The SMC acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults at risk and is fully committed to ensuring safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice and the respective governing bodies of the stadium users.

For SMC events, we will make sure that all children, young people and adults at risk have the same protection regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity. Ticket holders under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 21. Unaccompanied children under the age of 14 years will not be admitted into the stadium.

All staff and volunteers will receive training and support in the delivery of the safeguarding policy and procedures to ensure we maintain a safe and positive environment and are empowered to listen to concerns and act accordingly.

For further details of the safeguarding policies for York City Football Club and York RLFC, please visit their respective websites.


1. Overview

1.1 York Stadium Management Company (SMC) is committed to continually ensuring the well-being and safety of all children and vulnerable adults directly connected with our business activities, and to providing a safe and suitable environment for all those children and vulnerable adults attending our premises for any purpose. It is the duty of all adults working in the SMC to safeguard the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults by creating an environment that protects them from harm.

1.2 This policy applies to all staff members of the business, including full time, part time, casual or pieceworker as well as any Consultants and Volunteers who working within the parameters of those at risk groups of staff, customers or clients. All staff members, Consultants and Volunteers are required to adhere to this policy.

1.3 The Board may amend this policy at any time. The Board will continue to review this policy to ensure it is achieving its aims.

1.4 This policy applies to the SMC and applies to all locations owned or operated by the SMC.

1.5 Failure to comply with this policy may be treated as misconduct and dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure and if a breach amounts to gross misconduct this may result in dismissal and possibly criminal prosecution.

1.6 SMC acknowledges and accepts it has a responsibility for the well-being and safety of all children, young people and vulnerable adults who are under the SMC’s care or using its facilities, (the definition of a “child” or “young people” means those under 18).

Vulnerable Adult Definition:

A vulnerable adult can be anyone who is 18 years old or over, who has a physical or sensory impairment, a learning disability, or a mental health problem and may be unable to protect themselves from harm or abuse. This may include:

  • People with a learning disability
  • People who experience mental ill health
  • Those with a disability
  • Older people

People who are experiencing short or long term illness However, it is important to note that inclusion in one of the above groups does not necessarily mean that a person is implicitly vulnerable. All of the policies and procedures in this document refer to vulnerable adults as well as children.

1.7 The well-being of children, young people and vulnerable adults is paramount for all staff and accordingly, they must make themselves aware of this policy. Where appropriate, the following guidelines will be supplemented by in-service training and additional guidance.

1.8 SMC works closely with the Local Authority Designated Officers for children and adults at risk. The SMC Senior Safeguarding Manager liaises with the respective safeguarding teams for advice, guidance and referrals. The Senior Safeguarding Manger will be guided by and adhere to Local Authority and Police protocols.

1.9 All Staff; full time, part time, casual, piece worker, consultants and volunteers have the responsibility to report any concerns to the Senior Safeguarding Manager.

1.10 The policy will be available from any member of SMC management staff and displayed on staff notice boards.

2. Rules & Regulations

2.1 SMC is governed by the rules and regulations set out in the 1989 Children Act and Children’s Act 2004, while also impacted upon on sports club event days by FA Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk guidance, the EFL Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk guidance, Premier League Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups and Safer Recruitment Rules and RFL Safeguarding guidance

2.2 SMC is fully committed to ensuring that the best practice recommended by these bodies is employed throughout and has a responsibility to maintain regular dialogue and work with partners

3. Aims & Key Principles

3.1 The aims of this policy are:

  • To safeguard all children and vulnerable adults who interact with SMC activities;
  • To demonstrate best practice in the area of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults;
  • To develop a positive and pro-active welfare programme to enable all children, young persons and vulnerable adults to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment;
  • To promote high ethical standards throughout SMC activities.

3.2 The key principles underpinning this policy are:

  • The child, young person or vulnerable adult’s welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration;       
  • All children, young people and vulnerable adults have a right to be protected from abuse, exploitation and poor practice regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, religious beliefs or sexual identity;

To acknowledge and commit to address the additional vulnerability of some participants and the extra barriers they may face e.g. those in care, looked after children, those with mental health issues, physical disabilities and children living in substitute accommodation;

  • All allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to efficiently and appropriately;
  • To encourage parents and other members of the child, young person or vulnerable adult’s family to be involved in a relationship with SMC;
  • To prevent the employment/deployment of unsuitable individuals and ensure that SMC have safe recruitment procedures
  • To ensure that staff, parents and other adults who come in contact with children and young people provide good role models of behaviour.
  • To ensure robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation.

4. Safeguarding Structure

SMC has 2 safeguarding officers available to them on match days

Sharon Hodgins
Tony Robinson

Anyone with a concern about a child or vulnerable adult’s welfare should contact the Safeguarding Officer, for advice in the first instance – details can be found at the end of this policy.

5. Human Resources & Disclosure

5.1 Recruitment

As part of the SMC’s recruitment and selection process, offers of work to positions which involve working with children and vulnerable adults are subject to satisfactory DBS Criminal Record Checks (CRC) with barred list check, if necessary and appropriate references are obtained. All requests for CRC are applied for online with GB Group. All offers of work are subject to the outcome of the screening process and until such time as a satisfactory CRC certificate has been confirmed as clear, the member of staff will not be left unsupervised with children.

Should an individual’s CRC Disclosure reveal any convictions, the SMC, will consider whether the nature of the offence / offences render the person concerned unsuitable for working with children. In such circumstances, when the nature of any disclosure must be considered, a risk assessment will be carried out by the senior manager with safeguarding responsibilities to assess the information contained within the disclosure certificate.

On occasion the member of staff/volunteer may also be asked to attend an interview prior to a recruitment decision being made. If required, the Head of Safeguarding for the Local Safeguarding Children Board may be asked to attend the risk assessment meeting.

All new employees, workers or volunteers working with children or young people at the Club will be required to complete a Self-Declaration on commencement of duties.

5.2 Temporary Staff and External Consultants

The SMC will ensure that all temporary staff and external consultants sign a Self-Declaration form and will not have unsupervised access to children and young person’s during their time with the SMC.

5.3 Staff Training

All staff working in direct contact with children shall be required to complete a certificated Safeguarding Course. Details of those satisfactory completing this course are retained by the SMC.

The qualification is valid for a period of three years and all relevant staff are required to maintain their safeguarding qualification throughout employment to ensure it remains up to date and valid.

5.4 Induction

As part of the induction process all staff including volunteers will be made aware of this policy. This allows staff and volunteers to understand theirs and the SMC’s responsibilities in making our activities a controlled and safe environment for all those taking part. The induction process also covers the procedures for referrals should the need arise.

SMC will also undertake in house training and development on safeguarding and welfare, to ensure staff are up to date with current practices and issues.

5.5 Good Practice

All employees, workers, consultants, agency staff and volunteers working with children or young people should adhere to the following principles:

  • Always work in an open environment. Avoid private or unobserved situations and encourage open communication with no secrets.
  • Make the experience of the stadium event fun and enjoyable, promote fairness, confront and deal with bullying.
  • Treat all children and young people equally, with respect and dignity.
  • Always put the welfare of the child first.
  • in a safe and appropriate distance with children, young people and vulnerable adults and avoid unnecessary physical contact.

Where any form of manual/physical support is required it should be provided openly and with the consent of the child or young person. Physical contact can be appropriate so long as it is neither intrusive nor disturbing and the child, young person or vulnerable adult’s consent has been given.

If groups, including vulnerable individuals must be supervised in changing rooms always ensure coaches etc. work in pairs. This would only apply to SMC for ball boys / mascots for sports events, where the event hosts are responsible for managing their own safeguarding controls, however given that SMC are responsible for the venue, SMC will insist that this practice be adopted by event hosts

Request written parental consent if SMC officials are required to transport children, young people and vulnerable adults

Be a good role model, this includes not smoking, drinking alcohol or use foul language in the company of children, young people or vulnerable adults

Always give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.

Keep a written record of any injury that occurs, along with details of any treatment given. All other good practice/common sense principles given the varying situations

6. Use of photography & film image

SMC uses guidance from The FA, The RFL and the CPSU. All images are taken by SMC officials who have been briefed by a SMC Safeguarding Officer or by a member of the Communications and Marketing Department responsible for the activity being photographed or filmed. Before taking images of children, young people or vulnerable adults parental consent is sought in writing, this could be at the start of the season or prior to the event. Parents, carers, guardians are responsible for informing the SMC of any change of circumstances within the season which may affect consent. The SMC will inform parents, carers, guardians of how the image will be used and they will not allow an image to be used for something other than that for which it was initially agreed.

All children, young people or vulnerable adults featured in SMC publications will be appropriately dressed.

Where possible, the image will focus on the activity taking place and not a specific individual.

Where appropriate, images represent the broad range of people participating safely in the event.

Designated SMC photographers will, where applicable, undertake a CRC/DBS check and attend a Safeguarding Children workshop and will be personally responsible for keeping up to date with the latest guidelines on the Use of Images policies from the EFL/RFL/National League/Club identification will be always worn.

Children who are subject of a court order will not have their images published in any SMC document.

No images of children featured in SMC publications will be accompanied by personal details such as their home address.

Mobile cameras are not to be used in changing rooms.

Any instances of inappropriate images in respect of the stadium should be reported to the Senior Safeguarding Manager.

The SMC/Clubs (as event hosts) do not condone inappropriate unauthorised photographs to be taken with players, SMC/Club staff or at SMC facilities and will actively take measures to prevent this; signage, security and stewarding.

7. Guidelines in the Event of Concern

7.1 Highlighting Concern

Although SMC is committed to doing the utmost to safeguard children and vulnerable adults from harm, there may be an occasion when concern is raised over the treatment of a child/vulnerable adult. ‘Child abuse and neglect’ are generic terms encompassing all ill treatment of children as well as cases where the standard of care does not adequately support the child’s health or development. Children may be abused or suffer neglect through the infliction of harm, or through the failure to act to prevent harm. Abuse can occur in a family or an institutional or community setting. The perpetrator may or may not be known to the child.

7.2 Recognition – Signs of Abuse

There are five main forms of abuse identified as follows, should you have any concern that abuse is occurring you should contact the Senior Safeguarding Manager immediately:

7.3 Physical Abuse

Physical Abuse is a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or young person. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child or young person.

7.4 Sexual Abuse

Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child or young person is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing.

They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children or young people in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children or young person to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child or young person in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children and young people.

7.5 Neglect

The persistent failure to meet a child’s or young person’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, are likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s or young person health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
  • protect a child or young person from physical and emotional harm or danger;
  • ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s or young person’s basic emotional needs.

7.6 Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or young person such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s or young person’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child or young person that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child or young person opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children or young people. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s or young person developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children or young people frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child or young person, though it may occur alone.

7.7 Bullying

The SMC define bullying as the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. 
The SMC also recognises the concept of hazing. Hazing is any action or situation, with or without the consent of the participants, which recklessly, intentionally, or unintentionally endangers the mental, physical, or emotional wellbeing of a child or young person. Hazing is not tolerated by the SMC.

7.8 Poor Practice

Poor practice is behaviour of an individual in a position of responsibility which falls below the SMC’s required standard. Poor practice may not be immediately dangerous or intentionally harmful to an individual, but is likely to set a poor example. Poor practice is potentially damaging to the individual, the SMC and to those who experience it. It can sometimes lead to, or create an environment conducive to more serious abuse. It may also lead to suspicions about the individuals motivation, even where no harm is intended.

8. Responding to a Report or Suspicion

Where possible the Senior Manager, responsible for Safeguarding, should be contacted as early as possible, however it is recognised that an individual may need to respond to a situation immediately. With this in mind the following guidelines offer help and support in responding to abuse or a suspicion of abuse


  • If the child or vulnerable adult is hurt or ill – seek medical attention if necessary – call the Police 999 and ask their advice if you are unsure – or Local Authority Designated Officer – if the child is immediately at risk of significant harm
  • treat any allegations extremely seriously and act at all times towards the child to show you believe what they are saying – LISTEN
  • tell them they are right to tell you
  • reassure them that they are not to blame
  • be honest about your own position, who you have to tell and why
  • tell them what you are doing and when, and keep them up to date with what is happening
  • take further action – you may be the only person in a position to prevent future abuse
  • 3R’s Respond, Record, Refer (Report on to the appropriate person)
  • write down everything said and what was done as soon as you can – Use their words – not your own opinion or what you think they said
  • inform parents/carers unless there is suspicion of their involvement


  • make promises you cannot keep
  • interrogate them – it is not your job to carry out an investigation/interview – this will be up to the police and local authority professional staff, who have experience and are trained specifically to sensitively manage the disclosure – ask the most basic questions and then let them talk, you LISTEN and ensure that you do not jeopardise any potential criminal investigations
  • cast doubt on what the child/vulnerable adult has told you, don’t interrupt or change the subject
  • say anything that makes them feel responsible for the abuse
  • promise to keep secrets or keep the information confidential

INACTION IS NOT AN OPTION – Safeguarding is Everyone’s responsibility

Make sure you tell the Senior Safeguarding Manager immediately, they will know how to follow this up and where to go for further advice.

Contact details:     

Safeguarding Officer (event day) – Tony Robinson 07845728935
Police – 101 non emergency / 999 emergency
Local Authority Customer Service Centre – 01904 551900
Out of Hours Emergency – 01609 780780

9. Recording Allegations or Suspicions

Senior Safeguarding Manager will ask for a written factual statement from the person making the report. If the report involves an allegation about another member of staff, that person may also be asked to write a brief report. Any statement made by the child, young person or vulnerable adult should be reported in their own words. These reports should be confined to facts and should not include any opinion, interpretation or judgment.

SMC will ensure that any individual concerned is immediately removed from any possible risk of harm.

Investigations into possible abuse will require careful management. The Senior Safeguarding Manager should seek the advice of the Local Authority Safeguarding Children Board, the Police, before setting up an internal inquiry and take their advice on informing the child, young person or vulnerable adult’s parents.

9.1 Confidentiality

There is always tension and caution around issues of confidentiality. The advice for all staff at SMC is that no guarantee of confidentiality can be given to a child, young person or vulnerable adult (although this does not necessarily mean that the parents of that person have to be told).

You cannot promise to keep their disclosure a secret or that you will not have to speak to someone else about the issue – reassure them that it will be on a ‘need to know’ basis and that their dignity and privacy will be respected at all times.

A child, young person or vulnerable adult should never be pressured to give information or show physical marks unless they do so willingly. If they chose to show markings, two members of staff should be present.

There are actions which staff have to and are obliged to take once we are aware of a problem. Undertakings of confidentiality should not be given either to the person making the allegations or to the person being interviewed. A matter is confidential on a need to know basis and nobody should have any reservations about referring a safeguarding children issue to the Safeguarding Manager. The key issue is that the welfare of the child or vulnerable adult is protected.

10. Safeguarding Code of Conduct

Everyone plays a role in safeguarding the welfare and development of children, young people and vulnerable adults. As an individual responsible for children, young people or vulnerable adults taking part in an SMC activity, or attending an SMC venue staff have a duty to:

Ensure that the safety and welfare of all participants is your first priority and ensure that any planning, preparation, delivery or review reflects this duty and all actions are in the best interests of those in SMC care.

Treat children, young people and vulnerable adults with respect, regardless of their gender, ethnic or social background, language, religious or other beliefs, disability, sexual orientation or other status and encourage them to treat others the same way. Always consider the age, maturity, understanding and emotional condition of participants when working with them.

Listen carefully to them about their needs, wishes, ideas and concerns and take them seriously.

Reward effort as well as performance.

Only use physical contact with participants where absolutely necessary. If contact is necessary, (e.g. for the purposes of first aid), then staff will explain to the child/vulnerable adult what the contact is for, and change the approach if he or she appears uncomfortable and conduct this in an open and transparent way.

Staff must always use language or behaviour towards participants and others that is appropriate and do not use language or behaviour that is or could be considered harassment, abuse, sexually provocative or demeaning. Staff are role models to both participants and other members of the workforce, appearance, attitude, behaviour and language has a direct effect on that role

Staff will not supervise or care for others whilst under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs or any medication that may impair their ability to ensure a person’s welfare.

Staff will not appear to favour one child/vulnerable adult or show interest in one child/vulnerable adult more than another.

Wherever possible, staff will ensure that more than one member of the workforce is present when working in the proximity of children or other vulnerable people.

Staff must report any concerns over a person in their care or the actions of a member of the workforce. If staff witness or are told about any incident or issue that may put a vulnerable person at risk or harm, or may breach this policy, they have a duty to report it to the appropriate person (and only share the information with those who need to know). This may be a line manager or designated safeguarding officer.

Safety at the LNER Community Stadium
The SMC ensures that the LNER Community Stadium adheres to all pertinent safety regulations set out by The Sports Grounds Safety Authority and other statutory bodies. The SMC’s Ground Safety Officer meets regularly with the Safety Team and allows members of the Safety Team to be present at any match in line with their monitoring process.

Our matchday stewards have received comprehensive training on fire, first aid, general health & safety procedures and customer service to a minimum of NVQ Level 2 in Spectator Safety. We take the issue of racist abuse, actions causing offence, language causing offence and unreasonable or offensive behaviour seriously and in an attempt to eradicate this problem, we train our stewards to be extra vigilant of any offenders.

If a spectator continues to contravene these regulations action will be taken in accordance with the our policy to:

  • Immediately investigate the matter
  • Contact the offenders
  • If necessary, dispatch undercover representatives to observe and gather evidence
  • Report the offence to the police

The SMC and North Yorkshire Police have a disciplinary process and behavioural agreements are issued to offenders only once.

Spectators who contravene the Stadium’s Ground Regulations may face ejection from the stadium and be arrested by the Police. Any spectators finding themselves in this position will be contacted by the SMC and/or the respective sporting club(s), advising they are suspended from attending further fixtures at the stadium until the matter has been resolved. They are requested to write into the Ground Safety Officer with their version of events, after which time a police check will be requested. Where appropriate, the spectator will be invited to attend a meeting to discuss the issue in person where club representatives may also be in attendance. In all proven cases, the spectator will be suspended for a number of fixtures held at the stadium (regardless of the competing teams). SMC advises the clubs that anyone entering the field of play will automatically receive a minimum one-year ban.

In accordance with best practice at other high-profile sports stadia, the SMC is committed to banning anyone in possession or letting of a “pyro” device in the stadium for three years.

The SMC will work with supporters and the respective clubs to overcome many of these problems; our aim is to ensure a safe, enjoyable and positive atmosphere at all fixtures at the stadium.

If you wish to report an offence you can contact the Ground Safety Officer by post to Safety Officer, York Stadium Management Company, LNER Community Stadium, Kathryn Avenue, YO32 9AF or by email at [email protected].

Any problems are dealt with in complete confidence and in accordance with our policies.