Professional Development

Improving Safeguarding Standards with tahdah

tahdah has recently developed a range of safeguarding features for our partners in the Sports & Activity sector. Read more

Executive Summary

Almost every National Governing Body across the whole spectrum of UK sport has encountered issues around their safeguarding procedures; from organisations with huge budgets such as the FA to smaller organisations such as British Canoeing.

Problems arise when people in positions of trust within their selected sport such as coaches, instructors and volunteers aren't properly vetted and their activities properly monitored. Additionally, these problems are exacerbated by the lack of standardised systems for reporting safeguarding failures and tracking cases - this allows offenders to drift between sports and reoffend due to the lack of effective communication and data-sharing between constituents in the sector.

These issues affect every level of participant involved in sport; from elite level olympic athletes to grassroots level junior competitors. A software solution is needed that can work across organisations to combat these issues in their entirety, it would have to meet the following requirements:

  • A tamper-proof verification service to ensure that all of the people in positions of trust delivering sport are verified as competent, current and compliant.
  • A standardised system to report incidents, manage cases and share data amongst all relevant parties within the sporting community.
  • A register of known offenders to ensure that they cannot enter other sports/activities.

Prevention is better than cure

  • How do you perform full background checks on your staff in positions of trust?
  • Are their credentials fully verified?
  • Is their training up-to-date and verified?

One of the biggest problems around safeguarding in UK sport is the piecemeal approach to verification and background checks adopted by each National Governing Body.

Although some sports have well funded, rigorous procedures in place to ensure that their staff in positions of trust (such as coaches, instructors etc) are made to undergo full background checks and are tasked with keeping up-to-date with the latest knowledge and training through continual professional development this is not true for the majority of the sector.

Many smaller NGBs simply do not have the budget available to hire teams of staff dedicated to safeguarding or to develop bespoke software systems to enable them to perform all of the necessary background checks and monitor their activity on a day-to-day basis. They rely on volunteers who are often poorly trained, overworked and under appreciated.

This disjointed approach to safeguarding across the sector opens the door to the possibility of not only fraudulent or under-qualified instructors being given access to vulnerable groups but also, as we have seen recently, it gives sex offenders access to these groups. This issue is compounded by the fact that there is no standardised data-sharing or communication channels between the different NGBs which allows offenders to move between different sports.

3 news stories

How can incidents be reported?

The sports sector is arguably under more scrutiny than ever before with allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse in football and accusations of a culture of bullying in some sports.

Allegations about the past need to be thoroughly investigated but the focus must also remain on those in the current system to ensure that they are protected and free from harm, bullying, harassment and discrimination.

There is a clear need for an anonymous whistleblowing service available to anyone participating or working within sport. This should be a standardised, easy-to-use system that is tamper-proof and transparent.

The data accumulated by this incident reporting system should be readily available to every safeguarding officer within organisations involved in sport to enable a free-flow of information between key stakeholders in the sector.

If proper training and information is made available then anyone involved in sport should have the confidence to be able to report incidents of bullying, harassment, sexual offences, near misses or any other concerns they may have about their sport.

These ideas are corroborated my Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in her recent 'Duty of Care in Sport' review. This landmark document, which is being considered as forming new Government policy, decries the current status of safeguarding in the UK and makes several, logical recommendations including:

  • Government to review the process of background checks for self-employed providers and those not falling under a recognised NGB, including how parents or participants could access relevant information about these checks.
  • Data about safeguarding issues should be collected in a standardised way. The systems would allow the appropriate body to track the incident formally and investigate fully. It would also allow trend analysis to be carried out which could highlight hot spots for children and adults. The collation of data should be ongoing and would allow sharing of information between sports.
  • All sports organisations should consider the participant’s voice within their work and have an independent process, very clearly and publicly available, for consultation and whistleblowing.
  • A national coach licensing scheme should be considered, with the creation of a register of licensed coaches.

You can read the full report here.

Although there are some software products available on the market that allow NGBs to manage their members and coaches they do not offer the broad spectrum of services that can solve the problems we have listed above in their entirety. They are often bespoke systems that don't have the ability to share data from and to other systems.

Their procedures for verification are also usually an afterthought, being basic in nature, leaving them open to abuse and fraud. Also, there is certainly no other whistleblowing service even approaching what is specified above.

What is tahdah?

tahdah is a digital identity management platform that works on the principle of verification to ensure that all of your instructors, coaches and volunteers are fully competent, current and compliant.

All of the credentials that a user adds to their personal tahdah profile are transparent and fully verified by the awarding organisation; utilising the latest blockchain technology to eliminate any risk of fraud or tampering.

Verified Circle

This includes not only qualifications but insurance, DBS background checks, first aid, continual professional development and membership to various organisations.

Our software as a service platform is currently being used by a diverse range of sporting NGBs including mountaineering, canoeing, cycling, indoor climbing and surfing.

Another feature of tahdah is our incident reporting and management functionality; this allows a case to be reported, anonymously if required, and managed from the initial incident through to its eventual resolution with a full audit trail.

Again, all of the data associated with a case is secured by blockchain technology which ensures that it is transparent and completely tamper-proof.

In the example below, a user can submit a detailed incident report complete with supporting evidence such as witnesses, location data, images or videos.

tahdah incident report

The library of open cases can be viewed and managed by anyone that has been given the appropriate level of access and because this data is supported by the blockchain any changes that are made to the record are recorded and visible - offering complete transparency.

tahdah open cases

Once a case has been opened it can be managed and tracked by multiple individuals. Any data associated with the case is visible and can be securely shared - ensuring a complete audit trail of anyone who has interacted with the case.

tahdah case management

Victims often cite that their complaints are not dealt with appropriately, yet the system that we have developed provides a fully audited process that will account for both victims and the accused.

We developed our software initially for sport but it can easily be applied to any sector where incident reporting and safeguarding is paramount. Whilst it might take time to change a culture the technology is here now to ensure that it is much more difficult for perpetrators to abuse the system.

If you would like further information or would like to discuss how tahdah can help protect your individuals and organisation then please contact us.

Similar posts

Get notified on new insights from Tahdah

Be the first to know about new insights to build or refine your awarding function with the tools and knowledge of today’s industry.