HORR Welfare Policy Statement

You should, as a matter of some urgency, draw the following to the attention of the person within the club (e.g. Captain , travelling adult(s)) who will have responsibility for the welfare of Junior competitors or Adults at Risk at the Race, parents as appropriate, and anyone else relevant.

The Organising Committee of The Head of the River Race (HORR) has adopted British Rowing’s Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy and British Rowing’s Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy.

The HORR Committee believe that the welfare and wellbeing of all participants is paramount. Everyone, regardless of age, ability or disability, gender, gender reassignment, race religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, socio-economic background, have equal rights to safety and protection and that special measures are required to protect children and young people and adults at risk. All suspicions, concerns and allegations of harm will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

The organising committee of the Head of the River Race is committed to helping everyone in rowing accept their responsibility to safeguard children and Adults at Risk from harm and abuse, as endorsed by British Rowing.

This Policy Statement aims to ensure that all participants:

  • have a positive and enjoyable experience of sport at HORR in a safe environment;
  • are protected from abuse while participating in HORR.

The procedures below are mandatory for everyone participating in HORR. Failure to comply with the policy and procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from the event and future British Rowing competitions both virtual, indoor and on water.

Responsibilities of the HORR Committee (Committee)

Given the nature of the event, where crews are boating from a variety of locations along the river, it is not possible for the Committee to take responsibility for security at any specific location. There are host clubs at 11locations between Putney and Kew and so there is a greater duty on each competing club to safeguard its own members than at an “ordinary” Head with a single boating site.

The Committee will, so far as practicable, given the nature of the event:

  • promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of participants, officials, volunteers and spectators;
  • ensure the Event Safety Advisor is aware of this Policy Statement and Safety plan;
  • ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of welfare incidents/concerns of abuse being reported to the Event Welfare Officer and that support is provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern;
  • ensure that confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored;
  • ensure safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation – a designated Event Welfare Officer will be appointed annually and is responsible for receiving and managing any concern/reports with the appropriate bodies (British Rowing, Local Authorities, the NSPCC and/or the Police).


Until decided otherwise, the welfare officer will be Sheena Cassidy Hope. She will be available throughout the duration of the event and will act as the point of contact for any allegations or concerns. Her contact details will be made known to all race officials. In the event of any concerns or incident regarding a minor or Adult at Risk, please contact a race official, who will be able to direct you to the welfare officer. She will determine appropriate action to be taken, and should any incident warrant such action, will be responsible for reporting to the police and the British Rowing child protection officer.

Responsibility of clubs and crews

It is a condition of entry to HORR that any crew that includes junior athletes or Adults at Risk shall have a named coach or responsible adult (collectively, “the responsible adult”). The responsible adult, who must be over the age of 18, must be named on the entry form and a current mobile telephone number for that person must be provided. If a substitute responsible adult comes to the competition, they must contact the Event Welfare Officer and register their mobile telephone number.

Each responsible adult is responsible for the welfare, safety and appropriate supervision of their crew or entered athlete and is always expected to know the whereabouts of all their athletes during the competition.

All participants and coaches must abide by British Rowing Rules of Racing and Codes of Conduct as well as the BR Safeguarding Policy, and are expected to demonstrate good sportsmanship and conduct at all times. Adults with responsibility for children and Adults at Risk entered in the event are expected to ensure that boating locations are suitable. Adults – coaches and parents – are also reminded of the need for suitable clothing for the event, given that there is the possibility of a long wait before the start – this is particularly important where there have been rough conditions and the prospect of competitors becoming extremely cold and wet; it is also the duty of the responsible adult to ensure that no child or adult at risk competes if he/she is or may become injured or unwell. Crew coaches are further reminded that in rough conditions, it is they who must make the assessment of whether their crew can safely boat and race in the conditions – particularly so where there is a junior cox.

Row Safe sections 3.5, 3.7, 3.8, 8.1, 8.4 and 9 are particularly relevant. Also, it is the responsibility of a coach or parent to ensure that junior competitors comply individually with RowSafe – in particular, section 3.6 specifies minimum standards that apply to swimming ability.

Missing persons

If a person has been missing for more than 20 minutes, contact the Event Welfare Officer and/or the Event Safety Advisor via any official.

If a child goes missing during an event, the following procedure will be applied.

  • The crew contact details entered on British Rowing On-line Entry will be used to contact the adult responsible for any junior reportedly involved in an incident. It is therefore essential that the person entering the crew ensures that a usable contact number for the responsible adult is included in the entry. No individual contact details for juniors will be held by the committee.
  • The initial report must be reported to the Event Welfare Officer.
  • Radio communication should convey a description of the child but not their full name.
  • If the child cannot be found after a search of the immediate surroundings, the responsible adult should contact the child’s parents/carers to advise them of the concern and reassure them that everything is being done to locate the child.
  • A note should be made of the circumstances in which the child has gone missing and where he/she was last seen. Insofar as possible, a detailed physical description of the child should be prepared, including their hair and eye colour, approximate height and build and clothing he/she was wearing, as this will be required by the police.
  • The concern will be reported to the police if the search is unsuccessful, no later than 20 minutes after the initial missing person report to the Event Welfare Officer if the search is ongoing.
  • Police guidance will be followed and close contact with the police maintained;

DBS checks, access to young people or their contact details

The Entries Secretary and Registration personnel should not hold any contact details for young people and do not need to be DBS checked. DBS disclosures of medical staff and the Event Welfare Officer shall be checked.

It is the responsibility of clubs and host clubs to ensure that any personnel having contact unsupervised with minors in an enclosed environment (if they have not had DBS Checks performed) should not be alone with those minors.


  1. Your attention is particularly drawn to the need for appropriate clothing for the conditions, bearing in mind the likely time on the water (possibly up to 3 hours) and the variability of wind, sun and rain. This also applies, of course, to adults.
  2. The British Rowing minimum standard of swimming ability – which applies to all HORR crews – is:

“All participants in rowing must be able to demonstrate both competence and confidence in and under water by:

  • Swimming at least 50 metres in light clothing (rowing kit)
  • Treading water for at least two minutes
  • Swimming under water for at least 5 metres

Participants unable to demonstrate the minimum standard must wear a personal flotation device” …Where, because of a medical problem (e.g. Epilepsy; Heart condition; Asthma), there is a risk to a participant becoming unconscious or immobile, an automatic lifejacket must be worn.”


  1. All competitors in the event may be photographed by amateurs, or professionals who sell their photographs, and these photographs may be used for identification or publicity purposes. HORR cannot prevent this, as the Surrey bank and all four bridges are open to the public. Competitors will be made aware of this and should not enter if this is of concern.
  2. OVERNIGHT STAYS. The Head of the River Committee is aware that those travelling a significant distance (or from overseas) with junior competitors (i.e. those under the age of 18) are likely to have organised a residential stay and we draw the responsible adult (club captain, coach, parent)’s attention to the guidance provided by British Rowing on travelling and residential trips with Juniors (available at British Rowing Safeguarding Handbook 3, Sections 8 and 9, as well as the general guidance on safeguarding the welfare of children and young people on the British Rowing safeguarding website https://www.britishrowing.org/knowledge/safeguarding/
  3. The Organising Committee is aware that alcohol will be available for purchase at most host clubs. They are also likely to be serving food from the same location, so exclusion of juniors will not be practicable. Those travelling from overseas are reminded that English law on selling alcohol is very clear about under-18s; they may enter a bar but may not drink alcohol – whoever buys it. The various issues arising are set out in British RowingSafeguarding Handbook 3, Section 5. Host Clubs are reminded of their duty to safeguard under 18s using their facilities. The responsible adult for any junior competitor is reminded to ensure that more senior members of the crew do not purchase alcohol for the under 18s.
  4. With reference to BR Safeguarding Handbook 3, Section 10, please be aware that the majority of non-school host rowing clubs do not have separate changing/showering facilities for juniors. All competitors are reminded to respect the changing room protocol for their host club.


This policy will be reviewed a year after development and then every three years, or in the following circumstances.

  • There is a change in legislation and/or government guidance as required by the Local Safeguarding Children Board, UK Sport and/or Home Country Sports Councils and British Rowing.
  • Any other significant change or event occurs.

Further Safeguarding Advice and Information

Further safeguarding advice and information may be obtained through the NSPCC https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/  (Helpline: 0808 800 5000) or for Local Authority Children’s Services Wandsworth: https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/children-and-families/, Hammersmith & Fulham: https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/children-and-young-people/children-and-family-care/child-protection or Hounslow: https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20075/child_protection