Co-Production Can Help Make Sport Safer for Everyone

Co-Production Week

1 – 5 July was National Co-Production Week

Co-production means working in equal partnership with people using services, along with their carers, their families and other individuals.

Through co-production, we can work to transform social care and health provision to a model that gives people real choice and control.

Co-production can also enable more people to participate in physical activity. It can give participants, volunteers, and other individuals a greater say in how sport and activities are run.

Read our essential introduction to what co-production is, and how it works.

Co-Production Week

Monday 1 July 2024 marks the start of Co-production Week. This is a celebration of the power of co-production to design and develop better ways of doing things in social care, hosted by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).

For Co-Production Week 2024, SCIE is inviting us to reflect on “What’s Missing?”

We need to listen beyond the familiar voices and work towards greater equality and diversity in co-production. We also need to think about creating clearer definitions and language around co-production. Finally, we need to think about how we can show the impact and difference co-production can make, to encourage more organisations to embrace this model.

Why Co-production Matters in Safeguarding Adults in Sport and Activity

In sport and activity organisations, co-production can contribute to creating a safer and more inclusive environment.

Below we will discuss some of the benefits that co-production can bring to a sport and activity organisation.

Empowerment and Ownership

Co-production means that everyone has a say in the safeguarding decision-making process. This can help ensure that the safeguarding policies and procedures you develop are relevant and practical for the people involved in your sport or activity.

Co-production can help make adults involved in sport and activity feel that they have a voice in creating the policies and procedures that affect them. Because of this, they may be more likely to understand, buy into, and adhere to safeguarding measures. This may also mean that they will feel more confident in reporting concerns.  

Tailored Safeguarding Practice

Through involving a diverse range of participants, co-production helps identify specific needs and risks in your sport or activity organisation. These might not be readily apparent to you, or to your safeguarding leads.

So, co-production can help you create tailored safeguarding policies and procedures that reflect the unique dynamics of your sport. Your policies can reflect specific contexts of your sporting environment, and your participants. 

Enhanced Trust and Relationships

Co-production can foster a sense of trust and collaboration between everyone involved in your sport and activity: athletes, coaches, administrators, welfare officers, safeguarding leads, and your external partners.

The collaborative approach can help build stronger relationships between individuals in your sport. The increased trust and communication could make it easier to address issues and effectively implement your safeguarding measures. 

Improved Awareness and Education

When adults are actively involved in the co-production process, they may learn a lot about safeguarding best practice. They may develop a better understanding of how specific policies and procedures can help keep them safe. The co-production process can also help people understand how important it is to report concerns, while showing them how to do so.   

This heightened awareness can lead to better vigilance, and a more proactive approach to preventing abuse in your sport.

Innovation and Best Practices

Co-production means you actively seek out as wide a range of perspectives as possible. This can result in more innovative solutions for your sport, along with greater sharing of best practice across different sports and activities.

Safeguarding adults is ever evolving. Our understanding of “best practice” changes all the time. Yet co-production encourages creative thinking. It can help you develop more effective and comprehensive safeguarding strategies. Sharing our successes can help others to learn from our example, so we can all build positively on existing policies and procedures. 

Increased Accountability

Co-production promotes transparency and accountability, as all stakeholders have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. This shared accountability can ensure that everyone commits to maintaining a safe environment. Shared accountability can also help embed clear protocols for addressing any concerns that arise.

With co-production, you will get best results when you aim to be open, transparent, and fair. 

Long Term Sustainability

When everyone collaborates on designing and implementing safeguarding measures, they are more likely to be sustainable in the long term. This is because the processes and practices you develop will be grounded in the actual experiences and needs of those involved in your sport. When people understand that their voice matters, they may be more committed to making your sport or activity safer and more welcoming for everyone. 

Compliance with Legal and Ethical Standards

Many legal and ethical frameworks emphasise the importance of involving those affected by safeguarding measures in their development and implementation. Co-production aligns with these standards and legislation. So in this way, it can help you stay compliant with relevant laws and ethical guidelines. 

Co-Production Can Help Make Sport Safer for Everyone

Co-production in sport can make your safeguarding policies and procedures more effective. It can also make them more respectful, inclusive, and responsive to your sport or activity’s unique requirements.

Co-production means valuing and incorporating the insights and experiences of all stakeholders. With a collaborative approach, sport and activity organisations, can work towards creating a safer and more supportive environment for everyone involved. 

Access our free resources to see how we can help you work towards creating a safer culture in your sport.

We Can Help You Implement Co-Production Practices in Your Sport

At The Ann Craft Trust, we actively encourage all sport and activity organisations we work with to involve their participants in shaping the safeguarding policies that protect them.  

This collaborative approach allows organisations to customise their safeguarding strategies to meet their own unique requirements. Co-production can help promote a culture of trust and cooperation, with a focus on creating effective safeguarding policies for the long-term.  

Find out how our Safeguarding Adults in Sport Framework can help you work towards embedding safeguarding best practice in your sport.

We also run multiple safeguarding adults in sport training sessions throughout the year. Browse all upcoming training opportunities here.