Swim England introduce Stronger Affiliations guidelines1 November 2019
Swim England is bringing in new guidelines for affiliated clubs in a bid to show they have the highest standards of safe and effective practice in place.
The Stronger Affiliation process is being introduced so new and existing members know clubs are well run and their personnel have the necessary safeguarding checks in place to ensure members’ safety.
Other sports, including football and tennis, have also introduced similar schemes.
Swim England has a total of 1,045 affiliated clubs and more than half of these (55 per cent) are SwimMark accredited – the national governing body’s quality standard for clubs.
Those that do not currently hold SwimMark will now have to provide six pieces of evidence to ensure they stay affiliated to Swim England from January 2021.
Read the news story on the Swim England website for more information.
Below is a list of FAQs, for any further information please contact the Swim England London National Club Development Officer Yvonne Stead or the Swim England Clubs Team.
Stronger Affiliation FAQs
Why are Swim England doing this?
As the national governing body for swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and water polo, Swim England will support all clubs to ensure they are sustainable and fit for purpose.
The Stronger Affiliation process will enable clubs to provide further assurances that they are implementing the right governance standards, showing strong leadership and employing personnel who have the necessary qualifications and Safeguarding/DBS checks.
What will it mean for my club?
Clubs who have not completed SwimMark accreditation will have to provide six pieces of evidence to stay affiliated to Swim England on an annual basis. The six pieces of evidence are:
- Approved Club Constitution
- Risk Assessments
- Club Personnel Record (to incl qualifications, valid DBS and approved Safeguarding training) – including information on the Coaching & Teaching Register
- Sample of safeguarding certificates
- Welfare Officer compliance statement
- Club Chair compliance statement
My club has SwimMark. What do we need to do?
All clubs that are currently SwimMark accredited will not have to provide the six pieces of evidence as they have already met this standard as part of their SwimMark process. However, this is under the proviso that their SwimMark accreditation is maintained.
What happens if my club doesn’t complete the process?
Failure to submit the required evidence will result in a clubs temporary or permanent suspension from Swim England.
This means club members would be unable to compete at all competitions and insurance cover would be null and void.
All clubs providing the required evidence and paying the annual membership fee would have any suspension lifted.
Are there any costs associated with Stronger Affiliation?
If your club is Wavepower compliant (in relation to DBS and Safeguarding requirements) there should be no additional costs.
Please refer to Wavepower 2016-2019 (Section 2, P.40-47) for DBS and Safeguarding requirements.
Please note that all individuals who are required to have a DBS check for their role must complete approved safeguarding training within three months of the role commencing (if 18 years or above).
For under 18s, Swim England does not make safeguarding training mandatory. However, if individuals wish to then there is some basic awareness training available i.e. via UK Coaching.
Please note that a DBS check should be renewed every three years and child safeguarding training should be refreshed every three years unless stated otherwise.
Download our Swim England list of approved safeguarding courses to find out more
What are the key dates?
All non SwimMark clubs (new and existing) will be able to submit evidence for Stronger Affiliation from 1 June 2020.
All evidence will need to be checked and approved by 1st December 2020 in order to coincide with membership annual renewals. Any club that has not uploaded the documentation by this time will be at risk of suspension.
What support will Swim England provide?
From January to June 2020 there will be a series of webinar sessions/online workshops for clubs to access. These sessions will provide additional information regarding the process, timescales and support available.
Swim England also has a range of templates and guidance documents that will assist clubs in completing the required evidence and further information will be added to the Club Hub when available.
The Swim England Club Development Team (national and regional) will be available to guide and support clubs through the process.
How will clubs submit evidence?
Clubs will be required to upload evidence to an online portal, which is currently used for SwimMark accreditations. The system is user friendly, however a User Guide will be available to assist clubs through the process. Staff support (in the form of field based and office staff) will also be provided where required.
Webinar sessions/online workshops will also be available to demonstrate how clubs use the online system.
Will there be any exemptions?
Clubs with members solely over the age of 18 will be exempt from some of the six pieces of evidence – further information will be available in due course