Stay safe guidance when attending a club, activity or service

Things to ask about when choosing a club, activity or service
Preparing for your first visit
Things to watch out for when attending a group, club or activity

Things to ask about when choosing a club, activity or service

Before you decide to attend a club or activity or use a service you may want to ask some questions to ensure they are well run and safe. You may also want to speak to other people who have been to that club, activity or service. They can give you an idea about what it is really like.

If you are a child or young person, ask your parents or carer to help you choose.

  • Who runs the club, activity or service? 
    Is it part of a larger organisation such as Scouts or is it locally organised. If it is locally organised who funds and monitors the organisation?
  • How do they employ and train their staff? 
    For example, do leaders, staff and volunteers have Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (previously CRB checks) to make sure they can work safely with children? Do they check references?
  • How many leaders or adult helpers and volunteers are there for each activity?
    Normally there should be at least two adults present for any activity or meeting to operate safely. Many organisations have national governing bodies, which also provide quality information on staffing ratios and other aspects of the activity.
  • How do they expect staff and volunteers to behave towards children and young people?
    This may be a written Code of Conduct for staff and volunteers so that everyone knows what standards of behaviour to expect. It may cover things such as physical contact with children, comforting children, accompanying children to toilets and addressing bullying.
  • How does the organisation keep everyone safe while taking part in their activities?
    Is there a health and safety policy, a First Aid kit, a qualified first aider and procedures for recording and notifying accidents? If there is an accident what happens? Is the organisation insured?
  • Does the organisation involve parents?
    Do they get parents’ written permission before taking children and young people on outside visits, adventure activities and trips?
  • How is the organisation managed?
    Do they have a management committee that meets regularly? Are any local parents or young people on the management committee?
  • Is the organisation approachable?
    Are they happy for parents, children and young people to visit, meet those in charge and see activities?
  • How does the organisation deal with complaints?
    Is there a complaints procedure and how do they make people who attend aware of it?

Preparing for your first visit

Always be careful about your personal safety when you are going to a new organisation for the first time, especially if it doesn’t meet in a public place.

Most organisations for young people will have child protection policies; other organisations may not, especially if they are open to people of all ages with a particular interest and run by volunteers.

  • Phone first, to check that the information given on the website is still up to date.
  • Go with a friend, or, if that's not possible, make sure that a parent, relative or friend knows where you are going and when you should be back.
  • If you’ve got a mobile phone, take it with you and make sure it’s charged up.
  • If you need to catch a bus, check the times so you don’t have to hang around.
  • Be careful about giving your name and address or phone number to new people; be sure you are confident about them.
  • When you first go to meet new people, don’t arrange to visit them in their homes or outside the normal sessions of the organisation.
  • If after your first visit you have doubts about the place, talk to your parents or someone else you trust before you decide whether to go back.

Things to watch out for when attending a group, club or activity

The following may alert you to situations that are inappropriate:

  • Activities where parents and carers are discouraged from staying to watch or from becoming involved.
  • Individuals who take charge and operate independently of organisational guidelines.
  • Individuals who show favouritism or personally reward specific young people.
  • Encouragement of inappropriate physical contact.
  • Poor communication and negative responses to questions about staying safe.
  • A “win at all costs” attitude towards competitive activity.
  • Young people dropping out or stopping going for no apparent reason.
  • Invitations to spend time alone with staff and volunteers or even to visit their home.

If you're worried about a child being abused or an adult that works with children, report your concern to us.