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Safeguarding in Sport: The Importance and Role of Expert Risk Assessment

A webinar with Richard Bush, Partner, Bird & Bird and Marcella Leonard, Director, Leonard Consultancy



I was fortunate enough last week to have the opportunity to sit in on a very interesting webinar on Risk Assessment in the context of safeguarding in sport, hosted by Richard Bush, a Partner at law firm Bird & Bird and Marcella Leonard of Leonard Consultancy. Many of you may already have watched it but if not the webinar is now available online for those who might find it helpful in future. See link below.


Here's Richard's summary of the webinar content:


"Safeguarding regulation in sport is principally concerned with the prevention of harm to participants within sport - literally, to ‘safeguard’ them from harm. Accordingly, well drafted safeguarding regulations will contain a provision that prohibits participants from presenting a risk of harm to other participants in the sport, and which will allow a sports organisation to take appropriate action when it becomes aware that a participant presents such risk.


The question as to whether a participant might present a risk of harm to others in the sport can often be a difficult and nuanced one, understandably beyond the experience and understanding of many sports organisations. A very useful and important tool that can enable a sports organisation to establish the actual or potential harm presented by a participant is Expert Risk Assessment. If a participant undergoes such a risk assessment, the resulting report and conclusion as to the participant’s degree of risk will inform a sports organisation’s next steps in seeking to manage such risk.


For example, safeguarding proceedings might be appropriate under the sports organisation’s rules (with a view to preventing or restricting their participation in the sport), or it might be appropriate to seek to manage the risk in another manner, such as getting the participant to undertake training and/or for them to be monitored for a certain period."


In this one hour session, Marcella and Richard Bush do an excellent job in aiding the understanding of the importance and role of risk assessment in safeguarding in sport, by discussing and explaining:


  • what risk assessment is,

  • why it is a useful tool for sports organisations, and

  • what steps sports organisations must take in order to be able to require a participant to undergo a risk assessment in appropriate cases.



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