Ernie Lazenby wrote:
If the ECF is going to embark on hundreds of people becoming involved with children it really has to make very sure the systems are correct. There are predators out there who will take advantage of a poor system to gain access to children
This is getting a bit feverish. If we're not careful, the perception of the risks involved will stymie all action. So two points: first, notwithstanding the outrage widely expressed about pedophilia and our desire to safeguard the young from abuse, sexual crimes by strangers against children remain very rare. Children are as likely, if not more likely, to suffer at the hands of a family member. There is not alot ECF can do about that. Second, requiring ECF to get its child protection systems up to the mark is too much to expect. Little else the ECF does is up to the mark. This is not just another cheap shot; it's a brutal fact of life we have to live with.
So what to do? To start with: focus on what ECF can and should do - its core business. It's not
a chess coaching agency. It doesn't supply coaching; and generally, it doesn't buy it in either. But it is a licensing body. It can set professional coaching standards; and award a license to practice to those who meet those standards. Once accredited, an ECF coach is qualified
to coach under whatever limitations are defined by the license. That, in my view, is the limit of ECF's competence.
Therefore, what of child protection? Clearly ECF needs its own child protection policy, not least because it runs junior teams. But I'm pretty sure it doesn't need to take on responsibility for the CRB status of every ECF accredited coach. That's just asking for trouble. Instead, the ECF should load that responsibility onto the coach-client relationship. It is the client's responsibility to question the coach's CRB status, and the coach's responsibility to provide a satisfactory answer. The ECF can protect itself by publishing guidelines on best practice, and probably maintain a List 99, but otherwise stand clear.
Finally, mention of List 99 reminds me that the discussion on this thread has focussed exclusively on CRB issues with the attendant assumption that sexual abuse is the only source of concern. We need to do better than that. No one should work with children if they are liable to violent or unstable behaviour; if they encourage cheating or improper behaviour; if they abuse drugs or alcohol; if they sponsor deception; and so on.
That should still leave one or two chessplayers eligible to become a coach