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Stewarding factsheet 4 – Qualifications

This factsheet outlines the qualifications available for spectator safety personnel.

Stewards and other safety personnel require appropriate training and qualifications to fulfil their roles.

Ground management has the responsibility for ensuring that all safety personnel, whether in-house or provided under contract, are competent and, where not already qualified, have received sufficient training to carry out the duties and responsibilities assigned to them.

This factsheet focuses on the formal qualification requirements within safety teams at sports grounds. Training is outlined in Factsheet 5 – Training.

Spectator safety qualifications

SkillsActive is the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning and Well-Being. One of its responsibilities is to produce and maintain, with the aid of employers in the sector, National Occupational Standards (NOS).

These specify the standard of performance an individual must achieve when carrying out a function in the workplace, together with the knowledge, understanding and experience they need to meet that standard consistently. Essentially NOS are benchmarks of good practice.

A steward must have successfully completed a training programme that has been mapped against the relevant NOS, and whose occupational competency has been successfully assessed under those standards, or be undergoing training and assessment towards the meeting of such standards.

Qualifications (make into highlight box)

Level 2 Certificate Spectator Safety

Level 2 Certificate Spectator Safety (Physical Intervention)

Level 3 Certificate Spectator Safety Supervision

Level 3 Extended Certificate Spectator Safety Supervision

Level 4 Diploma Spectator Safety Management


All stewards, as defined in Factsheet 2 – Safety, Security and Non-Safety Critical Roles, must have a Level 2 Certificate in Spectator Safety (or previous equivalent), or be working towards it. This must be completed within 12 months, dating from the start of their first induction training.

The training should also include completion of the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Awareness eLearning and Basic Life Support Skills. These are prerequisites for obtaining a Level 2 Spectator Safety qualification.

It is the responsibility of ground management to ensure that all stewards, whether employed in-house or under contract, are trained, and that their competence to undertake the duties expected of them is assessed. This includes seeking appropriate assurance from agency suppliers.

Figure SG03 6 in SG03: Event Safety Management outlines the stewards’ training and assessment process. In brief this is:

  1. Venue and induction training
  2. Attend four events partnered by a qualified steward, preferably at the same venue
  3. Complete the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) training and Basic Life Support Skills
  4. Complete the Level 2 Certificate within 12 months
  5. Ongoing training such as customer service, disability awareness, counter terrorism, conflict resolution

Security roles

Stewards employed to perform security type roles such as searching people or property, refusing entry, or the removal of non-compliant spectators from the venue must also have the relevant physical intervention training.

For staff other than those in-house, they must also have a Security Industry Authority (SIA) Door Supervisor licence in order to carry out these licensable activities.

In-house staff at sports grounds are exempt from this licence.  However, they must be sufficiently qualified, trained in physical intervention and be vetted to the appropriate level.  Factsheet 6 – SIA Stewarding Exemption for Sports Grounds provides further detail on this.

Supervisory stewards

Where a supervisor has had no previous experience of the sport or event industry, but is appointed because of other skills, the employer should ensure that the supervisor has worked in the role for a minimum of four events, whilst being mentored, before being deployed in the role without additional support.

Supervisory stewards should complete their training towards the Level 3 Certificate or Level 3 Extended Certificate in Spectator Safety at the earliest opportunity, but not more than six months after being appointed.

Safety officers

Safety Officers typically enter the profession by a variety of career paths, bringing with them transferable knowledge and experience from other fields. For this reason, candidates should not be assessed solely on their qualifications. Previous experience may include:

  • relevant courses in spectator management run by the police service for serving officers
  • courses in health and safety management
  • courses in public safety
  • degrees in risk or event management.

The Level 4 Diploma in Spectator Safety may be considered as a minimum standard of qualification needed to demonstrate competency.  If a Safety Officer does not hold this qualification, the courses completed and qualifications held, should be mapped against the Level 4 Spectator Safety National Occupational Standards.

Event attendants

Event Attendants, carrying out non-safety critical roles, do not need to have formal qualifications.  However, grounds may want to consider the Level 2 Award – Understanding Stewarding at Spectator Events as a starting point.

Event attendants must, however, receive appropriate venue, event and role specific training, as outlined in the Factsheet 5 – Training.

Quick Q & A

There are different Level 2 courses, which ones are acceptable?

Stewards should hold either the previous NVQ level II in Spectator Safety or, from 2021, Level 2 Certificate in Spectator safety.

Is the Level 2 Award in Understanding Stewarding at Spectator Events (AUSSE) an acceptable alternative to a Level 2 certificate in Spectator Safety?

The Level 2 Award in Understanding Stewarding at Spectator Events (AUSSE) is not considered an acceptable alternative to a Level 2 certificate in Spectator Safety.

This is because the Level 2 AUSSE does not include an assessment of occupational competence and does not cover all of the units in the National Occupational Standard for Spectator Safety.

However, the Level 2 AUSSE provides stewards with the underpinning knowledge for the units of the National Occupational Standards for Spectator Safety which they must have before working unaccompanied.

Therefore, holders of a Level 2 AUSSE may work unaccompanied for a period of up to 12 months provided they have attended four events as a steward (accompanied by a qualified steward) and are in the process of undertaking their full training, assessment of occupational competence and qualification for a Level 2 Certificate in Spectator Safety.

Can first aid training be delivered in-house or does it need to be as part of the Level 2 qualification?

Basic life support skills are not part of the Level 2 spectator safety qualification.  However, there is requirement for the learner to present evidence to the Assessor and the Awarding Organisation that they have completed the prerequisite Basic Life Support Skills training prior to certification.

Many existing stewards may not have had training in basic life support skills therefore this training need should be addressed as part of their CPD. In order to maintain the necessary skills basic life support skills training should also form part of refresher CPD training for each steward.

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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