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Sport England is responsible for the development of grassroots sport in England (sportscotland, Sport Wales, and Sport Northern Ireland are responsible in those countries). UK Sport funds “high performance” sports (i.e. Olympic and Paralympic). Both organisations distribute National Lottery and Government money.

Individual national governing bodies are responsible for managing specific sports (e.g. the Football Association, the Lawn Tennis Association).

In October 2016, Sport England and UK Sport published a Code for Sports Governance setting out the standards that all organisations hoping to receive public funding for sport and physical activity must comply with. The Code, along with individual funding agreements between UK Sport and/or Sport England and the recipient bodies (which will range from large NGBs to small community groups) is designed to ensure that bodies that work with children and vulnerable adults have appropriate safeguarding policies and processes in place.

In December 2017, in response to a written question on what the Government was doing “to ensure that sporting bodies are sufficiently well-regulated to prevent abuse within those organisations”, Tracey Crouch, the Sports Minister, referred to the Code and to the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU):

As part of their funding conditions with Sport England and UK Sport, all National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) are required to have appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures in place as well as meeting and – where appropriate – maintaining the Standards for Safeguarding and Protecting Children in Sport (the ‘Standards’) which are issued by the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU). This requirement also forms part of the standards set out in the Code for Sports Governance which applies to all organisations in receipt of public and/or National Lottery funding from Sport England and UK Sport.

The CPSU is Sport England’s expert safeguarding partner and conducts an annual ‘health check’ of all NGBs, reporting back to Sport England to ensure this funding condition is being met. The Standards provide a framework for all those involved in sport to help them create a safe sporting environment for children and young people and to protect them from harm. They also seek to provide a benchmark to help those involved in sport make informed decisions, and to promote good practice and challenge practice that is harmful to children.

The Code for Sports Governance makes it clear that it is vital that sports bodies receiving money from Sport England or UK Sport have appropriate policies and processes in place to ensure good governance and transparency in their organisations. This includes ensuring that bodies meet their obligations to protect and safeguard the welfare of those participating in their sports, as well as volunteers and employees. 

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