If you have any worries concerning a child:

Read our safeguard policy here

Welfare Officer
Anna Brimacombe Welfare Officer

NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000

And 24/7 ChildLine 0800 1111


Safeguarding information for parents of club swimmers

Protecting and safeguarding children is of the utmost importance across our organisation and Swim England is committed to ensuring that any child who attends an affiliated organisation, event or activity will be safeguarded from harm.

All our clubs and organisation must adopt and abide by our comprehensive policy and procedures for child safeguarding, which are contained in the Wavepower manual.

What should parents/guardians expect?

As a parent or guardian of a Swim England club member you can be assured that:

  • your child is safeguarded during their time with us.
  • all people with responsibility for your child will:
    • be suitable qualified and trained.
    • have been safely recruited by the club or organisation and that recruitment procedure includes a DBS check
  • any concerns about your child’s welfare will be listened to and responded to.

You also have a right to access the Swim England Wavepower child safeguarding policy manual and to contact your club welfare officer and / or the Swim England safeguarding team should you need to.

What should parents be aware of?

As a parent or guardian, we recommend you make yourselves familiar with:

Key club information and contacts, such as:

  • website, social media site or notice board which would provide the latest news and updates for members.
  • your welfare officer – who they are, how to contact them and any information on their role.
  • the coaches, teachers and poolside team and who to contact to discuss your child’s training.
  • information about the pool facilities, particularly around the changing rooms and any relevant rules that apply to the facility e.g. the use of mobile devices.

The club’s procedures and status, such as:

  • rules, regulations, selection policies and codes of conduct.
  • complaints process and disciplinary process and the relevant contacts.
  • SwimMark status.

Always ask the club to make this information available to you if you have problems finding or accessing it.

How can I help support my child and the club?

  • Complete all consent, emergency contact and medical forms and update the club immediately if anything changes.
  • Sign and adhere to the Parents Code of Conduct.
  • Ensure your child arrives to sessions on time and is collected promptly. If you are going to be late let the club know.
  • Ensure your child has the right kit for training or competition, as well as enough food and drink.

How can I raise a question about my child’s training or progression?

The coaches, teachers and poolside team will do all they can to ensure that children enjoy all the activities the organisation offers and they progress in accordance with their ability.

However, if you or your child is unhappy with the training, development, squad selection decisions, squad progression or you simply have questions you would like to put to your child’s coach or teacher, then you should arrange to meet them at a mutually convenient time to discuss further.

Please do not interrupt poolside training session or competition to speak to the coaches or poolside staff unless it is an emergency.

Following your meeting, if you are not happy with the response, the club will advise you of next steps, which could be referral to the head coach or to the club committee.

Swim England has a Coach Referral Protocol where concerns regarding coaching techniques can be raised.

How can I raise a non-child safeguarding concern?

Please contact the club chair or secretary if you have a concern such as:

  • club constitution disputes
  • club governance disputes and voting rights
  • breaches of the Code of Ethics and Codes of Conduct
  • breakdowns in communication and disputes between members at the club
  • disciplinary matters

All Swim England affiliated clubs must follow the Swim England Judicial Regulations for internal club disputes, so they will advise you of the steps that must be followed to resolve your complaint or concern.

If you are not happy with the actions being taken to resolve your complaint, you can seek advice from Swim England by contacting Kerry Moss, Judicial Office Manager on 0161 244 5345 or [email protected].

Further information for Swim England members on this area can be found on the Swim England Members site.

Governance responsibilities of British Swimming and the Home Nations 

The governance structure and roles and responsibilities of the different bodies involved in the governance of swimming (all disciplines) in Great Britain can be confusing.

This guide is an attempt to provide a very simplistic overview.

British Swimming is a national federation and member of FINA (International Federation) and LEN (continental federation). The members of British Swimming are the three Home Country national governing bodies of England (Swim England), Scotland (Scottish Swimming) and Wales (Swim Wales).

British Swimming is responsible for the elite performance of all the aquatic disciplines and is the recipient of UK Sport funding for the World Class Programmes – currently, swimming, diving and Para-Swimming. British Swimming authorises all appearances by English, Welsh and Scottish teams in overseas competitions.

Swim England is responsible for the development of the sport of swimming (including open water swimming), water polodiving, high diving and synchronised (artistic) swimming from learn to swim to the top end of talent in England.

It is also responsible for encouraging everyone to take part in aquatic activity at all levels, including recreational and health and wellbeing.

Whilst there are occasions when a team will compete as England, the primary event being the Commonwealth Games, the majority of the time, England prepares athletes through the performance pathway for inclusion in British teams.

Swim England also provides a comprehensive teacher/coach education pathway and has both a training arm (the Institute of Swimming) and an awarding organisation (Swim England Qualifications).

British Swimming and the Home Countries work closely together to ensure there is a seamless performance pathway transferring athletes from the Home Country talent programmes into the British Swimming World Class Programme.

It is fair to say there is a need to strengthen the protocols around athletes competing at a British level in the unfunded disciplines. Following the loss of funding for two of our sports, the Home Nations and British Swimming worked together to develop new strategies.

The Synchronised (artistic) Swimming programme has made significant strides and the duet of Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe are targeting qualification for Tokyo 2020.

In Water Polo, Great Britain teams have continued to participate in European Junior events and the World University Games.

We share the ambition of both sports to progress their performance levels.

To achieve this, we are now working to put in place a system whereby British Swimming formally appoints a Home Nation to manage the British Swimming elements of unfunded programmes. Robust policies and procedures will also be implemented as part of these agreements.

Managing complaints in England

Swim England has a judicial complaints system to address complaints raised in connection with the sport.

The judiciary is completely separate from the executive and the members of the judiciary who determine the judicial process and outcome of complaints do not hold any office or position on the Swim England Board, Regional Management Board nor do they receive any remuneration for any service to British Swimming, Swim England (or any of its regions), Scottish Swimming or Swim Wales.

Swim England understands that it is inevitable that there will be disputes between members from time to time and these are managed through the judicial system if attempts at resolution have failed at a local level.

Read our complaints policy here