colleague or someone who is known to you. Where an individual feels unable to report concerns internally they should contact the police, adult social care or any of the additional contacts given at the end of this document.

Individuals may be reluctant to express concerns because they fear harassment or victimisation. In these circumstances it is important to understand these feelings but not to allow them to interfere with the need to ensure that concerns are reported appropriately. Individuals reporting concerns will be supported by their relevant NGB.

All information received will be treated in confidence and only shared on a need to know basis with those individuals who will be able to manage the situation. On occasion it may be necessary to seek advice, or inform the statutory agencies e.g. the Police or Local Authority Adult Services

Further information

Policies, procedures and supporting information relating to this Policy are available on the Safeguarding Bowls website:

The Safeguarding Bowls Group consists of:

BDA                            Susan Cooper   

BE                               Alistair Hollis      

EBF                             Mike Warriner   

EIBA                            Joanne Shore   

ESMBA                       Barry Hedges   

BCGBA                       Paul Ashmore                  


It is important that anyone who is involved in safeguarding should develop their awareness of the subject. It is recommended that they attend training relevant to their role.

·         Sports coach UK (Three-hour course).

This course is available at a local level and organised by the County Sport Partnership. It provides a basic understanding and awareness of safeguarding and is ideal for any member – including coaches, volunteers and club welfare officers – who wish to learn about safeguarding. Contact details for your nearest County Sport Partnership can be found at:

·         Safeguarding in Bowls ‘Time to Listen’ (Four-hour course).

This is a bowls-specific workshop designed to support club welfare officers. The workshop uses easy to follow, practical, bowls-related examples and case studies to enables attendees to fully understand their role in the club, and how they can effectively safeguard young people in their care. The course has been developed by the Child Protection in Sport Unit of the NSPCC and administered by the Bowls Development Alliance. For more information go to


Records and Information

Information passed to the CSC or the Police must be as helpful as possible - hence the necessity for making a detailed record at the time of the disclosure or concern will help you to ensure that all relevant details can be reported.

Reporting the matter to the Police or CSC should not be delayed by attempts to obtain more information.

·         Wherever possible, referrals telephoned to CSC must be confirmed in writing within 24 hours.

·         A record must also be made of the name and designation of the CSC officer or Police Officer to whom the concerns were passed, together with the time and date of the call, in case any follow-up is needed.  Use the template form provided in Template 13

·         A copy of this information should be sent to the NGB Designated Safeguarding Officer.

If advice is required on any aspect of the contents of these Guidelines, your NGB CPO should be available for advice, and useful contact details are as follows.

Additional Information

You can access any of the information through your relevant NGB website:

BDA                –

BE                   –

EBF                 –

EIBA                –

ESMBA           –

BCGBA           -




Rules for information sharing

Remember that the Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing information but provides a framework to ensure that personal information about living persons is shared appropriately.

Be open and honest with the person (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.

Seek advice if you are in any doubt, without disclosing the identity of the person where possible.

Share with consent where appropriate and, where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to share confidential information. You may still share information without consent if, in your judgement, that lack of consent can be overridden in the public interest. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case.

Consider safety and well-being: Base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the person and others who may be affected by their actions.

Necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure: Ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those people who need to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.

Keep a record of your decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose.

For more information or to discuss specific queries about information sharing, contact your NGB Designated Safeguarding Officer.

Flowchart of key questions for information sharing


If there are concerns that a child or adult may be at risk of significant harm, then follow the relevant procedures without delay.

Seek advice if you are not sure what to do at any stage and ensure that the outcome of the discussion is recorded.



Version: 2

First Approved on:

October 2015

Date of next review:

October 2016




Review History

Date of Review


October 2016









Revision History


Change Log