Sport England recognises and values the commitment made by sports clubs to develop high quality, welcoming environments for young participants. The development of clubs that encourage young people to take-up sport, improve their talents, possibly play a leadership role and give them the option to initiate and maintain life-long participation in sport is an essential part of supporting the sporting infrastructure in England.
Clubmark was introduced in 2002 by Sport England to:
- Ensure that accrediting partners apply core common criteria to ensure that consistent good practice and minimum operating standards are delivered through all club development and accreditation schemes.
- To empower parent(s)/carer(s) when choosing a club for their children.
- To ensure that Clubmark accredited clubs are recognised through a common approach to branding.
- To provide a focus around which all organisations involved in sport can come together to support good practice in sports clubs working with children and young people.
Clubmark accreditation is awarded to clubs that comply with minimum operating standards in four areas:
- The playing programme
- Duty of care and safeguarding and protecting children and young people
- Knowing your club and its community
- Club management
Clubs working towards accreditation can receive support and advice from their NGB and other partners such as county sports partnerships (CSPs). Circumstances will vary between clubs and sports but the process of accreditation is the same. There is only one set of paperwork to complete and in general most clubs are well on the way to achieving accreditation without realising it.
According to Alan Smith of Compstall Cricket Club, “something is difficult if it is hard to do. Clubmark is not hard, but depending on the organisation within your club it can take a few months to gather the evidence.”