Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for some answers to frequently asked questions regarding safeguarding. 

If you have a question not listed here, for general questions or questions of a confidential nature, please email

If you are worried about a child, it’s vital you report your concerns. Doing nothing is not an option. It’s also important you stay calm, and if any child is present, reassure them they are not to blame. But don’t make promises of confidentiality or outcome. 

There are five ways to report a concern: 

1.  To your Club Welfare Officer (CWO) or League Welfare Officer (LWO) – please find out from your club who these people are or check your club / league website 

2.  To your County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer – 

3.  By emailing The FA Safeguarding Team at or by calling and asking for the safeguarding team on 0800 169 1863

4.  If urgent and you cannot contact your CWO, LWO or County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer, you should call the NSPCC 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 5000

5.  If it is an emergency because a child or children are at immediate risk, then call the Police or Children’s Social Care in your area.

The FA is currently re-writing the Safeguarding Children Workshop into an online course. Whilst this is happening all new volunteers are encouraged to undertake the free online 'Safeguarding for All' course, which provides an introduction to safeguarding and can be accessed by clicking here

Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility.

However, having a Welfare Officer in place ensures there is someone who actively champions safeguarding. The role of Club Welfare Officer is not only mandatory in youth clubs but is also vital in keeping children safe whilst playing football.

For more information on the role and how to recruit a new CWO please click here and chose item 5.2.

If you need additional support please email 

To attend a WOW please email 

The ability to view coaches qualification will depend on the role you hold within the club – if you hold the correct role then enter your Whole Game System (WGS) page, click on your club role at the top of the page then click on the safeguarding option on the left hand side and this will show all members of your club with their qualifications – if you need more help with this please email

Currently it is mandatory for the club Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Welfare Officer and League Committee Members to complete this online course, but all other committee members are encouraged to take the course and thus update their safeguarding knowledge.

Everyone aged 16 years or over who undertakes any unsupervised role in football with children needs a DBS. These roles could be managing, training, coaching, refereeing or supervising. 

They  also include giving advice or guidance on well-being, caring for children or driving a vehicle solely for children on behalf of a club or organisation. By children, we mean anyone under 18. Anyone performing these roles MUST obtain an FA Enhanced DBS Check. 

Full details on who needs an FA DBS can be found by clicking here and opening Item 3.3 Please note only FA DBS checks are acceptable in football and those issued by other agencies will not be accepted unless you have registered for portability.  

For more information on portability please email

The Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate which results from a DBS Check is a document containing confidential criminal history information held by the police and government departments. Disclosure information could include: 

1.  Details of criminal records such as convictions and cautions
2.  Information about a person’s inclusion on children’s or adults’ barred lists  (Barred lists refer’ to a list of people barred from working with children and a list of people barred from working with adults)
3.  Other relevant information 
4.  A statement that there is no information held about an individual. 

DBS checks in football are undertaken on those who work with children (a child is anyone under the age of 18). An FA Enhanced DBS Check contains all conviction information, spent and unspent, and any other non-conviction information considered to be relevant by the police or other government bodies

Barred lists refer to a list of people barred from working with children and a list of people barred from working with adults.

Your Club Welfare Officer will give you clear instructions, the check is started on line followed by your CWO, or nominated club official, doing a face to face verification of your documents.  If you are not at a club or at a club without a CWO or you are a referee then please email and we will send you information on how to start the process.


If you are attached to a youth club then please contact your Club Welfare Officer who will be able to start the process for you and steer you through the process.

If you are not associated with a youth team or if you are associated with a club who only have adult teams or you are a referee then please email and we will help you through the process.


Anyone over 18 can be a DBS verifier.  It should be noted the verifier will deal with personal information so clubs should make sure that have only the number of verifiers required to support the clubs needs and they should be vetted by the club to ensure security of information. Once identified the CWO should email and ask for the individual to be added as a verifier for the club.

The minimum age for a DBS check is 16- the process cannot be started prior to your 16th birthday.

The cost is £10 for volunteers and £50 for those in paid employment in football such as paid coaches and tutors. At the end of the online process you will be presented with payment options which will allow payment by either by PayPal or a credit/debit card. Some clubs may pay this fee for you, so please check with your club before making a payment as once made it cannot be refunded. 

The FA has already made, and continues to make, significant investments to help make children’s football fun and safe. Investment is made in its education programmes, case management services and all the other support services available for clubs, leagues and individuals.

Yes, it is secure with only the issuing authority (The FA) having access to the information on your DBS certificate.  Your club will not have access to information on your DBS, they will only know whether or not your FA DBS has been approved for you to work with children in football.  Your club should not ask to see your certificate only the issuing authority can demand to see your DBS certificate and they will contact you personally if they wish to do so.

DBS checks will show on your FAN often within a matter of days of completion and you will receive a certificate in the post around the same time.  However, some take longer and can take up to a maximum of 60 days from the day of submission. It is therefore recommended that all DBS applications are started 3 months before the due date to ensure continued compliance. You can track progress of you DBS by using the E-Application number emailed to you as part of the process. Click here to track progress of your application once you have passed the payment page.

Once the FA DBS check is complete then you will receive a certificate with any disclosures shown.  Providing those disclosures do not prevent you from working with children then your FAN will be updated automatically to show you have an in-date FA DBS, which is valid for 3 years.

DBS checks must be renewed every 3 years or sooner if required by The FA.