Children First Act 2015
On December 11th 2017, the Children First Act 2015 commenced. This new law puts Children First: the National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, on a statutory footing. The Act provides for a number of key child protection measures.
Most notably for Horse Sport Ireland, following the commencement, the immediate requirements include;
- Adopting all provisions in relation to mandatory reporting of child abuse,
- Ensuring the appointment of child safeguarding officers which include;
- Designated Liaison Persons
- Children’s Officers
- National Organisation’s Mandated Person
- Horse Sport Ireland Mandated Person is Paul Hayes, National Safeguarding Officer
- Provide Child Safeguarding Training Programmes
- Horse Sport Ireland Safeguarding Training Policy, currently in place and viewable here.
- Commence the process to agree a Child Safeguarding Statement for all Affiliate’s Clubs, Branches etc.
- Horse Sport Ireland Risk Assessment and Safeguarding Statement – Steps outlined below.
Children First Compliance
Horse Sport Ireland are delighted to provide supporting documentation and instructions on how our Affiliates and their Clubs/Branches/Regions can comply with the Children First Act 2015 by March 11th 2018. This is a mandatory process that all organisations providing services to children must complete. The following are the four steps to compliance:
STEP ONE – REVIEW THE RISK ASSESSMENT DOCUMENT
- The risk assessment has been pre-populated for you to review at your Affiliate and your Clubs/Branches/Regions meeting.
- Each risk identified must be ranked; High, Medium or Low. The supporting policies and guidance have been indicated for you
- Once each risk is ranked, you must consider the factors in place to reduce the risk and any further action you can take to lower it.
- You can include other risks of potential harm that are specific to your Affiliate and or Clubs/Branches/Regions.
- After you review your Risk Assessment, minute it at your meeting and get your Chairperson and Children’s Officer to sign and date it.
STEP TWO – YOUR CHILD SAFEGUARDING STATEMENT
- When step one is completed review your Child Safeguarding Statement and sign the document.
STEP THREE – DISPLAY YOUR CHILD SAFEGUARDING STATEMENT
- As per Section 11 of the Children First Act 2015, you are required to display your Child Safeguarding Statement in a prominent place in your Affiliate and your Clubs/Branches/Regions (notice board, public area, website etc.).
- We suggest that you also distribute your signed Child Safeguarding Statement to all parents by mail/email/web or social media on an annual basis. (Perhaps as a part of membership process)
- If you do not have a premises or website/social media page to display and distribute your Child Safeguarding Statement, you should display it at your events as a temporary sign or poster.
STEP FOUR – CONFIRMATION OF COMPLIANCE TO HORSE SPORT IRELAND
- This step should only be completed by HSI Affiliates.
- Please send a one line email to email@example.com to advise that steps 1 to 3 have been completed.
- HSI Affiliates should put appropriate structures in place to ensure that their Clubs / Branches ? Organisations are compliant.
NB: It is the responsibility of every Affiliate and your Clubs/Branches/Regions board to comply with the Children First legislation by completing the above steps.
Additional Note: While the Children’s First Act places a legal requirement on organisations in ROI to have a Child Safeguarding Statement (CSS) in place, as HSI and many of it’s Affiliates operate on a 32-County basis, the requirement for a CSS to be in place extends to all HSI Affiliates and their Clubs / Branches / Organisations regardless of jurisdiction.
Please see below the Risk Assessment and Child Safeguarding Statement Templates for Equestrian Sporting Bodies.