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New standard on safeguarding children in out-of-school settings

6 March 2024 – New guidelines designed to protect the safety of children in out-of-school settings have been published by BSI.

The free standard, applicable to all providers of activities for children in out-of-school settings, offers a clear framework to embed safeguarding measures into governance, policies and procedural operations. This includes activities that are provided free of charge or at cost, by paid staff or by volunteers.

The development of the standard was proposed by Mark Bramah, a former Senior Detective with expertise in the investigation of child abuse. Its publication follows the 2022 Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), in which concerns were raised that some out-of-school settings were putting children at risk by failing to adhere to basic child protection standards[1]. The report recommended that those who come into contact with children should follow child protection standards and have suitable policies and procedures in place and that safeguarding policies should be clear and easy to follow and implement[2].

Child safeguarding – Provisions for out-of-school settings – Specification (PAS 5222:2024), sponsored by recruitment, safeguarding and HR provider, Bramah HR, with funding from Lady Edwina Grosvenor, is designed to close the gap where organizations or individuals hold responsibility for children’s care outside of education but are not covered by statutory guidance and where ambiguity regarding safe practice exists. This includes out-of-school activities such as sports, community service, arts, music, hobbies and employment, as well as business, hospitality and retail settings.

It is intended to help organizations and individuals implement a child safeguarding framework by providing clarity and covering governance, policies, processes and procedures. PAS 5222 also supports organizations and individuals to implement measures in a cost-effective way. While intended for use in the UK, it may be used in Europe and is relevant to UK-based providers taking children abroad and international providers taking children to the UK.

Anne Hayes, Director of Sectors, BSI said: “Prioritizing safeguards for children, among society's most vulnerable, can ensure a safe environment in which they can flourish and develop in their formative years. This new standard is intended to address the lack of statutory guidance and processes for organizations and individuals responsible for the care of children in non-educational settings.

“The guidance is designed to empower organizations, parents and carers alike to have confidence about care being given to children, whether that’s at an after-school sports club or when pupils are taken on a foreign experience.”

Mark Bramah said: “I am delighted that we have been able to deliver on this much needed specification. I hope that this will be embraced by organizations and that children will be protected as a result of its implementation.”

Out-of-school activities include those that are supervised by parents or carers, where one or more child/ren is not their own child or under their guardianship but are not schools, colleges, education settings providing alternative provision, 16–19 academies, settings registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency.

Areas of focus include:

  • Governance, accountability and responsibility
  • Developing a safeguarding and child protection policy
  • Assessing risks (including identifying, assessing relevance, determining risk appetite, monitoring, mitigation, recording and documenting)
  • Documenting safeguarding measures
  • Employment checks
  • Inducting new personnel
  • Safeguarding training
  • Record-keeping
  • Safeguarding incident response plans and reviews

For more information, or to download the standard please visit here.


[1] Page 7 of the IICSA report

[2] Page 125 of the IICSA report