Somerset Safeguarding

Appointment of Assistant County Safeguarding Officers

In order to strengthen our county safeguarding team the county committee has appointed Phil Hedley from Gordano RFC & Tracey Sweetland from Minehead Barbarians RFC as assistant county safeguarding officers. They will be the first point of call in Phil’s case for clubs in North Somerset (Division B) & in Tracy’s case for clubs in the Taunton, Bridgwater & West Somerset areas (Division D).

Dave Binding remains the county’s safeguarding manager and he and Sue Denmark will act as first point of call in the Bristol and Bath areas and until we can appoint someone in South Somerset for Division E clubs as well.

We are a large county geographically and we hope that by giving clubs a point of contact in their area it will help to strengthen safeguarding in clubs as a whole.

Contact details:
Dave Binding -
Sue Denmark -
Phil Hedley -
Kat Swain -
Tracey Sweetland -

In order to continue to provide a safe and positive environment for children all club safeguarding officers and all club committee members must read and be familiar with Regulation 21 (Safeguarding) and RFU Safeguarding Policy . Anyone involved in rugby union must report safeguarding concerns to the RFU Safeguarding Team.

The RFU’s Safeguarding Policy, Toolkit and RFU Regulation 21 sets out our requirements and aims to assist clubs in ensuring that the welfare of children remains of paramount importance. We also offer clubs an effective safeguarding training programme for all members of the game. We would strongly recommend that anyone involved in rugby (specifically those within the under the age 18 game) attend. You will find further information on our training on the England Rugby website.

We have previously communicated to the game our requirements in managing Safeguarding concerns/incidents and the DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) applications. In order to ensure you are familiar with our requirements, please see the following information:-

Safeguarding Children

The RFU believes that the wellbeing of children involved in rugby is of paramount importance and has jurisdiction to deal with any allegation of abuse of a child, any breach of the Safeguarding Policy and or any breach of Regulation 21.

Concerns must be dealt with in accordance with the RFU Policy and Regulations to assess the most appropriate manner of dealing with them. Some incidents may need referral to Statutory Agencies, such as police or children’s services, while if the child is not in immediate danger the RFU Safeguarding Team will take action. However, even apparently low-level concerns may require the RFU to seek initial advice from Statutory Agencies.

It is essential to refer concerns to the RFU at the earliest opportunity to ensure that children are kept safe. Concerns may then be delegated back to a club or CB to manage.

It is vitally important that no investigation is carried out by the club, other than gathering information prior to informing the RFU. This is so as not to jeopardise any police investigation or criminal proceedings and also to preserve evidence. This is especially relevant when dealing with cases involving inappropriate use of the internet and social media.

When referring matters to the RFU Safeguarding Team please use the incident report form which can be found here:

Disclosure and Barring Service - DBS

The DBS process is a crucial part of an effective recruitment process. Any club operating rugby for those under the age of 18 is deemed a children’s service provider, which means that certain legislation and commitments must be adhered to.

RFU Regulation 21.2 describes the requirements of the RFU DBS process, further information is provided in the RFU Safeguarding Policy of the requirements within a rugby setting.

One significant aspect of providing a children’s service is ensuring that a thorough recruitment process is followed, including interviewing potential volunteers, seeking references, checking qualifications are valid, on-going monitoring and carrying out DBS checks via the RFU.

All DBS applications must be obtained through the RFU Safeguarding Department and DBS disclosures issued through other Registered Bodies are not accepted.

The DBS issue a certificate for ALL DBS applications - therefore, simply having a DBS certificate does not mean applicants have been approved by the RFU. The certificate is sent directly from the DBS to the applicant’s home address and the RFU does not receive a copy of the DBS disclosure. All applications and results are, however, actively monitored by the RFU Safeguarding Team.

Only when an individual appears on GMS with a "current" DBS status are they deemed "approved/cleared" to work unsupervised with U18s, so it is crucial that clubs monitor GMS, have an up-to-date Child Workforce list and manage those engaged in the youth game.

If a DBS returns containing information, the RFU will instigate the DBS Case Management Process and failure to comply with this process will result in the individual being removed from coaching U18s.

On occasion, the RFU will contact a club requesting a reference for an individual. It is imperative that written communication is supplied upon request so that the RFU can carry out a thorough risk assessment when managing a DBS disclosure.

Applicants (and clubs where necessary) will be informed of the outcome of the DBS Case Management Process in writing. Additionally the GMS site will be updated to reflect a Current or Rejected DBS status.

Only when a "current" status appears against an individual on GMS are they deemed "DBS cleared" by the RFU.


In the current climate and given the media coverage on issues to do with looking after children nobody can deny we need to make sure our children are properly cared for and safe when they play rugby.

Safeguarding children is not a ‘dilemma,’ we need to do it and be seen to do it. I know we all want to feel confident that when our children are at a rugby club they will be treated well – that the coaches or other adults who they may come into regular supervisory contact with are all DBS checked.

Safeguarding children is not complicated; simply we all need to be vigilant.

The Club Safeguarding Officers will have some paperwork for volunteers to complete and will require volunteers to attend appropriate courses which the Somerset RFU are fully committed to helping clubs with.

Club Safeguarding Officers and Assistant Safeguarding Officers must attend a Club Safeguarding Officers Workshop within 6 months of starting, (Reg 21).

Somerset Safeguarding Manager
Dave Binding.
58 St Mary’s Gardens, Hilperton Marsh, Trowbridge, Wilts, BA14 7PQ
01228 768323, 07941 123584


About this course

This course is for any volunteer, coach or referee who is working or has responsibility for children and vulnerable adults within rugby.

Identifying best practice, it provides information and guidance on the responsibilities and support available for ensuring children and vulnerable adults are safeguarded appropriately.

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Identify best practice and apply this within rugby
  • Know where to find support and guidance within the RFU
  • Identify signs and indicators of possible abuse and poor practice
  • State action to take if there is a concern or disclosure
  • Recognise their role in safeguarding and protecting children and vulnerable adults

For information about safeguarding courses

Please contact Dave if your club would like to host a course.