Helping to build a new standard for event security
This month the Private Security Authority have released a public consultation document relating to the licencing of individuals in the event security sector. I personally think this is a very positive and progressive step. It’s long overdue in an industry that has a significant amount of responsibility placed on its shoulders. It’s also great that the PSA have put out this consultation to the industry for commentary. In this article I want to look at the proposal and tell you a little about the feedback I will be submitting to the PSA.
You should read the whole document here. I”ll give you a really quick overview here but it isn’t a lot of detail.
The creation of a number of new licences:
Door Supervisor (Event Security) to work at key internal areas in a security capacity
Security Guard (Event Security) to work at areas on the event periphery in a security capacity.
New entrants to the industry will have to undertake additional training along with their regular door/guarding course to get these new licences once it goes live.
People currently in possession of a current door/guarding licence wont have to do the additional training to work at events until their licence expires .They will then have to do upskilling training for events if they wish to work at them.
A person with a door supervisor licence (Event Security) can work at both the event and the event periphery.
A new licence of Security Guard Event Security (Temporary) licence will be available for event security only. They will need to do a training course to get this. The licence will be €30 for 9 months and these people can work on the periphery of an event. This licence cannot be renewed.
There is a limited number of these licences allowed work at the event and this number decreases over the coming years.
People travelling from abroad to work at events will require a PSA licence.
Crowd safety, crowd management and traffic management continue to be exempt as is close protection. These are specialist roles and rightly dont fall into the regular security role.
The public consultation document is your chance to have your voice heard. For those that like to whinge and moan about the state of the industry this is your chance to do something. The PSA have put the document out there for comment and submission. If you don’t at least have your voice heard then you have no business moaning about things afterwards. The document is linked again here and you should really read it before going further with this article so you understand it fully.
I’m glad that they have put it out there for the industry to comment. Firstly because of the people at the table when it was designed The voices of the industry needs to be heard and this public consultation is the forum to do it in. Secondly because as an industry we need to begin to have more of a say in shaping the industry from the ground up. Moaning on Facebook about it is pointless if you dont get involved in the process.
I’m going to be submitting my views to the PSA this week. I think the overall document and direction are great but I do have some issues to raise. Below I’ll go through some of the issues I will be submitting.
The expected role description for each licence is laid out very clearly by the PSA as advised by the stakeholders. I have some issues with one or two of the points in here. For the Security Guard (Event Security) role it states that this licence is required to control access. Underneath this point it states that no licence is required to check tickets. In my view this is a slight contradiction. Surely the checking of tickets is controlling access? If a person presents without a ticket or with an incorrect ticket what does the staff member do. Of course they refuse entry or refer to a supervisor. Therefore they have controlled the person’s access surely?
The specialist training required for a pit crew is referred to in the document. What is this training? Who accredits it and will this be another separate licence in the future? Specific pit crew rostering is required which appears exempt from licencing.
Licencing and Vetting
Licencing equals vetting. Needing to get all of these temporary licence holders through vetting in time to work an event will be very very difficult for employers. Will the National Vetting Bureau and the PSA be resourced to deal with the large increase in volume of licences and vetting applications. If not then a large backlog will ensue and companies may not be able to legally staff events as they are waiting on licences to be issued. The solution will possibly go back to the old system of employees availing of a ‘cover letter’ to work which will make a mockery of the licencing system if done in volume.
The regulator can hardly blame companies if they need to deploy staff without temporary licences when those temporary licences are held up in processing or at vetting. Of course there is an argument that if companies begin recruiting and training temporary staff in December there will be plenty of time before the season kicks off. The reality is though that many of these temporary staff won’t even be considering event security until April/May when colleges end or seasonal work ends. The influx of licence applications will start then and continue into May and June just as the staff of the regulator and vetting bureau will be taking holidays. It will take a very large resourcing increase to cope with this next year.
The document speaks about the development of the standard by a working group of stakeholders including employers, qualification bodies and state authorities. All of which I agree with needing to be there. I would like to see clarity on one group though. Employee representation. Generally this means unions. If it is then this is not genuine employee representation. Unions represent the manned Guarding sector in general. The vast majority of the Door Supervisors and event sectors are not unionised. The document itself states that the event sector is transient but there are permanent professionals in it. I would love to see the Authority invite these people in as employee representatives. Having unions there is not representative of the people affected by the licence. Also, I’ve never seen a union rep standing on a fence line.
One thing I don’t see clarified in the document (perhaps because it’s seen as a WRC issue) is the issue of the ERO. I think is important for the Authority to state its position on this to avoid later issues. Where these new licences fall in relation to the ERO? Will a person with a Security Guard (Event Security) or Door Supervisor (Event Security) fall under the ERO. Will a temporary licence ( bearing in mind that we are now calling it security not steward) fall under the ERO?
If they do then the rates of pay and protections of the ERO need to be stated as applicable by the Authority. If they do not then it raises significant issues for employers in relation to things like mandatory breaks and rest periods which the security industry ERO exempts.
I’m conscious that the specified training hasn’t been developed yet.There is a real opportunity here to make great strides in providing a robust training programme that makes events genuinely safer for attendees. There is also a risk that it will be piecemeal and time driven training which will be meaningless. Producing the public consultation without details of the training makes it difficult to judge. There is no indication whether the training will be accredited or not or by whom. Obviously employers will want to deliver the training in house so that they cannot be held to the time and financial constraints of external training providers. The risk with allowing this is the conflict of interest between an employer providing robust and effective training and the pressure of getting staff rushed through in time to work events. Security providers are in the business of providing security not training. The provision of security personnel will always take precedent over robust training and rightly so for their own business.
I don’t want to put a dampener on this point either. For years the industry has complained about the poor standard of staff at events and this is great chance for the regulator to get it right. I really hope it becomes the training programme that the industry needs.
So to reiterate again. I am a big fan of the idea of licencing in the event security sector. I think it will make a huge difference to the sector if done correctly. I thinK the proposals for the various types of licence are fair to all (although I do believe they will have unforeseen consequences in other areas but that’s for another article). However I do note the issues above and think that they should be addressed before the licencing becomes a reality. I’m excited both as a trainer and as somebody who works operationally at events to see this come to fruition. I can see it making a difference to events and to providers in positive ways. It wont be short on challenges but regulation never is. This is your chance to have your feelings on the subject heard. If you are an individual or small company with a view then please let the PSA know before the 17th September.