Whether you have been selected to be your club’s Child Wellbeing Protection Officer (CWPO) or are part of a club committee looking to develop your club’s safeguarding policy, this page will tell you more about what is involved and what you should know.

On this page:

  1. Club officers and managing risk
  2. Does our club need a CWPO?
  3. What does the CWPO) role involve?
  4. Membership of the PVG scheme
  5. PVG Processing
  6. Recommended training
  7. Reporting or raising concerns
  8. Mountaineering Scotland Child Wellbeing Protection Officer

1. Club officers and managing risk

All club committee members have a duty of care for the members of the club and we recommend that the officers of youth-focused clubs understand child protection policy and procedures and undertake risk assessments in relation to club activities. Notes of this assessment should be retained on file.

The main themes to consider are:

  • What are the risks to club members and the general public?
  • How can these risks be managed, and if so, by whom?

Download a risk assessment template:

Need a hand completing a risk assessment?

Get in touch with our Regional Development Officers who can help provide advice and support.

2. Does our club need a CWPO?

There can often be confusion about whether or not a club should have a CWPO. In our sport there are many different club models, which differ in how they operate and who is involved. Below are some examples of club models and what they system they should have in place.

Example 1: Parent-led clubs

Even if a youth-focused club is led by parents in a volunteer capacity and they are always present during activities, we still recommend that a CWPO is in place for the club. They should ensure that the club adopts the Mountaineering Scotland Child Protection Policy and that this is adhered to. Those who have direct engagement with young people in the club on a regular basis should be member of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. They should also attend Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport training and the club should be registered as a ‘Secondary Organisation’ with Volunteer Scotland.

Example 2: Volunteer-led clubs

A CWPO should be in place within volunteer-led clubs. A key part of their role is to ensure that those regularly supervising unaccompanied children, and those likely to be on their own with children, are assessed to be suitable to do so.

Those regularly supervising unaccompanied children, with no other adult present, should have undergone a selection process undertaken by the CWP and club officers and be a member of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. They should also attend Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport training.

Example 3: Using External Instructors and Coaches

Some clubs use paid external qualified coaches and instructors to run their club sessions. In these circumstances, the club should ensure that the coaches/instructors have PVG Scheme membership through the club as it is considered that they are doing ‘regulated work’. Holding a PVG through their employer is not a substitute for this.

3. What does the CWPO role involve?

Below is a template role description for a club Child Wellbeing Protection Officer (CWPO), which we encourage clubs to adopt and use:

4. Membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme for clubs

Club officers are responsible for ensuring they recruit volunteers using appropriate procedures and that volunteers, instructors, coaches, helpers, chaperones undertaking ‘regulated work’ with children and young people obtain PVG scheme membership.

Who would this be in our club?

Regulated work would apply to the following Volunteers/Coaches/Instructors who are:

  • Caring responsibilities
  • Teaching or supervising children and/or protected adults
  • Providing personal services to children and/or protected adults
  • Find out more about the PVG scheme on the Disclosure Scotland website

We advise that the following people in a youth-focused club have the following levels of PVG:

  • Wellbeing and Protection Officer – PVG
  • Session volunteers – PVG
  • External Coaches/Instructors – Request to view PVG from employer or statement of scheme membership as an individual

ClimbScotland can apply for scheme membership on behalf of members of affiliated clubs, for free, through an arrangement with Volunteer Scotland. PVG membership is unique to an individual working or volunteering for a specific organisation, and cannot be transferred to another organisation. An individual holding PVG membership who applies for a position involving ‘regulated work’ with a new or different organisation (such as a club) must apply for an update to their existing PVG membership in order for membership of the scheme to be valid for the new or different organisation.

Contact us to apply for PVG Scheme membership at 

5. PVG Processing

It is the responsibility of the clubs Child Wellbeing Protection Officer to check PVG specified ID against the applicant as well as insuring forms are correctly completed before submitting them to Mountaineering Scotland.

The current agreed roles that we have in place with Volunteer Scotland – Disclosure Scotland are:

  • Activities Assistant
  • Charity Trustee
  • Child Protection Officer
  • Coach/Instructor/Session Volunteer
  • Youth Group Assistant

6. Recommended training

Sportscotland provide the first steps in child protection training called ‘Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport’ (CWPS), which are perfect for volunteers, coaches and instructors working with young people or vulnerable adults. Module 1 is theory based eLearning and Module 2, a 3 hour face-to-face scenario based learning. The main change from SPC is that each learner booked onto a CWP course MUST completed Module 1 before attending the face-to-face Module 2. The CWPS eLearning Module 1 is free.

We work closely with Children1st who support volunteers and staff in sports organisations across Scotland to keep children safe by providing advice, consultancy and training on the development and implementation of child protection policies, procedures and good practice.

7. Reporting or raising concerns

It can be very difficult to know what to do if faced with a concern about a child, especially if the concern involves someone you know. A set procedure ensures that everyone is clear on what action to take in the event of inappropriate behaviour or suspected abuse. It gives staff and volunteers clear, important steps to follow; ensuring action is taken quickly and in the best interests of the child.

Below we have provided procedures and guidance which your club can adopt and a template of an Incident Reporting form:

8. Contact the Mountaineering Scotland Child Wellbeing Protection Officer

If you have any queries or concerns regarding the safeguarding of children and vulnerable groups in climbing, then please contact our Child Wellbeing Protection Officer, Jamie Smith (ClimbScotland – Development Manager)at