Sports: Ombudsman

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 24th June 2022.

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Photo of Julian Knight Julian Knight Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Baroness Grey-Thompson's independent report entitled Duty of Care in Sport Review on 21 April 2017, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of that report's recommendation on introducing a sports ombudsman.

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The safety, wellbeing and welfare of everyone taking part in sport is absolutely paramount. National Governing Bodies are responsible for the regulation of their sports and for ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to protect participants from harm. With that in mind, we expect sports to do all they can to protect their athletes.

The Government has carefully considered the recommendations, including for a sport ombudsman, that were made as part of the Duty of Care Review in 2017.

We recognise that this is a very complex area with different challenges across elite and grassroots sport that means a one size fits all solution is not viable. We will continue to strive to improve the culture in sport at all levels.

Our focus has been on strengthening existing structures rather than establishing a new body to deliver the same functions. Working with Sport England and UK Sport, progress has included:

  • UK Sport piloting a complaints handling disclosure service with the objective of addressing issues of independence of reporting of complaints.

  • Legislation introduced to extend the definition of a ‘position of trust’ within the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to include sports coaches making a vital step in making our sports clubs more secure to young people.

We will continue to keep the option of an ombudsman under review.

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