Safeguarding at the Commonwealth Games 2022

Safeguarding at the Commonwealth Games

The 2022 Commonwealth Games took place in Birmingham, England between 28 July and 8 August 2022.

Bowls England invited me to attend as a guest.

Safeguarding Adults in Bowls

The Ann Craft Trust has provided safeguarding adults information and advice to bowls organisations for many years. We’ve worked with the Bowls Development Alliance (BDA), a partnership organisation with a core purpose to ‘sustain, grow and develop the sport in partnership with the Bowls family’.

The BDA works in partnership with the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of bowls, and has created resources to help embed safeguarding in clubs.

Duncan Webster, Welfare & Governance Manager at Bowls Development Alliance, said:

Since joining the BDA in October 2021, links with the Ann Craft Trust have been really important in building my knowledge of safeguarding adults in sport. My safeguarding background was extensive in further education, but sport threw up new challenges which the team at ACT were able to guide me on.

It was fantastic to be able to attend their conference in Nottingham, a month into my new role, and to learn from those with lived experience with safeguarding issues in sport as well as other areas. I was able to meet fellow safeguarding leads from sports NGBs and begin to build a network of people I could call.

In 2022 I started working with one of the NGBs, Bowls England, which governs flat green outdoor bowls for men and women in England.

One of my responsibilities as an Ann Craft Trust Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager is to link in with Sport England funded NGBs. My role involves supporting them with developing and embedding their safeguarding adults policy and procedures. So I have a good working relationship with Helen Slimm, Bowls England’s Head of Business Operatioins. I help her address safeguarding and welfare issues of adult participants.

Attending the Games

In July Helen invited me to a VIP Hospitality Day at the Commonwealth Games courtesy of Bowls England. It was a great opportunity to meet other members of the Bowls Case Management Team. And of course, to soak up the atmosphere and feel part of the Commonwealth Games experience.

I met the Safeguarding Team from Bowls, enjoyed a lovely lunch, and watched Team England win gold in men’s triples on the big screen. It was so great to meet and speak to people in person.

We then all went to a nearby park to have a go at bowls ourselves. It was good to see so many people of all ages out enjoying themselves and giving bowls a go. I love all sports and was thrilled to be trying out bowls for the first time.

Safeguarding at the Centre of the Games

With my Safeguarding hat on, I was very impressed with the messaging across the Game’s venue. The organisers displayed images on the big screens asking, ‘Do you feel safe?’ They included a dedicated contact number for anyone wanting to report concerns.

Safeguarding at the Commonwealth Games - Message

Safeguarding is everybody’s business. Messaging like this communicates that we all have a part to play in reducing abuse and exploitation.

Empowering People, Challenging Abuse

Colin Jones, Safeguarding Lead at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, said:

Being the first embedded Safeguarding Lead in a multi-sport event such as the Commonwealth Games meant that it was crucial to ensure that the delivery of a safe event for all.

Central to this was weaving athletes’ human rights into the safeguarding strategy so that they felt empowered in the context of the ongoing issues of abuse in sport. So we displayed the simple message “Do you feel safe?” across digital signs, posters and other materials across all venues.

The messaging also captured the workforce, volunteers and spectators. This meant that anyone could report anything that didn’t feel right, and my safeguarding team could assess any concern.

Key members of the workforce received venue- and role-specific training. This included awareness of modern slavery delivered by our Ethical Trading Manager, and training to all the Commonwealth Games Member Associations alongside the Commonwealth Games Federation.

The 10 days of sport brought a number of issues to our attention. Our close working relationship with the wider West Midlands statutory services enabled us deal with issues in an appropriate manner.

All in all, I felt that we delivered an amazing games which was safe and supported well through the rest of our safeguarding team: Donna Fraser OBE, Claudia Villa-Hughes, and Frankie O’Byrne.

A Big Thank You!

I would like to thank Helen and everyone at Bowls England for their brilliant hospitality on the day.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone, soaking up the Games atmosphere and having a go at bowls myself!

Embedding Safeguarding Adults in Sport

Like you, we want to ensure that everyone who plays sport at any level can enjoy themselves while feeling safe and included.

The Safeguarding Adults in Sport Framework is an online audit tool designed to enable sport and activity organisations to have their safeguarding policy and practices professionally assessed against a national safeguarding framework.

From April 2022 it is a requirement for all National Governing Bodies and Active Partnerships funded by Sport England and UK Sport in England to complete the Framework. Completing the Framework forms part of your Funding Agreement.

Learn More About the Safeguarding Adults in Sport Framework

Free Online Session to Help You Prepare For The Framework

To support NGBs to find out more about the Framework and how it works, we are running two free online Sessions in September.

For more information and to book a session: