Spectator safety qualifications FAQs

Why are there new qualifications?

The current qualifications were developed from National Occupational Standards, dated 2006. The industry felt the existing standards and qualifications needed to be updated. The SGSA has worked with the Sector Skills Council, SkillsActive, awarding organisations and other key stakeholders to develop more relevant and appropriate standards and qualifications for the Spectator Safety Suite of qualifications.

When will the new qualifications be ready?

The revised standards for Spectator Safety were published in 2019, awarding organisations are currently working with SGSA to develop the new qualifications for launch in early 2021.

Training providers and awarding organisations can continue to provide existing qualifications though the final date for learner registration is December 31, 2020.

I already have a spectator safety qualification will I need a new one?

The new qualifications do have some additional new content and have expanded the knowledge elements for stewards, supervisors and safety officers. Whilst the new qualifications from 2021 will be significantly larger there is no requirement for an existing qualified individual to be fully retrained and have to requalify to the new standards and qualification. The expectation is however that employers will work with employees and their training providers to up skill existing staff to the new standards by undertaking additional training and assessment and continuous professional development.

Will there still be a knowledge-based award?

Yes. The new suite of qualifications continues to include a knowledge-based award at Level 2.

Are the new qualifications competency based?

Yes. The Level 2 and Level 3 certificates and the Level 4 diploma are competency-based qualifications. The learner will continue to receive training in key knowledge elements but will need to demonstrate occupational competency of those core key skills identified and required by the sector.

During the development stage for the occupational standards in spectator safety and the consultation for the qualification units a consistent and key message from employers and the sector was that competency-based qualifications were necessary.

Why are the new qualifications no longer referred to as NVQs?

The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) was launched in 2015. Awarding organisations that are regulated by Ofqual describe the size of their qualifications using new terminology – Total Qualification Time (TQT). TQT is, essentially, an indication of how long a typical learner might take to study a qualification, including the time spent on their individual study and on assessment. It also includes Guided Learning Hours (GLH), which is the time spent actually being taught.

The term NVQ is no longer generally used to describe vocational qualifications.

The new qualification titles reflect the hours of study and credits.

Will the Level 2 qualification for stewards include physical intervention training?

SGSA has worked with our colleagues in the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to enable the SIA’s Physical Intervention unit which is part of the door supervisors licence qualification to be an additional unit to the spectator safety certificate at Level 2.  It is not an optional unit. The Level 2 certificate can be achieved without completing the physical intervention unit.

A number of awarding organisation can award the SIA door supervisor qualification will be developing a Level 2 certificate in spectator safety that does include the physical intervention unit. These will not be available until later in 2021 to coincide with the new SIA door supervisor qualifications containing the new revised physical intervention unit.

Will the new qualifications require counter terrorism training?

Yes. Each of the new qualifications requires the learner to undergo appropriate counter terrorism training relevant to their job role. Stewards (Level 2) and supervisors (Level 3) will be required to demonstrate they have completed the ACT Awareness eLearning resource prior to certification from the awarding organisation. Level 4 safety officers will need to have completed an ACT strategic training course prior to certification from the awarding organisation.

The ACT Awareness eLearning course can be undertaken at any point during the period of training as it can be completed remotely.

The one-day ACT strategic course will be delivered by licensed CTSAs through the regional counter terrorism units. It is the responsibility of the learner to ensure they have completed ACT strategic course prior to certification by the awarding organisation. Details of the locations and dates of the courses will be available through the SGSA website.

The ACT strategic training will be delivered free of charge. The learner is responsible for any transportation or accommodation costs.

Will the new qualifications include first aid training?


There will however be a requirement that learners at Levels 2 and 3 will have completed a basic life support training course that covers:  CPR, recovery position, use of a defibrillator and how to manage a bleed. Evidence of the successful basic life support training will be required by the awarding organisation prior to certification.

Are there any new qualifications?

Yes. The suite of spectator safety qualifications has been extended and now incorporates six qualifications.

  • Level 2 Award Understanding Stewarding at Spectator Events (AUSSE) (knowledge-based qualification)
  • Level 2 Certificate Spectator Safety (competency-based qualification)
  • Level 2 Certificate Spectator Safety (Physical Intervention) (competency-based qualification) (not expected until April 2021)
  • Level 3 Certificate Spectator Safety Supervision (competency-based qualification)
  • Level 3 Extended Certificate Spectator Safety Supervision (competency-based qualification)
  • Level 4 Diploma Spectator Safety Management (competency-based qualification)

Why are there two qualifications at Level 3?

In many situations the Level 3 Certificate in Spectator Safety supervision will meet the needs of the employer. However, in some circumstances and at smaller events, particularly those without regulated stands, or events with limited attendance the Level 3 Extended Certificate which includes a number of elements that are part of the Level 4 Diploma may be used as the minimum qualification for the senior person on duty with responsibility for safety.

The Level 4 Diploma remains the minimum standard for a safety officer at a designated sports ground or larger sports and events.

How many stewards need DBS checks?  Is it all or a percentage of stewards in the ground?

With regards to DBS checks this is split into two groups of personnel – in-house and externally supplied.

The exemption from the Private Security Industry Act 2001 via the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 is that in-house stewards are covered by similar arrangements, the undertaking at the time by football authorities, and the expectation from the Home Office is that all in-house stewards are subject to a DBS check, especially those undertaking “licensable activity”.

All externally supplied staff should be DBS checked.

These matters are not for SGSA to monitor but are covered by the SIA and other agencies.

Do stewards who hold a stewarding qualification before the introduction of the new specifications need to re-qualify?

The basic premise is that once an employee is considered as being trained and competent there is no requirement to “retrain”. The new qualifications will have additional content and the expectation is that the awarding organisations will work with their centres to develop upskilling units to take existing learners to the new levels. In reality, at Level 2 for the stewards and Level 3 for supervisors this will be ensuring they complete the ACT e-learning package and undertake the basic life support training.

The Level 4 Diploma is significantly different and we are working up resources to upskill Level 4 safety officers.

Can I hire stewards whilst they are still training?

Yes. If they have undertaken all aspects of relevant familiarisation and induction training they may start work accompanied by a qualified steward.

They may work unaccompanied for a period of up to 12 months once they have attended four events as a steward and received training.