Lead Safeguarding Officer at the Boccia World Championships 2018

Image credit: Australian Paralympic Committee Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Marc Scott our Safeguarding Adults in Sport Manager tells us about his experience at the BISFED 2018 Boccia World Championships

In August this year I moved up to Liverpool for just under a week and a half to be the Lead Safeguarding Officer at the 2018 Boccia World Championships. The world championships is the second biggest competition in terms of prestige on the boccia calendar after the Paralympics but the biggest for numbers competing and attending with:

  • 190 Athletes from 33 Countries
  • 7 Gold Medals
  • 7 Days of Competition
  • 6 Blue Balls against 6 Red Balls
  • 1 Aim. To be a World Champion

The championships were a fantastic opportunity to showcase one of the fastest growing disability only sports to the world. A sport which has perhaps flown under the radar compared to others, so we wanted to build spectator excitement and atmosphere and that was certainly achieved. Coupled with the fact that people were able to watch all the action from around the world via BBC live streaming, the sport has been lifted to a whole new level.

Planning the Championships

The planning and organisation of an event on this scale started early with a host organising committee identifying the need for a welfare and safeguarding officer for the event early on.

Prior to the event my role was to write and develop a safeguarding and event welfare plan which covered all aspects of the championships including a behaviour policy and statement and everyone involved from coaches and athletes to volunteers and officials. The plan was written and approved by the organising committee and distributed prior to the event to all, hotels, venues, countries, teams and managers.

Safeguarding at the Championships

On arrival to the event all volunteers received a welcome pack which contained a summary of the full welfare plan and an introduction to who I was, my role at the event and what they should do if they have concerns.

Throughout the championships my role was to deal with all concerns relating to general welfare or safeguarding concerns of everyone involved. Thankfully the event ran very smoothly with only a couple of minor concerns to deal with which did not impact on the enjoyment or involvement of anyone involved with the event.

Each evening the organising committee held a daily ops meeting which I attended to give an update on safeguarding and welfare and any concerns or issues which had arisen that day. I also used the meeting as an opportunity to advise on solutions and outcomes from the concerns arising, and put in place actions to help prevent reoccurrences.

My week in Liverpool flew by and it was thoroughly enjoyable to be part of one of the biggest boccia events ever and to ensure that it ran smoothly and safely.

Safeguarding at major events

I learnt a lot regarding how major events are organised and ran. I have taken away many positive experiences and hope to be able to support more major events in the future or organising committees with delivering world class safe sporting events in the UK.

Find out more about how the Ann Craft Trust can help support safeguarding and welfare at your event.