Child Protection & Welfare

Child Protection and the PVG scheme

The Scottish Orienteering Association is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children in its care. This page provides up-to-date background information and links to various sources of relevant information. Fiona Keir is Lead Child Protection & Welfare Officer for the SOA and can be contacted via

If you have been abused or you have reason to believe that someone is being abused, you must report it promptly.

There are many people and organisations that can help you. If you feel a child is in immediate danger or at risk from harm call the police. Please see the flowchart on how to respond to a concern

If you have any concerns please contact any of the following for support, help or advice :

  • Your club or SOA Child Protection and Welfare officer,
  • Children’s First Safeguarding in Sport helpline 0141 419 1156,
  • You could talk to a teacher.

SOA Principles and Policy

The Scottish Orienteering Association sees the future of the sport in the nurturing and development of today’s children;  we are fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children in our care.  We recognise the responsibility to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation.
Staff and volunteers will work together to embrace difference and diversity and respect the rights of children and young people.

The SOA’s Child Protection Policy can be downloaded from the SOA Policies page.

The SOA has signed the 2006 Accord for the Protection of Children in Scottish Sport, which was developed by the Child Protection in Sport Steering Group to ensure that all stakeholders in Scottish sport fulfil their responsibilities to protect children and young people from abuse, harm and exploitation in and through sport.

PVG Scheme

These notes summarise the key points of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme with specific reference to orienteering.  The PVG Scheme replaced the previous system of disclosures for people working with children and vulnerable adults.

These notes are NOT a comprehensive guide, rather a summary of some key points of the PVG Scheme as it applies to orienteering.  We focus here purely on working with children;  if you are required to work with vulnerable adults, please contact Fiona Keir, Child Protection & Welfare Officer.


The legislation refers to “Regulated Work”, meaning work for which you are required to be a member of the PVG Scheme.  Such work could be paid or voluntary.  You apply for membership and receive a “Scheme Record”.

If you are already a Scheme member, you would obtain a “Scheme Record Update” when you take on a new role that involves regulated work.

People who have remained in a role that involves regulated work, and have a disclosure under the previous scheme, should apply for PVG Scheme membership.

Scheme Membership

You apply for scheme membership and a Scheme Record, using a form which can be obtained from your club’s Child Protection Officer or from the Lead Signatory, Fiona Keir.

This provides a snapshot of information, but the difference is that additional information can be linked to that person’s membership record as it becomes available.  Regular updates are therefore not required, though we reserve the right to request people doing regulated work to complete a self-declaration or to apply for a Scheme Update.

For volunteers, there is no charge for scheme membership or for obtaining scheme records or updates.

Job descriptions form a key part of arrangements;  these guide post-holders and make it clear whether the role includes “regulated work” or not.  Coaching children is automatically “regulated work”.  If your role (as per the job description) does not normally include substantial lone contact with children, you do not need to join the scheme;  if something exceptional happens that requires you to take charge of a group of children, this is “incidental” to your main role and you can do it, whether or not you are a scheme member.

Job descriptions should be based on the SOA templates.

Full details of the PVG Scheme are available on the Disclosure Scotland website.

Orienteering-related examples – who needs to join the scheme?

Teaching, instructing, training or supervising children are regulated work.  People who regularly coach children must therefore be scheme members.  (Disclosure/PVG Scheme membership is no longer a pre-requisite for a coach to be licensed.  It is up to the club or squad to ensure that each coach has an appropriate job description and is appropriately deployed.  If you only normally coach adults, you do not need to join the PVG scheme.)

Non-coaching roles at events do not entail regulated work, as should be clear from the job description.

If a coach of adults has a 16/17-year-old assistant, this assistant’s work does not comprise regulated work.

If a club arranges transport for a group of juniors, adults appointed to be in charge of the group must be scheme members;  if the parents make such arrangements amongst themselves, they don’t.

If you ask a friend to coach your child, the law does not require that friend to be a scheme member, but of course a club offering coaching specifically for children must ensure that all involved who are doing regulated work are scheme members.

Working with vulnerable adults is a different category of regulated work.  If your club organises a session primarily intended to introduce (for example) visually impaired people to orienteering, the people providing coaching and/or guidance are deemed to be providing a “welfare service” to vulnerable adults, so this constitutes regulated work and they must be scheme members for working with adults – for which a separate application must be made.  If a visually impaired person turns up at a general session advertised for adults, this is incidental to the main purpose of the session so the coach does not need to be a scheme member.

Coach behaviour

Licensed coaches have signed the British Orienteering Code of Conduct for Coaches, and are required to abide by it in order to retain their licensed status.  Coaches who work regularly with children or vulnerable adults are required to be members of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme, as described above, and we encourage them to attend appropriate Child Protection training.

Coaching orienteering seldom requires physical contact, though occasionally it’s necessary in order to demonstrate something, such as how to hold the compass.  It’s OK to mark a particular success – or indeed a disappointment – with an appropriate physical gesture such as a “high-five”, a brief hug or a hand on the shoulder.  But frequent touching should not be accepted as a coach’s “style”.  If you, as a young athlete, or a parent or carer of one, feel uncomfortable with a coach’s behaviour, you should talk to your lead coach or your club’s Child Protection Officer, or any other adult that you trust.

Coaches must be cautious in their use of social media, and should avoid being a “friend” on Facebook (for example) of their athletes.

Most clubs have a Child Protection Officer, who would be a first point of contact for anyone with concerns relating to child protection, safeguarding or the behaviour of a coach.  Alternatively, you can contact the SOA’s Child Protection & Welfare Officer, Fiona Keir –

Use of images & information on the web

Information published on the websites must never include personal information that could identify a child e.g. home address, e-mail address, telephone number of a child.  All contact must be directed to the club or SOA.

Children must never be portrayed in a demeaning, tasteless or a provocative manner. They should be portrayed in a manner and in clothing that is appropriate to the sport depicted.

Information about specific events or meetings such as junior coaching sessions must not be distributed to any individuals other than to those directly concerned.

A template form for child and parent to give permission for use of photos and video is available from


Scottish Government Parent Checklist for Youth Activities, 15 questions for parents to ask of youth organisations and clubs before allowing child(ren) to join.

It’s everyone’s responsibility – Safeguarding in Sport

The SOA is working closely with Children 1st who, among other things, support all sports in safeguarding children. Their message is a simple one and is being summed up in this new video.

If you have questions regarding safeguarding children and young adults in your club or in orienteering in general, please contact

What is Child Welfare?


We are interested in all our members’ well being and welfare as well as their enjoyment and continued participation in orienteering. We are currently exploring options to ensure we best support our existing members and also reduce any barriers to participation to new families or prospective members. We look forward to updating you on our progress and also upcoming projects designed to increase our diversity and grow the sport.

If you have any ideas on how you would like to see us encourage others or support our existing members further please do get in touch with Fiona Keir, Child Protection and Welfare Officer,