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 Devon 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).

Devon Safeguarding Manager

Elaine Palmer holds the position of Devon RFU Safeguarding Manager and with her team they are there to assist clubs.  

Our aim is for Devon not to have any safeguarding issues as have arisen in other CBs. 

As far as the RFU and the Devon RFU are concerned Safeguarding/Child Protection is integral to the happy and efficient running of rugby club at both playing and social events. 

All clubs in Devon have been written to reminding them of their responsibilities when it comes to safeguarding.  We cannot stress enough how important this responsibility is, especially with the recent allegations within football and the rugby case recently which was heard at crown court and a custodial sentence given. 

Safeguarding like other areas of your club (accounting, health & Safety etc.) are areas of responsibility which should not and cannot be ignored.

Safeguarding MUST be an agenda item at your club executive meetings and the appointed club safeguarding officer should report to this meeting and actions taken.

The club executive committee hold the most important and key role within safeguarding at your club, if an incident was to occur, they would be responsible, which is why, at least three member of the committee should also attend the RFU Safeguarding courses, 'Play it Safe' and 'In Touch'. 

The members who we suggest should attend these are; the club chair, chair of the discipline committee and junior chair.  

All members of the club who have a supervisory role with children (performing a regulated activity) must be DBS checked and this check makes them part of the 'child workforce', although in most cases they will be volunteers (not paid). 

There are three main steps which need to be taken when recruiting volunteers: 

Use a Safer Recruitment process, which should include completing an information document (application form) and completing a DBS check.  It is not until this DBS check comes back, and the volunteer has a green mark in their DBS line on their GMS record, that they are eligible to work with children unsupervised.  Up until this time they must be supervised at all time by a member of the club who has this DBS check already in place.

The club then needs to make sure that the volunteer attends the correct training courses.  Everyone who has a DBS check should attend the RFU initial Safeguarding course 'Play it Safe'.  As part of this course all delegates are required to complete the online concussion course; 'Don't be a HEAD-CASE', before they attend. If the volunteer is a coach, they will then need to attend the appropriate coaching courses.  Then, register online as a licensed coach.

Each coaches training requirements will need to be reviewed and updated with CPD on an annual bases. 

Elaine’s role and that of her team, is preventative and they are here to help, support and advice. We would rather prevent incidents arising than dealing with them after they have happened.  

If you have any further questions regarding Safeguarding/Child Protection and Rugby Safe, please contact Elaine at  or (01271) 371187.


Safeguarding courses can be booked on the link below. The YouTube link below will show you how to book if you are unfamiliar with the RFU online scheme.

If you would like to host either course at your club, you must have at least 12 delegates  for the Play it Safe, and eight for the In-Touch. The course booking needs to be made at least six weeks in advance. 

To book to host a course at you club, please send three convenient dates to: Elaine Palmer (Devon Safeguarding Manager) at



Play it Safe and In Touch Safeguarding Courses