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Keeping Children Safe during community activities, after-school clubs and youth centres - Voluntary Code of Guidance leaflets

These guides will help parents and carers choose a safe out-of-school setting for their children to attend. ‘Children’ refers to people who have not yet reached their 18th birthday.

Keeping Children Safe leaflets:

Parents and carers can also read the guidance on children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

An out-of-school setting (OOSS) can mean many things, from places like community and youth centres, sports clubs, and places of worship, to individuals offering tuition in their own home, or providing one to one coaching at a playing field or local park. Fees may or may not be charged. Some settings may be run as businesses.

A typical provider may be a tutor who works alone from their home or coach who runs training sessions in a sports field for children.

When we refer to a ‘large’ OOSS provider, we mean there are 5 or more volunteers or paid staff members. A ‘small’ OOSS provider will have 4 or fewer volunteers or paid staff members. A ‘lone’ provider means that a single individual runs the setting and does not employ any staff or engage volunteers, for example a private tutor.

How this guidance can help you

There is no single legal framework that governs how these settings operate, and they are not inspected or assessed by a single regulator. This means there is no single responsible body with complete oversight of these settings or the quality and safety of their provision.

As a minimum, providers of these settings should have policies on health and safety, safeguarding and child protection (including online and digital safety), and suitability of staff.

These guides contain:

  • questions you may wish to ask a provider
  • examples of the types of good answers you should expect to hear back
  • warning signs you may wish to look out for when choosing a provider

You should feel able to ask questions about the provider’s activities and policies. A well-run and trustworthy provider will welcome questions. They should be willing to give this kind of information to anyone who leaves a child in their care.

As a rule, if a provider is reluctant to answer, or cannot answer, your questions, or you are not satisfied with their answers, you may wish to consider sending your child elsewhere.

To satisfy yourself that it is a safe environment, you may wish to meet with the providers before your child attends a first session, or ask providers if you are able to meet with them during a session, before deciding whether to send your child to a particular provider.

If a provider is going to be working on a one-to-one basis with your child (such as in the case of a private tutor), you may wish to supervise sessions.

What to do if you have concerns

If you have concerns about a setting your child attends, first raise concerns with the provider. If the situation is not resolved, please escalate the issue by calling the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or contacting the local authority on 01803 208100.

If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, please call the police on 999.