B News New to CoDA

Fellowship Meeting – Safeguarding Policy *updated*

Updates made – November 2022 – by NSC & Sponsorship committees – indicated with asterix

The Disclosure and Barring Service and Scottish Government have confirmed that fellowship members do not require DBS or Disclosure Scotland check for 12th Stepping or Sponsorship, as they are members of self-regulating groups. As individuals, however, fellowship members should be aware of their duty of care to others and hence follow the law and best practice on safeguarding, when acting in the fellowship’s name.

This guidance has been updated following recent high-profile cases in the wider charity sector which have prompted the need to review and further strengthen safeguarding standards within the Fellowship.

The basic principle
Everyone should recognise that all individuals, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation and identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm and abuse.

Who the guidance protects?
This Guidance applies to the safeguarding of all fellowship members or those who fellowship members encounter when acting in the fellowship’s name, including those under the age of 18 (minor) or any vulnerable adults who may be members of the fellowship.

Disseminating best practice
It is suggested that a copy of a version of this Guidance should be available at each meeting and copies can be obtained on request for every new (and existing) fellowship member. Also reference to the existence of a safeguarding policy could be mentioned in the script?

It is vital that all Group Secretaries understand and learn about safeguarding and protection issues within the context of the fellowship in order to ensure a safe environment for members and those who members encounter when acting in the fellowship’s name.

New members
Meetings with new members to the fellowship:

  • should be conducted by two existing members and, whenever possible, by a man and a woman
  • should be held in a public place and the date, time and place of any meeting should be reported in advance to the Group Secretary


  • It is suggested that a Sponsor who has completed step 5 and is attending meetings regularly has regard for this guidance and their duty of care towards other fellowship members.
  • Sponsors do not ever give advice on medication in any circumstances, even if they are trained professionals. The only person who can give advice on medication is the sponsee’s own medical professional.*
  • Sponsors only use CoDA Approved Literature in sponsoring.*

Fellowship members are not legally required to obtain a DBS Certificate in order to act as a Sponsor.

However, Sponsors are encouraged to consider their legal and moral responsibility to themselves, prospective sponsees, and the fellowship when considering whether accepting a particular sponsee is in the best interest of those involved.

Reporting safeguarding concerns
If any fellowship member believes they are being abused or knows/suspects that another fellowship member is being abused/abusing someone else, they should consider taking the following action(s), as appropriate:

Preserve any evidence
Report all concerns to the:
Group Secretary and/or any Group member;
Local Authority Adult Social Care team (about a vulnerable adult); and/or
Local Authority Children’s Services team (about a minor)
In an emergency, if there is immediate risk of abuse call 999.

If there is any doubt about whether a situation amounts to abuse, members of the group should ask the advice of their Local Authority Safeguarding Lead.