Children’s charity chief to chair board safeguarding young footballers

The head of a children’s charity is to chair an independent board safeguarding the wellbeing of young people in football.

The Independent Wellbeing and Protection Advisory Board (IWPAB) was set up following a recommendation in the interim report on the Review of Sexual Abuse in Scottish Football which was published last July.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) commissioned the review at the end of 2016 following an “unprecedented” number of allegations of non-recent sexual abuse in the sport, mainly said to have occurred in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.

The interim report found that child protection measures in Scottish football are “not fit for purpose” and called for a “significant and serious sea-change” in the culture of Scottish football to reduce the risk of abuse taking place.

The SFA announced on Tuesday that Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, has been appointed chairwoman of the IWPAB.

She said: “I am proud to have been asked to chair such a high-calibre independent board to ensure a robust and diligent approach to wellbeing and protection matters across Scottish football.

“The board is committed to ensuring the highest standards of protection and wellbeing through working collectively across the game and with external stakeholders as well as monitoring continuous improvement.”

In 2015, she was commissioned by the Scottish Government to write The Brock Report, an independent review of Scotland’s system for safeguarding Scotland’s vulnerable children.

The role of the independent advisory board is to provide advice, guidance and recommendations on all wellbeing and protection matters to the Scottish FA Board and the Wellbeing and Protection Department of the Scottish FA.

Other members of the IWPAB include Larry Flanagan, General Secretary at EIS, Ian Maxwell, Chief Executive at Scottish FA and Karyn McLuskey, Chief Executive at Community Justice Scotland.

The Deputy Chairman is Lyall Cameron, Youth Ambassador of Change and Co-Chairman at the Scottish FA Youth Congress.

The SFA said that since the interim report was published all recommendations have been considered in depth and prioritised for work in the coming years.

Thirty-five recommendations were prioritised for the first year and all have been completed or are being worked on actively.

It has been undertaking a review of the existing policy framework and has created a five year strategy which will be published in August.

Mr Maxwell said: “The calibre, experience and knowledge of the individuals within the Independent Wellbeing and Protection Advisory Board is commensurate with the importance of the group to advising and guiding Scottish football in our work.

“Individually, each member provides valuable experience and insight that will help Scottish football safeguard the wellbeing of all children and young people involved in the game to the highest standard.”

The SFA said it has not been possible to publish the full report while criminal proceedings are ongoing and these proceedings have not yet been concluded.

The organisation said it remains committed to publishing the final report of the Review when it is able to do so.