Recruiting adults into sports clubs

All organisations that have adults interacting unsupervised with children have a requirement to ensure that they comply with best practice child protection guidelines in the recruitment of adult volunteers who will have unsupervised access to working with children and/or vulnerable adults. This recruitment process is often called either ‘vetting’ or ‘screening’. The principles are primarily derived from the umbrella organisation from which the vast majority of sporting national governing bodies take their lead in child protection policy areas, e.g. the Irish Sports Council, see paragraph 3.5 ‘Recruitment of Sports Leaders’. So long as clubs have followed best practice, they are deemed to have made ‘reasonable efforts’ to recruit properly.

There are two main planks to volunteer vetting/screening:

  • One plank is for a club to carry out a criminal background check (known in Ireland as Garda Vetting).
  • The other plank is for a club to obtain two independent character references from adults prepared to stand over the suitability of the volunteer coach as being someone appropriate to work with children.
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