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Stewarding factsheet 3 – role and duties

Stewards fulfil a range of roles and duties at a sports ground which are central to the safe delivery of events.

Stewards are amongst the most critical staff members at a sports ground. They implement the policies and instructions from the safety management team.

However competent the ground’s senior management and the Safety Officer, effective event safety management relies to a great extent upon stewards.

Stewards are often the first and only point of contact between the venue and members of the public. Their roles and responsibilities focus on ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for spectators.

Typically, stewards will either be in-house staff, directly employed by the ground, contracted agency staff supplied by an external company or a combination of both. They may also be volunteers, if they have the required qualification and training.

Definition of a steward

The Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide) and its Supplementary Guidance 03: Event Safety Management outlines the full definition of a steward. In brief, a steward is someone who:

  • has achieved the Level 2 Certificate in Spectator Safety (or previous equivalent), or is undergoing training and assessment towards the qualification;
  • is employed or contracted – whether paid or voluntary – by the venue management and/or event organiser to act in accordance with the general recommendations of the Green Guide, and, where appropriate, the specific requirements of the venue’s safety certificate; and
    is appropriately attired, equipped and briefed.

Factsheet 2 – Safety, Security and Non-Safety Critical Roles and Factsheet 6 – SIA Stewarding Exemption for Sports Grounds provide further details on the roles and requirements for other personnel that may perform many of the roles typically associated with stewarding.

Steward qualities

The performance and interpersonal skills of individual stewards can have a strong bearing on delivering a safe, secure and welcoming event. Collectively, the overall standard of stewarding is one of the main factors in determining the (S) factor for the ground.

All stewards should:

  • Be fit and active
  • Have a mature character and temperament
  • Demonstrate interpersonal skills
  • Communicate fluently in English

Steward role

Stewards should fulfil safety critical roles at the sports ground. As outlined in Factsheet 2 – Safety, Security and Non-Safety Critical Roles, safety critical roles and locations are those which require appropriately qualified, trained and equipped individuals in order to be able to effectively handle safety critical events.

The duties of a steward will vary, depending on the size and configuration of the ground and the nature and timing of the event.

At times, stewards may also perform non-safety critical roles, which focus primarily on customer service and enhancing the experience of spectators in and around the venue.

However, as part of the Stewarding Plan, ground management should identify the most appropriate roles and locations for stewards. Non-safety critical roles can be carried out by Event Attendants, who do not need to hold formal qualifications.

Steward duties

The duties of a steward will depend on the requirements of the ground and the event. As an overview, duties can include:

  • Assisting with the circulation of spectators, including during ingress and egress.
  • Monitoring and controlling crowd movements and density within viewing areas, so as to prevent overcrowding.
  • Identifying and reporting any potential hazards, such as trip or fire hazards.
  • Staff entrances, exits and other strategic points, such as the pitch, or any exit doors or gates as needed.
  • Responding to incidents (such as the early stages of a fire or medical incident); communicating with the control point, and taking any immediate actions needed.
  • Support emergency services in the safety management operation, where directed by the Safety Officer.

Some stewards may be required to carry out further ‘licensable’ activities. That is, activities as identified by the Private Security Industry Act 2001 as requiring a licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA). These include searching spectators and physically intervening against and ejecting spectators who are in breach of ground regulations, including decisions on refusal of entry.

In-house stewards are exempt from requiring a licence to carry out these duties. However, they must be trained and vetted to the equivalent level. Agency stewards must have a SIA licence to carry out these duties. Further details are provided in Factsheet 6 – SIA Stewarding Exemption for Sports Grounds.

Find out more

Further details can be found in the SGSA’s existing guidance:

  • Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide) sixth edition – Sections 3.10 – 3.13 and Section 4.1 – 4.22.
  • Supplementary Guidance 03: Event Safety Management – Section SG03 4.12 – 4.26.

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