This week I’m going to write about the Angling Trust Qualifications and Licensing system. The Angler’s Mail recently published an article by Thomas Petch entitled “Paedophile WAS qualified coach”. It was referring to Paul Stead, an angling coach who was recently convicted of abusing children. He was indeed a qualified coach, but he was not licensed. In the press release we issued after this terrible incident came to light, I called for all coaches working with young and vulnerable people to be licensed, which provides much more reassurance than a mere qualification. The article seemed to be suggesting that we had got our facts wrong.
A qualified coach has undertaken the minimum level of learning endorsed by the Angling Trust to understand the principles of coaching at each level. It does not in any way verify the individual or their background; anyone can go on a coaching course. Paul Stead held a coaching qualification from a course he went on many years ago, but he has never been licensed by the Angling Development Board or the Angling Trust.
The Coach Licence exists to help the Angling Trust understand more about a coach and to decide whether a coach should be allowed to work with children and young people. It requires an individual to provide more detail of their background and training, including:
- Evidence of a recognised Angling Coaching Qualification
- up to date Safeguarding and Protecting Children training
- up to date First Aid training
- an approved DBS (previously known as CRB) check. This is risk assessed by the Angling Trust where required.
A coach providing this information and signing up to become a ‘Licensed Angling Trust Coach’ has therefore been more closely checked out, and we provide them with a comprehensive insurance policy to cover everything they do as a coach. This offers parents and reputable organisations more reassurance that the young or vulnerable people involved in a project will be coached by people who have been checked out.
Paul Stead has never been licensed and never provided any of the above information to the Angling Trust. This is not to say we could necessarily have stopped him doing what he did, but the licensing process might have highlighted any information recorded against him on his DBS check and might have resulted in a failed licence application. We would also have investigated any complaints made about him to us, which might have led to his licence being suspended or a Police investigation.
It is, and has always been, the position of the Angling Trust that only Angling Trust Licensed coaches should be used when working with young people or vulnerable adults. A coaching qualification shows that people have met a coaching standard; whereas the Angling Trust licence shows that they have been fully checked out by trained assessors.
If you are involved in a club, or any organisation involving children being coached by adults, please ask the coaches involved if they are licensed. If they are not, please put them in touch with the Angling Trust who will be able to advise them how to go about getting a licence to coach.