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Planning for the introduction of Stronger Affiliation process

Swim England is bringing in new guidelines for its 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.

What do clubs need to do in 2020?

If your club is already SwimMark accredited, you just need to maintain your accreditation.

For any club without SwimMark (or should their SwimMark lapse), the following six pieces of evidence need to be provided and approved by December 2020:

  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.
  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 – two documents needed. Use information from the Coach and Teacher Register (i.e. information can be downloaded from OMS, the Online Membership System) to populate the coaches/teachers part of Element 13. Information for remaining club personnel should be added to the current Swim England template (or clubs own document).
  6. Safeguarding certificates – provide a sample of Safeguarding certificates for key club personnel including the Welfare Officer Head Coach, coaches etc.

If a club provides all of the above information, then they will be compliant for Swim England changes in 2021.

Failure to meet this new minimum standard of compliance will result in a club being suspended temporarily or permanently at the beginning of 2021.

We will be running a series of face to face and online workshops between January and June 2020 to help clubs through this process, inclusive of how to provide the evidence on our portal.

Details of these workshops will be advertised in the New Year, so please look out for these.

In the meantime we would encourage clubs to plan what they need to do in 2020 or begin gathering the evidence as listed above.

Rest assured Swim England has lots of help and resources to support and guide clubs through this process.

Download the exemptions for clubs with members solely over the age of 18.

Why are we introducting Stronger Affiliation?

By introducing a Stronger Affiliation process, Swim England will be able to:

  • Support clubs to ensure they are implementing the appropriate governance and meeting minimum operating standards
  • Enhance the experience of club members
  • Demonstrate its commitment to ensuring the safety of all affiliated clubs and members through stronger governance
  • Provide stronger leadership for the sport
  • Strengthen sustainability for future generations
  • Align to Sport England’s direction of travel for community sports clubs.

Jon Keating, Swim England Club Development Director, said: “As the national governing body, we must implement measures to ensure the safety of our members.

“We want to ensure that all Swim England clubs are fit for purpose and provide a safe environment.

“We hope clubs will fully back the process and look to take it one step further and become SwimMark accredited”.

Anyone with any questions about the Stronger Affiliation process should refer to the FAQs document or, if they require further information, email clubdevelopment@swimming.org in the first instance.

You can find helpful resources on the Swim England Club Hub.

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