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Stewarding factsheet 8 – Management and HR

This factsheet identifies some of the management and human resources issues grounds should consider.

Stewards are critical to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment to fans.

Experience suggests that the quality of stewarding at a sports ground can be linked to the quality of the stewards’ work environment, the benefits on offer and the opportunities available for individuals to progress.

Stewards are proud to work at sports grounds. SGSA research shows:

  • 87% of stewards are satisfied with their role.
  • Once in the role, a sense of duty in protecting others (92%), working as part of a team (89%) and with others (85%) are deemed the most important aspects.

At the same time, stewards identified the areas of least satisfaction as working benefits, opportunities for career progression and pay.

In return for providing a positive working environment, management can often see a greater level of commitment, both on event days and when it comes to their willingness to attend training sessions.

Stewards’ responsibilities are considerable, and at times onerous. As such, they form an integral part of the safety management team, a status that should be recognised and reinforced by management in positive terms.

Recruitment and appointment

Recruitment and appointment procedures will vary based on the ground’s human resources practices.

If employed directly by the ground, all applicants should be interviewed and, where necessary, vetted and assessed before appointment to ascertain that they meet the requirements. If contracted by an agency, the ground should ensure the contract includes appropriate recruitment processes.

As outlined in Factsheet 3 – Stewarding Roles and Duties, all stewards should:

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

Sourcing stewards

Grounds across the country have their own approach to sourcing the required stewarding workforce. Many appoint all stewards in-house, whilst others outsource to agencies. Others still have a hybrid model with a mixture of in-house and agency stewards.

Research, however, does suggest that in-house stewards are often seen as more capable than those from agencies. In addition, research identified that there can be some concerns about the quality of agency stewards in terms of experience and training. This is exacerbated by a heavy reliance on agencies to supply high numbers of stewards to sports fixtures and live events.

Each ground must make its own decision on which stewarding employment model it uses.

Job descriptions

Job descriptions are an essential tool in identifying the functions expected by an individual. They will be unique for each role and venue, as there will be different expectations and requirements dependent on the size of the venue and nature of the events. They can also be used to identify the particular qualifications and/or training required by individuals.

Terms and conditions

The terms and conditions offered to safety staff will be dependent on the human resources practices of individual venues.

Stewards and other members of the safety team, by the nature of the roles, are likely to require specific terms and conditions, as the roles are generally provided on an hourly basis.

The terms and conditions offered for stewards employed directly by a venue are beyond the remit of the SGSA’s work. However, there is useful guidance available from other organisations on this:

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) An employers guide to atypical working.

BS 8406:2020 Event stewarding, code of practice.

Gov.uk Contract types and employer responsibilities.

As outlined in the introduction, the terms and conditions offered to individuals can play a significant part in how valued individuals feel.

Record keeping

It is important to maintain a record or profile form for each member of the safety team. The information to be recorded should include:

  • Name, age, address, and contact numbers.
  • Relevant professional or vocational qualifications (for example, fire-fighter or first aider).
  • Training sessions attended, including continued professional development.
  • Events attended.
  • Duties or position in the ground for each event.
  • Briefing and de-briefing sessions attended.
  • Assessment of progress.

Such records should be readily available for inspection by authorised persons, such as the local authority.

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.

Steward research findings – www.sgsa.org.uk/research

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