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Deadline nears for ‘straightforward’ Stronger Affiliation process

Clubs are running out of time to complete the ‘straightforward’ Stronger Affiliation process as the deadline date edges closer.

Following the introduction of a minimum governance standard for all clubs to adhere to, Swim England is reminding clubs that they have until 1 December to complete the required information.

With just a matter of days remaining, almost all clubs who need to reach the mark have either made contact, have started or have completed the process.

This is encouraging news and confirms the importance for all clubs to have the necessary governance and safeguarding measures in place to ensure safety and experience is paramount to club members.

One club which has completed the process is Spondon Masters Swimming Club.

Club secretary, Nigel Martin, described the task as ‘straightforward’ and ‘speedy’.

He said: “I joined the online training sessions and exchanged emails with Regional Club Development Officers for the East Midlands region earlier in the year, so I was in a good position to understand what was required.

“I’m used to using portals and share sites for my profession and so this was quite straightforward. It was simply a case of getting used to the system. Once you have done the first one, it’s speedy to do.

“I coordinated the work for the club. For each element of the accreditation, I passed on the relevant paperwork to other members of the club committee and asked them to double check through the requirements, complete the paperwork and return it to myself for uploading to the portal.

“There are useful guides and templates for each element which we followed and then submitted.

“I completed the risk assessment, but again there are templates that are useful to follow and it’s not too onerous to do.

Evidence required

“I understand why people may feel daunted by the task, not knowing quite what is required and how much effort it takes, but for a masters only club it is reasonably straightforward once you get into it.

“Make sure you share the jobs around the rest of the committee and you’ll tick each element off quite quickly.”

If a club has already achieved the standard of SwimMark Essential accreditation, then they are compliant for Stronger Affiliation and can continue to operate as normal.

For those clubs without accreditation, the following six pieces of evidence need to be provided to ensure that their affiliation to Swim England can continue in 2021:

  1. Club constitution – ensure club constitution has been checked by the region and is from 2018 Swim England Model Constitution onwards.
  2. Welfare officer statement of compliance – signed statement of compliance by the Welfare officer stating the club is being run in accordance with WavePower guidelines. Please note, masters clubs are exempt from this element.
  3. Club chair statement of compliance – signed statement of compliance that the club is following Swim England Code of Ethics and has role descriptions within the club.
  4. Risk assessments – provide Risk Assessments relevant to the activities of your club.
  5. Club personnel record – One PDF report downloaded from OMS detailing all club personnel in the following categories; Governance positions, Competition and Support roles, Technical Officials, Coaches and/or Teachers.
  6. Safeguarding certificate and Time to Listen certificate (from ASA (Swim England) approved course list) for Club Welfare Officer. Please note masters clubs are exempt from this element.

Helen Weeks, Swim England Club Governance and Standards Manager, said: “For any clubs who are yet to start the process of Stronger Affiliation, Swim England, along with the regional teams, are here to help support clubs to be able to complete the evidence needed.”

Stronger Affiliation uses the same online portal as SwimMark and to gain access to the SwimMark portal in order to upload evidence, clubs will need a personal login. This can be requested by emailing clubdevelopment@swimming.org.

Any club that has issues logging on to complete the Stronger Affiliation process should email clubdevelopment@swimming.org.