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Swim England is introducing new guidelines for its affiliated clubs in a bid to show the highest standards of safe and effective practice are in place. The Stronger Affiliation process is being introduced for both new and existing clubs. Other sports, including football and tennis, have also introduced similar schemes.

More than half of Swim England’s 1,045 affiliated clubs are SwimMark accredited, which is the quality standard for affiliated clubs set by the national governing body. From January 2021 those clubs that do not currently hold SwimMark accreditation will now have to provide six pieces of evidence to remain affiliated to Swim England. The focus areas will comprise club constitution, risk assessments, club personnel records,  safeguarding certificates as well as compliance statements from the chairperson and welfare officer. Clubs can then submit additional evidence to become fully SwimMark accredited.

All clubs that currently hold SwimMark accreditation will not have to complete these new guidelines, which are already included as part of the SwimMark process, but will need to ensure accredited status is maintained otherwise the new guidelines will apply.

Jon Keating, Swim England Club Development Director, said: “As the national governing body, we must implement measures to ensure the safety of our members. We want to ensure that all Swim England clubs are fit for purpose and provide a safe environment”.

All non SwimMark clubs, both new and existing, will be able to submit evidence for Stronger Affiliation from 1 June 2020 and all evidence will need to be checked and approved by Swim England by 1 December 2020 in order to coincide with annual renewals. Failure to submit the required evidence will result in temporary or permanent suspension of that club from Swim England.

Anyone with any questions concerning the Stronger Affiliation process should refer to the FAQs document or, if they require further information, email clubdevelopment@swimming.org in the first instance.