All clubs, associations and referee branches are required to have a Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO). This position is usually a voluntary position.
Member Protection Information Officer
An MPIO is the first point of contact for persons with member protection or child protection enquiries or complaints. MPIOs provide information to participants about the options available to them. MPIOs can also provide information to clubs about member protection and related issues and policies. MPIO’s are impartial and do not mediate or investigate complaints. There is an MPIO in every club, association, branch, referee branch within Football NSW. There is a State MPIO at Football NSW Head Office.
FOOTBALL NSW MPIO REGISTER new
The role of MPIO is a very important one as the MPIO is the key contact for child protection and member protection at their organisation.
FNSW is asking all MPIOs to register their details with FNSW for communication and contact purposes and to provide updated information to MPIOs when necessary. The information you provide will only be used for these purposes.
MPIO Training Courses
1. Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO) course is free and features seven online modules and a practical workshop:
- The MPIO Role
- Complaint Resolution Procedures
- Member Protection and the Law
- Child Protection
- Harassment and Discrimination
- Ethical and Practical Consideration
- MPIO Workshops
- MPIO Training Information Flyer
2. Child Protection online course is free and provides training on child protection in sport.
3. Discrimination and Harassment online course is free and provides training on discrimination and harrassment in sport.
To complete any of these courses:
Step 1 - Enter the Training Portal click here or link to https://learning.ausport.gov.au/auth/login/?returnUrl=%2F\)
Step 2 - Select 'Register' to register your details or enter your Username and Password if already registered.
Step 3 - Log in and select the 'Browse Learning' tab and proceed to Page 2 of the Course list to select your preferred PBTR course.
Step 4 - Complete the course nd save your completion certificate.
Step 5 - If you completed the MPIO training proceed to the MPIO Workshops Information
Child Safe Training Courses
These courses are free and are specific to child safety and the Working with Children Check. These are recommended for MPIOs, Club Presidents, Committee members and club officials.
ASC member protection resources - PlayByTheRules.net.au.
MPIO's should be familiar with the requirements of the NSW Working with Children Check and the National Member Protection Policy.
Working with Children Check information is available at NSW Office of the Children's Guardian
MPIO Contact Details
All participants need to be able to contact the MPIO at their club and/or association.
The name and phone number of the MPIO (of a club/association/referee branch) must be made available without question to any person requesting it.
The MPIO’s name and contact details should be listed on the organisation’s website.
Member Protection & Child Protection
For information about Member and Child Protection refer to:
- FFA National Member Protection Policy
- Play By the Rules website
- FNSW Policy
- E-Safety - cyberbullying & social media
- NSW Office of the Children's Guardian
Cyber Safety & Social Media Issues
- ThinkUKnow - Information for Parents, clubs, schools and teachers
- ThinkUKnow - Information for youth aged 11 - 17 years
- E-Safety - Commissioner for e-Safety website
- FNSW Social Media Policy
Child Protection Helpline
To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the NSW Family & Community Services Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)
Further Information and Support
Strategies for Keeping Children Safe at your Club
The Safeguarding Children program developed by the Australian Childhood Foundation has created seven unique strategies to help your sports club or association keep children and young people safe from abuse and exploitation by staff, volunteers or other relevant related individuals.
The strategies are evidence-based and form an important part of the Safeguarding Children organisational accreditation scheme.
While strategies are quite easy to understand they can involve quite a comprehensive review and assessment of your club or association’s policies and procedures that protect children.
The strategies are:
1: A commitment to safeguarding children Strategy
2: Personal roles and conduct Strategy
3: Recruitment and screening practices Strategy
4: Personal induction and training Strategy
5: Involving children and parents Strategy
6: Child abuse reporting and allegations Strategy
7: Supporting a child-safe culture.
To assist you in starting this process and fleshing out some of the details for each of the strategies, Play by the Rules has designed a free template in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. The presentation is ready to use, provides example strategy statements, and can serve as a planning document as well as a presentation/workshop tool. You can download the presentation template at www.playbytherules.net.au/legal-stuff/child-protection
For more details on these strategies and to register for the full online Safeguarding Children program visit http://safeguardingchildren.com.au
There are some common issues that arise and which MPIOs need to be aware of:
Insufficient Game Time
This is not a child protection issue and can be resolved through mediation. It is a decision for the coach of a team to determine how much game time players receive however some clubs do have policies relating to amateur football game time. Contact your local club to enquire whether they have a game time policy.
Football is a team sport and time on the bench is an accepted part of being in a football team. The strategies used by coaches are many and varied in their efforts to try and provide players with fair game time but equal time is not always possible particularly where the games are closely contested and where player fitness, endurance, ability and team cohesion are factors in player selection, rotation and positioning.
Non Selection in team or squad
This is not a child protection issue. The selection of players is a decision for selectors. Players are generally selected into teams and squads based on skill, strength, stamina, physique, fitness, sportsmanship, commitment and a willingness and ability to learn and improve. A good behaviour record both on and off the field, is also beneficial.
Our team is not winning - my child is not scoring goals
It is interesting to note that a study on children's sport found that the top 3 reasons children play amateur sport are: To make friends; To have fun; and To play the game.
Winning is not always a priority for children and just playing with their friends, having fun and kicking the ball is often what they base their good experience on. Parents should support their children and encourage good sportsmanship no matter the outcome of the game - win, lose or draw.
Sport is often the only outlet a child has from the pressures of school and life in general so it is important to ensure they are allowed to enjoy their football and have a good experience.
Failure to release a player from a contract
This is not a child protection issue and is a matter for resolution between the club and the player involved.
Behaviour of the Coach
Inappropriate behaviour in football is unacceptable and clubs and associations are responsible for taking appropriate action where they consider the behaviour of their team officials to be in breach of the Coaches Code of Conduct. Associations also have a level of jurisdiction over coaches and team officials which can result in those persons appearing before the tribunal and sanctions applied.
Penalties imposed for serious breaches of the Code of Conduct can include a lifetime ban from football.
Options for Breaches of the Code of Conduct
Options which clubs may consider when responding to breaches of the Coaches Code of Conduct:
- Speaking with the coach about their behaviour
- Monitoring the coach to observe the reported behaviour
- Mentoring the coach on how to improve his/her behaviour
- Mediation between the aggrieved parties
- Required to complete the Play By The Rules on-line training
- Required to complete an accredited coaching course at Football NSW
- Issue of a written warning to the coach about their behaviour
- Taking disciplinary action
- Suspending the coach from his/her duties for a period of time
- Dismissing the coach
OR a combination of these. Any action taken is at the discretion of the club or tribunal. The complainant DOES NOT determine the penalty. An offender should also consider offering an apology as this can often result in a favourable outcome.
It is up to a complainant to decide if they wish to proceed with a complaint. If a person is unsure what to do then they may consider the following options:
Consider what may happen if nothing is done.
Consider whether speaking to the person directly may resolve the matter. If the person knows about the concerns they may recognise the error of their ways and alter their behviour. In most cases it is only fair that the person is provided with an opportunity to resolve the problem themselves.
Mediation is where a club official or another person may act as a mediator between to two parties involved. For example: If a parent is having a problem with a coach, a meeting may be arranged between the parent and the coach with a club official acting as mediator. This way the problem can be discussed and resolved politely.
The matter could be discussed with the MPIO, Secretary, President or another official of the club. This may provide the club an opportunity to monitor the situation. A club may request that a written complaint be lodged before they take any further action.
Complaint by a child
Where a verbal complaint is made by a child to an adult then the adult is obliged to note and report the complaint. A complaint by a child should never be ignored. Where the safety or welfare of a child is of concern, these matters should be reported to Football NSW. Reports of child abuse or welfare concerns of a child can also be reported to NSW Family and Community Services or phone 132 111 (24hr helpline).
An official complaint should be in writing and addressed to the Club Secretary. The person who signs the complaint must be able to be identified and be contactable. It is important to note that the person being complained about will be informed of the complaint and may be provided with a copy of the complaint as it is their right to be notified of any complaint made against them. An unsigned complaint, anonymous complaint or a rumour cannot be acted upon.
Clubs have a duty to respond to all complaints and follow appropriate complaint handling procedures. Clubs should always endeavour to act in the best interests of all parties involved and respond to a complaint as quickly and effectively as possible. Clubs should manage all complaints fairly and effectively