England Golf ‘left with no other choice’ as disciplinary action begins against 25 clubs


After warning those who failed to engage with SafeGolf accreditation, England Golf is taking action against clubs who have still to submit documentation

England Golf are to start disciplinary action against 25 clubs who have failed to engage with the governing body’s SafeGolf scheme.

Matt Draper, club, county and membership senior manager, told viewers on a webinar hosted by the Golf Club Managers’ Association, England Golf had been “left with no other choice than to start proceedings” after the clubs concerned had not submitted any evidence.

In March, NCG reported how clubs who had failed to make sufficient progress on gaining accreditation for the scheme were warned they could face being sanctioned.

SafeGolf accreditation is a mandatory term of affiliation to the governing body and was established to safeguard the welfare of children, young people and adults.

In a letter to clubs, England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson wrote that “failure to provide” evidence of commitment to the scheme by March 31 could result in chiefs at Woodhall Spa “taking disciplinary action”.

Giving an update on SafeGolf to golf club managers in the webinar, Draper said 1,070 clubs were now fully accredited, with a further 275 who had submitted all their evidence and were awaiting a DBS check or a Time to Listen certificate.

A total of 206 other clubs had submitted more than 60 per cent of their evidence and 186 had started the process.

He said: “We have 25 golf clubs that have yet to submit anything. It is these golf clubs that, unfortunately, we are left with no other choice than to start disciplinary proceedings against them.

“They obviously still have the opportunity to engage. Our overall goal is to ensure that every golf club is accredited and that’s what we want to do.

“But, unfortunately, we’ve been left with no choice at this moment to begin those proceedings.”

County bodies, as well as clubs, must be accredited and must negotiate a number of stages, including appointing a welfare officer, ensuring DBS checks are obtained for relevant club personnel, and adopting required club policies.

The scheme was first communicated to golf clubs in October 2018 and accreditation was made mandatory in December 2019. Clubs originally had a 12 month deadline to obtain that but it was extended in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Asked what would now happen to those clubs concerned, Draper added: “They have been issued with a Notice of Charge, or will before the end of the week, which means they have 14 days to respond and to engage with us or their CSO (Club Support Officer) to get started with the accreditation.

“If they don’t by that point, an independent panel will take over the case, will review that case, with us making a case against them, and they obviously have the opportunity to respond to the independent panel as well.”

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