The balance of benefit and burden? The impact of child protection legislation on volunteers in Scottish sports clubs

NICHOLS, Geoff and TAYLOR, Peter (2010). The balance of benefit and burden? The impact of child protection legislation on volunteers in Scottish sports clubs. European Sport Management Quarterly, 10 (1), 31-47.

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This paper explores the benefits and burdens experienced by volunteers in sports clubs in Scotland arising from child protection (CP) legislation. It positions them in relation to the balance between legislation to reduce risk on the one hand and the promotion of voluntary action on the other. Mixed methods included interviews with 14 representatives of key agencies and a survey of 977 current, disengaged and potential volunteers. These revealed little evidence of positive disclosures leading to the elimination of unsuitable volunteers. It was difficult to identify the extent to which the existence of the CP process deterred unsuitable volunteers from offering to volunteer. Furthermore, some suitable volunteers with criminal records might also be deterred but this is also difficult to identify. Having to comply with CP procedures is a minor deterrent to volunteers, compared to pressures from lack of time, time at paid work and time with their families. Child protection legislation may have stimulated a broader adoption of child protection policies in clubs but it has also imposed additional burdens on volunteers and voluntary administrators. The paper concludes that the difficulties of producing accurate evidence in this sensitive area restrict the extent to which legislation can be informed by estimates of reduced risk, weighed against the increased burden on volunteers. However, if society values the voluntary sector in sport and what it provides, it will have to give this sector additional support to cope positively with the legislation and incorporate it into ‘good practice’ working with children.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published as part of a Special Issue.
Uncontrolled Keywords: UoA26
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sport Industry Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 31-47
Depositing User: Rebecca Jones
Date Deposited: 21 May 2012 10:57
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 23:01

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