Inside Revolution: The essential role of a Club Safeguarding Officer

Wednesday 04 October 2023

Revolution is available online, as a PDF download and on the Revolution app (for both iOS and Android devices). 

Every Motorsport UK Club must now have a nominated Club Safeguarding Officer (CSO) who is licenced by Motorsport UK. This is an individual who provides reassurance and ensures a safe environment for children, young adults and vulnerable members of the club to enjoy motorsport. The CSO must have completed an Enhanced Suitability Check, confirmation that they have been cleared to work with these groups. The name of the CSO must be publicised to members of the club, so that they know who is there to support them if needed.

Currently only around 50 per cent of Motorsport UK registered clubs have a licenced CSO in place. Increasing the number of licenced Club Safeguarding Officers is an essential step towards widening the support that they provide across all aspects of motorsport. Throughout the Clubs, there are more people who undertake the role of CSO, but as they are not licenced with Motorsport UK, so the governing body does not have a record of who they are and is therefore unable to offer support, advice, or guidance.

Why is the role important?

The Club Safeguarding Officer is the lead person within the club whose remit it is to make the club a welcoming and safe place for everyone. The role is varied and can be undertaken alongside other club committee posts – such as Event Secretary, Social Secretary, Timekeeper or Club Steward. In larger clubs the role may need to be managed as a single post, and in some clubs, you may find there is more than one CSO on the team.

A Club CSO is a prominent member, someone who is friendly and familiar to, and with, all the members. They know the club community, and in return the community knows them. If there are any issues that arise the CSO is usually the first point of contact, but a CSO does not need to take on investigations or referrals with other organisations (unless they feel equipped to do so). However, they do need to have excellent communication skills, be able to assess risk and have the confidence to make decisions and to see them carried through to action.

Being a Motorsport UK licenced CSO opens up a wider support network of information and resources which can be used by the CSO to benefit the Club which they represent and the membership. As a point of contact for the Safeguarding Team at Bicester HQ (See Revolution October 2022) the Club CSO will receive direct updates and new information as it becomes available. They will also be invited to attend Safeguarding webinars with other CSOs to share knowledge and experiences. There are training courses available which can help them develop their skills and techniques, plus the option to ask for advice and support should the need arise. The CSO licence is free, and it opens the door to further collaboration in the future.

Where to Start?

The CSO role can be voluntary in addition to other responsibilities, but it is important that the Safeguarding Officer is, or becomes, a crucial member of the wider club committee or organising team.

Motorsport UK can provide posters and support materials to aide Clubs in recruiting a Club Safeguarding Officer. These should be displayed in prominent positions at club events and can be found in the Welfare and Safeguarding section of the Club Toolkit.

If you would like to be considered as a CSO, but are not currently linked with a club, complete the application form with which discipline and region you would like to support, and the team at Motorsport UK will match you up with a suitable club in the area.

On the Job

The Club Safeguarding Officer is the lead person for managing all safeguarding activity, this includes responding appropriately to all safeguarding concerns in order for the club to meet its legal and statutory duties. They are supported by the team at Motorsport UK when required.

As a member of the club’s committee or organising team, the CSO makes sure that the club leadership are aware of the role in leading and delivering safeguarding activity, and that the CSO is aware of club activities where safeguarding support may be required.

Other responsibilities are likely to include:

  • Making sure that anyone working with children and / or adults at risk, is suitable to do so (safe recruitment)
  • Reviewing contractual arrangements to identify and mitigate risks
  • Owning and embedding the club’s safeguarding policy and procedure
  • Recognising safeguarding concerns
  • Responding to safeguarding concerns
  • Reporting safeguarding concerns
  • Providing support and signposting to club members if / when they need it

To get a better understanding of the Club Safeguarding Role, and all the aspects it entails, Revolution spoke to Paul Sirett, CSO, Clerk of the Course, and Competition Secretary, at Whilton Mill Kart Club.

“I started Karting in the 1980’s”, says Sirett, “after inheriting £500 from my grandmother. My father and I knew nothing about the sport when we started and learned together over many happy years at Clay Pigeon and Dunkeswell (now Mansell Raceway). When I took the role as Competition Secretary for Whilton Mill, the Club Safeguarding role was also vacant, so I jumped at it.

“The most significant change has been one of increased awareness across the entire team. Awareness both to spot potential safeguarding matters for others, and also for themselves. Whilton Mill has around 35 marshals and officials running any one event, which gives us 35 pairs of eyes and ears to help make sure everyone enjoys the sport and feels comfortable.

“Club members competing at our events can feel confident inappropriate behaviours will be dealt with in an impartial, professional way following a clear process through a clear point of contact. Motorsport – like any sport – can be a roller-coaster at times so everyone has to take care to manage their own emotions too, and we all share in this responsibility and are all part of making it work well.

“One thing any current Safeguarding Officer will know already is that they are not alone… you are not expected to make complex judgement calls on your own. The Motorsport UK Safeguarding, and indeed Race with Respect team, are very accessible, quick to respond and thorough yet practical in their support. So, if faced with a difficult potential safeguarding matter the professionals really are there to help you.

“What any prospective CSO should know, is that often, and perhaps usually, one of any two parties involved in a Safeguarding matter will normally not be happy with the outcome. This can be either party… both the ‘accused’ or the ‘accuser’. The Motorsport UK procedures now in place and team behind them will ensure outcomes are evidenced based and balanced.

“The workload at events can be similar to the medical team or circuit marshal team in that you only ‘work’ when something has happened… so it is not a constantly live role and can therefore easily be combined with other responsibilities. Of course, when a matter is raised it is important to follow the process, be thorough and accurate in recording the case, and the evidence around it, all in a factual non-judgmental way. This demands care and attention and a readiness from the CSO at all times.

“It is important to keep refreshing yourself from the Motorsport UK website Resource Centre. All CSO’s also have the opportunity to attend regular webinars with the Motorsport UK Safeguarding team which keep us up to date.

“Here at Whilton Mill the CSO role could be shared, although it naturally helps for one person to see an individual cases through from beginning to end as they can have complexities and nuances that are just easier held in one place. Clubs with more members would of course benefit from having two or more CSO’s, if nothing else to act as a sounding board for each other. but also cover if one of the CSO’s is away. At Whilton we are training up our second Safeguarding Officer now.

“A CSO needs to be calm, have an inquisitive and logical mind that looks for independent evidence on which to base decisions. Good social and communication skills of course, and an ability not to take things personally… you are an Officer of the regulations and are there to apply the processes.

“The Clerk of the Course role carries many similarities with the Club Safeguarding Officer in so far as you are gathering evidence to help make a balanced judgement on a possible breach of the rules. Many of the skills required are the same, as is the overall aim… safe, fair, and fun racing.”

It is a common misconception that Safeguarding is limited to the interaction and responsibilities towards children and young adults. This is not the case, as the role of the CSO extends to all members of a club – from the oldest to the youngest, the novice to the most experienced. To learn how this translates to real life, in a motorsport context, Revolution invited Michele Jarvis, Safeguarding Officer at the Morgan Sports Car Club, to share her perspective on the role.

“I have been involved in motorsport since the day I was born’, reveals Jarvis, “as I partly grew up in the Cambridge Car Club Caravan! My father and mother used to compete since the 60’s – in hill climbs, trials, and some rallies. Dad was the Chairman at one point, as well as the Route Liaison Officer (RLO) for Cambridgeshire and he only retired in 2019. He was also a noise tester for rallies, and both my brother and I would go and assist him with this.

“I had been a member of the Morgan Sports Car Club for a while, as a Centre Secretary for a couple of years. I was involved in organising one large event and it was obvious that the CSO at the time was not as ‘active’ as I would have expected. In daily life I am a health and safety professional and have previously been an adult staff member for the Air Training Corp, so I have more experience with managing people than many other members of the club. This led the [then] Vice Chairman to persuade me to apply for the role of CSO. I have held the position for three years now.

“I have spent the time so far challenging the members’ perceptions of safeguarding, as well as expanding the existing policy documents. I have introduced training for specific roles on what safeguarding is, explaining that it goes beyond ‘just children’. Although I now have more ‘hats’ to wear, I still participate in about the same amount of motorsport as before.

“The CSO role is not a ‘tick box’ position. It is so much more, as it sets a clear standard that everyone in Motorsport must adhere to. By doing this we help to make the atmosphere inviting and to ensure that motorsport can grow and provide a level playing field for everyone involved. I enjoy changing people’s perceptions and take pride in allowing people to experience something that they may have only dreamed of as a kid.

“For most clubs the CSO is a one person position so you can feel a little isolated at times. A job share is possible, and in some ways, it would be a good thing because you then have a support network within your own club. Some of the decisions that a CSO has to make can, and will, affect people’s lives. Even if you are a ‘solo’ CSO, you will always have the Motorsport UK Safeguarding team there for you, and who are always happy to provide support and advice if you need clarification, or just a sounding board for your thoughts.

“A CSO needs to be persistent, confident, approachable, and have the ability to work independently as a lot of the information they are party to is not for disclosure outside of the case team. I have transferred some of my work life skills into the role, as I carry out Occupational (Workplace) Accident / Incident investigations. For complex and more serious cases my training in taking witness statements, managing case documents and evidence has been really important.

“Some members think you are a doctor, and you end up listening to medical conditions, or you just seem to be the person that all the moans and groans are shared with. Often these are really nothing to do with safeguarding. Our club mostly consists of ‘retired professionals’, and for some they can still be on a voyage of discovery when it comes to social media and other forms of electronic communications. They find it hard to understand that the ‘respect’ and social awareness that you have with others when you meet face-to-face must also extend to the virtual world. I have had to support forum moderators navigating this, and as I am in my mid-40’s I find myself ‘telling off’ members which are 20 to 30-years-older than myself. Sometimes you think ‘they should know better’ but it is not always the case.

“I have thought about becoming an Eligibility Officer, a Scrutineer or even joining Rescue & Recovery in the past. You just never know what the future might be, and in motorsport you can always do more than one job. I would love to have a go at all of them!

Motorsport UK has a responsibility to ensure that the safety and welfare of children and adults at risk is appropriately managed through safe recruitment of both staff and volunteers across all its clubs.

One way that this is managed is through the use of suitability checks (DBS, PVG, AccessNI) for anyone working in regulated activity. Club Safeguarding Officers have an important role to play in supporting this programme through the identification of people working in roles classed as regulated activity and ensuring they have the required level of check in place, and that it is not older than three years from the date of issue. For more information on regulated activity and to view Motorsport UK’s Safer Recruitment policy on the website.

Building relationships with your club members, their families and your officials is a key part of safeguarding. For people to report any concerns to their CSO, they need to know who the CSO is, and that they can be trusted. Being a visible presence will help to shape a positive culture.

Motorsport UK maintains a log of all licence and registration suspensions. If Motorsport UK place a member’s licence or registration on hold, details of the suspension will be made available on the Motorsport UK website. The Club Safeguarding Officer must review this register ahead of any events and ensure that people whose licence has been removed (temporarily or permanently) are not attending the clubs’ events.

Club Safeguarding Officers have a key role to play when deciding on venues for club meets, and events. When considering venues for club events, it is important to consider whether the venue has a safeguarding policy in place, if it has a safeguarding lead, and if other safeguarding materials or policies are in place such as a missing persons procedure. Not having these things in place should not exclude them from consideration by the club, however it should be given due regard in the decision-making process.

If the club is bringing in other people to provide services at events, the CSO must consider whether they need a suitability check. For example, a St. John’s Ambulance volunteer who is asked to deliver first aid at an event will need to be evaluated for the appropriate suitability check in place.

To read the full Safeguarding Officer job description click HERE.

Procedures and Policies

A safeguarding policy and procedures are important documents for all clubs to develop and maintain. This sets out the club’s position on safeguarding issues, who the policy covers and the processes to follow if someone reports a safeguarding concern. The CSO needs to be confident that the club’s policy

reflects current legislation and best practice. Safeguarding is an evolving area to work in with new learnings regularly published. Motorsport UK clubs must review their policy and procedure every two years as a minimum. This helps make sure that members have the most up-to-date information possible. The Motorsport UK policies relating to Safeguarding can be located by going to the Motorsport UK website under The Sport > Safeguarding > Policies and Guidance.

We all have a duty of care and a duty to tackle incidents and behaviours which fall short of expectations, and which left unchallenged can lead to a culture which is not conducive to a positive enjoyment of motorsport. Incidents range from poor practice, behaviours and language from Officials, Marshals, and Staff to peer-on-peer bullying, to welfare concerns, to allegations of abuse or neglect. Depending on the type of incident there are several options available. The Club Safeguarding Officer will follow the appropriate reporting procedure. This process is documented on the Motorsport UK website under The Sport > Safeguarding > Sharing a Concern.

It is important to report any Safeguarding concerns, whether to the CSO or directly to Motorsport UK, as they could form part of a bigger picture. All concerns relating to the welfare or safety of an individual, especially a child should be reported as soon as possible.

If you would prefer to report via email, please contact and provide the following details:

  • Your name and contact details
  • The details of the person you are worried about – their name, address, date of birth
  • Why are you worried about them – if you have witnessed something please provide details of this
  • Who they are at risk from – their name and relationship to the child or adult at risk
  • Any other relevant information

If you have an immediate concern about the safety of someone, please call 999.

If you would like to become the Safeguarding Officer for your club, or if you are already acting as a Club Safeguarding Officer, but have not yet registered with Motorsport UK, please email so a support pack and training options can be shared with you.

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