Last Updated: 6th June 2023
To be covered by the BF insurance policy all competitions and events must hold a BF Event Licence, whether competitive, ranking, open, closed or simply recreational. For more information on Event Licensing, click here.
Policies and Procedures
Fencing competitions in the UK run under the auspices of British Fencing must adhere to a variety of policies and procedures. These are put in place by BF as the National Governing Body of the sport to help keep our sport safe and provide an appropriate quality environment that meets the needs of all participants – fencers, coaches and volunteers.
For insurance to be valid, your event must follow BF policies and procedures – these include BF Safety and Safeguarding policies and procedures. Information on BF Policies and Procedures can be found in the Policy Zone
It is important that the following incidents are reported to BF:
Reporting forms/information can be found on contact us page
Event Welfare Officers
You must have a trained welfare officer at all events open to members for the duration of the event. The event welfare officer is not just responsible for the welfare of U18 fencers, but also the welfare of U18 officials and any adults at risk. For a description of the roles and responsibilities of an Event Welfare Officer click here.
You will need to display posters at the event so participants know who the welfare officer is and how to contact them. This information should also be sent out to participants (athletes and officials) in advance, and you should consider adding this information to a referee briefing. All Safeguarding incidents must be reported to BF after the event.
All members of the competition organising team must be members (supporter membership is sufficient). Depending on the type of event participants may need to be members. All traditional fencing competitions require participants to hold compete licences, and recreational events require recreational (or starter) memberships. One-off ‘come and try’ sessions open to members of the public do not require participants to be members.
Running Events through the BF Platform allows membership validity and eligibility (such as age) to be automatically checked.
For events that are not using the BF platform to run events, BF provide an online membership checker to help competition organisers check that participants hold valid memberships, for more information contact [email protected].
It is also important to check that fencers are representing affiliated clubs. If you are using the BF membership platform to accept entries this is automatically done – if you are using a different system you should manually check your lists here.
Guidance for U18s travelling alone to competitions (within the UK)
In the majority of situations Under 18’s normally travel with their parents to events and competition and we recognise this as best practice.
However, we also recognise that developing independence is an important and necessary part of a young person’s development and travelling unescorted is part of that development. Many children travel to and from school by public transport on a daily basis and there is no reason why, as they mature, that young people should not take longer journeys on their own.
Further information and guidance for organisers on this can be found here
Using an online entry system
Cadet, Junior and Senior Ranking Competitions are required to be ran on the BF Platform. Non-ranking competitions may chose to run using an alternative entry system. If you are using an alternative types of event entry system you must make sure that you have the necessary GDPR policies and agreements in place to transfer and publish personal data.
As a reminder, unless your event is a come and try event, you must also make sure that all participants are members. There is a tool available which allows organisers to check valid memberships – contact [email protected] for more details.
Publicising your Event
Both Competitive and Recreational events have the option to be displayed on the BF Events Calendar, this means that your event can be viewed on the online calendar here
For ranking events, there is a requirement that the event is listed on the BF events system for a minimum period of time – see the event licensing terms and conditions for more information
Scheduling your Event
When holding an event, in particular a competitive event, it is important for organisers to check events that are already taking place in the local area, as this could have an impact on entries and workforce. This can be checked through the Event Search
If you are scheduling a major event please contact [email protected] for support and further information on calendar plans.
Timetabling your Event
It is important to timetable out the event in advance, particularly if your event has multiple categories of competition (eg different weapons or age groups) happening on the same day.
Consideration must be given to providing enough time for warm-ups (eg don’t start the event 20 mins after the venue opens!) and suitable rest periods which should take into account the age/ability/experience of the competitors. For example competitions for young children or veterans may need to provide longer breaks between rounds (than the minimum required under the rules). This consideration must be recorded in the risk assessment.
Whilst fencers may wish to compete in two events at the same time this is not recommended (particularly for those U15) due to the potential impact on the fencer, the other fencers and the organising team. In any case only in exceptional circumstances should this be allowed and must be signed off by the event welfare officer and noted on the risk assessment.
First Aid/Medical Provision
You should consider whether your event requires medical cover, as different competitions have different requirements. Depending on the type of competition you are running you may need St John’s Ambulance services or local services.
It is important to ensure you have access to the Accident and Injury Forms in the case of an incident. For more information click here.
Creating a welcoming environment
It is important to think about how you will communicate expected behaviour to participants and at the venue.
Posters are a great eye-catching way to educate people, you can also use barriers and accreditation to control the risks around this. Coaches should be checked on the BF coaching register before being given any accreditation to specific fields of play.
At all compete level (including all ranking) competitions the codes of conduct for fencers, coaches and parents must be clearly displayed.
Think about how you will communicate information to your attendees pre the event. Ensure your pre-event information is clear and attendees have contact details to reach organisers if they have any questions or issues. E.g. a number to ring if running late to check in.
Organisers running events on the BF Events Platform can send emails to all participants through the event admin panel. Find out more here
You will need to conduct a risk assessment for the event for the insurance to be valid. Sometimes this may be undertaken by the venue itself, but it will need to be amended for the competition.
It is most likely you will be responsible for the risk assessment and will need to liaise with the venue on this. A Risk Assessment may have been undertaken for a previous event at the same venue and it is worth obtaining a copy of this to provide a starting point for your event.
Either way, start your risk assessment early and don’t forget to review it on the morning of the competition (at the venue!) and update it if anything has changed. BF provide a generic Event Risk Assessment Template which can be used as a starting point.
If you are running your event through the BF membership platform and you are only downloading the data you need to put into the competition management software you can be confident that you are GDPR compliant.
When organising an event, it is important to consider who will be on the organising team for the event. Roles to consider for your event:
Some of these roles may require the volunteer to be on BF workforce registers – for example Event Welfare Officers need to be on the BF Welfare Officer register.
If you are looking for referees for your event, BF can help to promote your event within the refereeing community. Complete the Referee Request Form for Competition Organisers for your event to be listed as an upcoming refereeing opportunity
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