What is the National Safeguarding Panel (NSP)?
The NSP is a group of independent safeguarding experts drawn from a mix of legal, policing, social work, offender management and sport administration backgrounds. Members of the panel are available to support and assist NGBs by (i) investigating safeguarding complaints and concerns; and (ii) sitting on independent arbitration panels in place of an NGB’s internal disciplinary or appeals panel.
How have members of the National Safeguarding Panel been selected?
All positions were advertised openly and appointments made by Sport Resolutions against stringent criteria, after an interview process. The process was supported by the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit and the President of the NSP who is an experienced barrister and judge.
How will the NSP Investigation Service operate?
Where NGBs require an independent expert to investigate a safeguarding complaint then Sport Resolutions will appoint one of the members of the Panel to lead the investigation. Individuals come from either a policing or legal background. They have extensive experience of undertaking safeguarding investigations and all have an interest and involvement in sport. All members have professional indemnity insurance cover.
What form will an investigation take?
The investigator will read background documents such as letters of complaint, incident reports, evidence gathered by the NGB and relevant NGB policies, rules and procedures. The investigator will then, with the support of Sport Resolutions, draw up an interview timetable. The investigator will prepare a statement for each witness to sign at the conclusion of each interview. The investigator will then prepare a final written report with recommendations. The final report which will include a bundle of all evidence collected, will be presented to the NGB at the conclusion of the investigation.
How much will it cost to investigate a safeguarding complaint
Sport Resolutions is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to provide high quality services which are affordable and accessible to NGBs of all sizes and budgets. The cost of each investigation is fixed at the outset, based on the turnover of the NGB and the estimated number of days required to complete the review. Fees start at £150 a day for complaints referred by small organisations (turnover of < £0.5 million) and rise to £450 a day, for cases referred by the largest organisations (turnover of > £50 million). It is anticipated that a typical investigation will take four days to complete. This is usually made up of one day’s preparation, two day’s interviewing and preparation of witness statements and one day’s report writing. Complex investigations with many witnesses may take considerably longer to complete.
What is the NSP Arbitration Service?
A specialist and independent arbitration service operated by Sport Resolutions to which sports organisations can refer matters concerning the conduct of individuals involved in children’s participation in sport. The NSP replaces the need for NGBs to establish their own disciplinary or appeals panel to determine such matters and provides a procedural framework for the management of cases, overseen by an experienced and legally qualified President.
Why should NGBs refer matters to the NSP for Arbitration?
The NSP provides an independent panel of safeguarding professionals which ensures that matters are dealt with efficiently, expertly and fairly. By referring cases to the NSP, NGB’s can be assured that matters will be overseen by an experienced secretariat and panel which will minimise the risks to a governing body of mistakes being made and of the NGB being exposed to legal and reputational risks.
Who can refer a case to the NSP for arbitration?
Any NGB or other sports organisation which provides for referral to the NSP in its rules and regulations may refer cases to it. Additionally, individuals who are the subject of an NGB decision may also appeal to the NSP but only where the NGB rules allow for the NSP to hear such an appeal. Where the rules and regulations of an NGB or other sports organisation do not provide for direct referral to the NSP then a referral may still be made if an NGB makes a request for arbitration in writing. If the NSP secretariat has any concerns over the NSP having jurisdiction over a matter it may require both the NGB and the individual who is alleged to have breached the rules of the NGB to give their written consent. This is normally achieved by parties signing up to an arbitration agreement which confers jurisdiction on the NSP to hear the matter.
How do you refer a case to the NSP for arbitration?
By telephoning the Secretariat of the NSP c/o Sport Resolutions on 020 7036 1966 or by e- mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. An experienced member of staff will make an initial assessment as to whether the NSP has jurisdiction to accept the case and will provide guidance as to what is required to make a valid referral. If the NSP does not have jurisdiction then the Secretariat will provide guidance on the drafting of an arbitration agreement. Once the Secretariat is satisfied that the NSP has jurisdiction then a request for arbitration is made to the NSP c/o Sport Resolutions. The request, which may come from the NGB, or in the case of an appeal may come from an affected individual, should contain (i) the contact details of the parties; (ii) any written notices and responses regarding the alleged rule breach, and, in the case of an appeal, a copy of the written decision that is being appealed; (iii) any practical requests regarding the location of a hearing, any “special measures” or other requirements of the parties; (iv) written confirmation that the request for arbitration has been copied to the other party(ies).
Once a case has been referred to the NSP for arbitration, what continued involvement does the NGB have?
Once a case has been referred to the NSP for arbitration, the NSP will assume all case management of the matter. The NSP will issue directions which set out the timetable and procedure for deciding the matter. As part of this timetable the parties will be required to file a summary of their case and evidence in advance of a hearing. The parties will also be required to give advance notice of any witnesses they wish to call. At the hearing, both the NGB and the individual will have an opportunity to present their cases, to cross-examine witnesses and to summarise their cases towards the end of the hearing. The NSP will manage and control the whole process but the NGB will be expected to play a full part in it either as an applicant or in the case of appeals as a respondent.
How much does it cost to refer a case to the NSP for arbitration?
Sport Resolutions is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to provide high quality services which are affordable and accessible to NGBs of all sizes and budgets. The cost of each arbitration is fixed at the outset, based on the turnover of the NGB and the complexity of the matter. Fees start at £500 for less complex cases referred by small organisations (turnover of < £0.5 million) and rise to £5000 for the most complex cases referred by the largest organisations (turnover of > £50 million). Where an arbitration requires multiple hearing days then a refresher fee is payable for any additional hearing days.
What if an NGB cannot afford to pay the costs of the arbitration?
Fees are fixed in advance to provide the NGB with cost certainty and are scaled in accordance with the NGB’s ability to pay. Any concerns about fees should be raised with the NSP Secretariat prior to making a referral.
What is included in the arbitration fee?
The fee includes the administrative support of an independent secretariat, oversight of the experienced legally qualified NSP President, all case management and directions from point of referral to conclusion of matter, appointment of an independent and expert panel led by a legally qualified chair, guidance and support for parties and their witnesses, organisation of a hearing and preparation of a detailed written judgement with reasons.
Who decides on the composition of each arbitral tribunal?
When requests for arbitration are made, it is the responsibility of the President of the NSP, Stephen Bellamy QC, to appoint individual panel members to hear specific cases. The President acts as the judicial head of the NSP and oversees its legal function.
In what way do NGBs need to change their rules to allow cases to be automatically referred to the NSP for arbitration?
NGBs that wish to refer matters to the NSP for arbitration should amend their rules by including part or all of the following wording:
The following matters arising under these Rules shall be submitted for determination by the National Safeguarding Panel (NSP) c/o Sport Resolutions (UK) (a trading name of The Sports Dispute Resolution Panel Ltd - Company No. 3351039) in accordance with the NSP Rules, as amended from time to time, which Rules are deemed to be incorporated by reference to this clause:
(i) allegations that a person has engaged in conduct which directly or indirectly adversely affects the welfare and safety of a child or children and/or places them at risk
(ii) an application that a Provisional Suspension, arising from concerns or allegations that a person has engaged in conduct which directly or indirectly adversely affects the welfare and safety of a child or children and/or places them at risk, should not be imposed (or be lifted)
(iii) an appeal brought against any finding of fact and/or decision made under these Rules regarding the conduct of a person which directly or indirectly adversely affects the welfare and safety of a child or children and/or places them at risk.
Can NGBs refer cases on an ad hoc, occasional or selective basis to the NSP for arbitration?
NGBs may include an option in their rules and regulations to refer some but not all cases to the NSP for arbitration. Alternatively NGBs may decide to refer ad hoc cases to the NSP. This may require the NGB to enter into an ad hoc arbitration agreement with an individual who is alleged to be in breach of its rules each time it wishes to make a referral. It should be made clear, however, that without a rule amendment which provides for direct referral to the NSP, there is a risk that the individual will not agree for the matter to be referred to the NSP for determination. Without the consent of both the NGB and the individual, the NSP would not have jurisdiction to hear the case.
Where will hearings of the NSP be held?
Where it is convenient to the parties and in particular where it meets the needs of any children or young people involved then hearings will be held at Sport Resolutions’ arbitration and mediation centre in central London. This venue provides sound-proofed breakout rooms, a hearing room and video conferencing facilities. It is also very private and self contained which makes it ideally suited for sensitive hearings where parties and witnesses may need to be kept apart. Where the parties request otherwise, or the needs of any children involved require an alternative venue, then the NSP will hold hearings at another suitable venue within the UK.