SMCC Policy and Procedure for the Protection of Young (under 18’s) and Vulnerable Cyclists

 

SMCC has a duty of care to protect members who are children or vulnerable adults, to safeguard their welfare, irrespective of age, gender, racial origin, religious belief, sexual identity or disability, while involved in club activities

A child is defined as a person under the age of 18, (The Children NI Order 1995)

Policy Aim

This Policy is to promote good practice within the club by -

  • Providing young people and vulnerable adults, with appropriate safety and protection, whilst in the care of the club through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by Cycling Ireland / Cycling Ulster

  • Allowing all members to make informed and confident responses to specific young people and vulnerable adults protection issues.

  • Providing assurance to Parents and Guardians that their child or vulnerable adult is safe.

 

Procedures

As SMCC is primarily a public road cycling club the minimum age requirement is 16 for members who are not accompanied by a Parent or Guardian

Children over 11 years old can join the club but must be accompanied by a Parent/guardian at all times i.e. club runs/events within the club.  The accompanying parent or guardian must also be a club member and both must have a valid Cycling Ireland Licence. 

It is the responsibility of the parent / guardian to ensure their child is sufficiently responsible and competent for his/her own safety while on the public highway.  They are also responsible for the behaviour of their child while attending any event or club run.

Due to the club having members under 18 years of age we recommend that members acquire NI Access Enhanced Vetting via Cycling Ulster, this is not essential but desirable and not at any cost to the individual or club.  Anyone receiving the vetting letter should inform the Child Protection Officer for their records.

All members between the age of 16-18 who are not accompanied by a Parent or Guardian will need a Parental consent form to be completed.

It is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to ensure their Child wears a helmet and suitable clothing.  Also if any necessary medication potentially required is with them e.g. Inhalers

It is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to arrange any required drop off or pick up to club runs and any other events

Parents/Guardians are responsible to ensure the bike is in good working order and ensure they have the necessary equipment to carry out puncture repairs with them.  This should include a pump, tyre levers, spare tube and tools to remove a wheel if required.

Good Practise

All Members should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations.

It is not always easy to differentiate poor practise from abuse. It is not the responsibility of team members to determine whether or not abuse is taking place. It is, however, their responsibility to act if they have concerns about the welfare of a child. 

Good practise means:

  • Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication. 

  • Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity. 

  • Always putting the welfare of each young person first. 

  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with members (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child). 

  • Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making.

  • Making cycling fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play. 

  • Avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people. Physical contact is permitted but should neither be intrusive nor disturbing.

  • Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance. 

  • Being an excellent role model

  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism. 

  • Securing parent/guardian consent to act, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment. 

  • Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given. 

  • Requesting consent for use of any photographs/videos for the purpose of representing SMCC Lisburn and promoting cycling

 

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of any member to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities. It is essential that a member does not investigate a suspicion or disclosure made by a child.

Action

If an allegation is clearly about poor practice, the Club Committee will deal with it as a misconduct issue.

Reporting suspected or disclosed child abuse - the Club’s Safeguarding Officer, who will take the steps considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk. Detailed information on the procedures to be adhered to can be found on the Cycling Ulster website in the Cycling Ireland Code of Practice for Young and Vulnerable Cyclists.

Confidentiality

  • Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned.

  • Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only.

  • In all instances the Club will be guided by information and guidelines put in place by Cycling Ireland & Cycling Ulster.