Swim England Safe Recruitment Policy

This Swim England policy applies to both voluntary and paid staff and states that all staff and volunteers for any Swim England organisation should go through an appropriate vetting process prior to appointment in order to establish their suitability to work with children.

Guidelines On The Recruitment And Selection Of Paid Staff And Volunteers Working With Children

These best practice guidelines were developed by The Football Association. We have amended these guidelines so that they relate to Swim England to provide organisations with guidance and advice on the recruitment of volunteers and paid staff.

In the recruitment of paid staff and volunteers, the wellbeing of all children should be paramount. Swim England is committed to providing a safe environment for children in our organisations and the requirements of the recruitment process outlined below will assist organisations to ensure best practice is implemented to protect children whenever a volunteer is appointed.

Whilst Swim England acknowledges that the vast majority of people applying to work with children in our organisations are doing so with the best of intentions, our experience has shown that those less suitable will also apply and it is only through sound recruitment practice that they can be screened out.

This guidance is aimed at assisting those who are recruiting for individuals who would work with children but can be used for all recruitment purposes, including for individuals who would work with adults who are deemed vulnerable.

Role Profile

The relevant person(s) in the organisation should draw up a 'role profile' or job description in order to identify the main responsibilities of the job that is being recruited for. They will need to clearly identify the skills and experience required to fulfil the role and draw up a person specification. For examples of role profiles, see the Swim England Volunteering website.

A recruitment process must also be developed by each organisation to ensure every applicant is treated in a fair and consistent manner.

Application Form

Each organisation should develop and use an application form to collect the information required for the post in question. The form should be developed by more than one individual and should include verification of the applicant's identity.

Meeting And Interviewing The Applicant

It is important that all applicants are interviewed and that the information obtained on the application form is explored appropriately. Questions asked of the applicant should be prepared in advance and it is important that each applicant has the opportunity to discuss their experiences and qualifications for the role, as well as be asked for examples of how they would manage some hypothetical situations.

In assessing the applicant's suitability you should:

  • Consider their relevant qualifications and experience.
  • Ascertain if they have previously undertaken a role in either a Swim England organisation, other sports organisation, club or any other role that involved working directly with children.
  • Consider their previous experience (if any) of working with children both inside and outside of the aquatic environment.
  • Consider their attitudes and commitment to child safeguarding.
  • Give the applicant a hypothetical child safeguarding scenario such as a child not being collected after a swimming session, and ask what they would do in that circumstance.
  • Ask them if they have ever been refused work that involved having contact with children.
  • Ask them if there is anything else that the organisation should know that could affect their suitability to work with children.


At least two references should be obtained even if the person is known to the organisation, e.g. a parent, carer or guardian of a member.

  • References should not be from a person who is related to the applicant.
  • One of the references should be from the applicant's current employer.
  • If the current employer is not a Swim England affiliated organisation or similar, then a reference must be obtained from the current or most recent sports organisation or club in which the applicant has been employed by or volunteered at.
  • If the applicant has not previously volunteered or been employed in a sports organisation or club of any kind, then the applicant should be asked to provide a reference from someone who knows them personally, and if possible, who has some knowledge of their attitude to children's wellbeing and child safeguarding.
  • Both references should contain a statement to illustrate that the referee is aware of the post the applicant is applying for.
  • All references should be followed up prior to any offer of appointment being made.

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