Changes to Steward Qualification Standards

A group of stewards receiving training

Since the 5th edition of the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide) was published in 2008, the steward training and qualifications system has grown extensively. There are many more providers offering an increased number of qualifications to help people into the industry. 

SkillsActive is the body responsible for setting the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Spectator Safety. It has recently carried out a review and update of the NOS to ensure the standards are robust and reflect the changing needs of the industry. The new standards have been published on the UKCES NOS database and can be found here:

As well as changes to standards, there will be further changes to qualifications later this year, once Ofqual has completed its full consultation of the new Framework for Regulated Qualifications (FRQ). There is still time to offer your views, the consultation period closes 17th June 2015.

The SGSA works with stakeholders in the training and qualification sector including the Sector Skills Council, SkillsActive, the regulators Ofqual and Ofsted and the awarding bodies that issue qualifications to the learners.

The changes to the NOS mean that the awarding bodies are now required to update their qualifications.

We will continue to support all parties through this transition, providing advice and guidance on stewarding requirements to ensure the qualifications meet the Green Guide standards.

The Green Guide (link to Section 4.8 text below) recommends that stewards should be trained to a standard that satisfies the requirements of the National Occupational Standards. The SGSA recognises the value of the NVQ Level 2 qualification as it underpins the knowledge provided by work-related training. In order to obtain an NVQ Level 2 qualification, learners must evidence their work-place learning, be observed carrying out tasks and assessed on their knowledge, understanding and work-based performance to ensure they are competent in the work-place. 

The SGSA recognises that due to the churn of staff, it is unrealistic to expect all stewards at sports grounds to hold an NVQ Level 2 in Spectator Safety, but would expect that the majority of stewards would hold this qualification.

It would not be acceptable for a ground to rely upon a stewarding operation that has significant numbers of stewards undergoing training and who have not achieved an NVQ Level 2 in Spectator Safety.

Stewards holding qualifications other than the NVQ Level 2 in Spectator Safety may use them as evidence that a minimum level of training has been achieved and that the employee may work alone - subject to all the criteria being met. The SGSA is aware there are a number of training providers offering the Level 2 Award in Understanding Stewarding for Spectator Events (AUSSE) and in many cases with additional elements. The AUSSE was developed to meet the minimum level of criteria for Section 4.8 of the Green Guide as a valuable stepping stone into work and towards the NVQ and this remains the case.

The new Level 2 Certificate in Event Security Operations (ESO) was recently developed by the UK Crowd Management Association (UKCMA) in association with Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC). The SGSA supported the development and provided advice to the project. This new award has been mapped to the Spectator Safety NOS and meets the criteria of the Green Guide as the holder can evidence he/she has been trained to a level exceeding the minimum standard identified in the Green Guide and may work alone at an event in a sports ground. As with the AUSSE the ESO is neither an alternative nor replacement for the Level 2 Spectator Safety NVQ.

When engaging agency or contracted staff, it is important that ground management consider the conditions of the safety certificate and their own stewarding plans so they can specify the type of qualifications required from the staff being supplied. Where a stewarding plan or safety certificate specifies NVQ qualified staff it is essential these are provided as failure to do so will be a material breach of the conditions of the safety certificate.

Green Guide Notes

Section 4.8 Green Guide states:

Training must be conducted by occupationally competent persons using suitable training resources and material that will provide the relevant underpinning knowledge to satisfy the requirements of the National Occupational Standards for those relevant vocational qualifications.

During the training programme, stewards should be assessed by occupationally competent assessors to demonstrate their competency against the National Occupational Standards and performance criteria of the relevant vocational qualification.

It is recognised that, at any given time, some stewards will probably not have had the opportunity to complete their training and assessment. However no steward should be deployed at the sports ground until they have undertaken all aspects of relevant familiarisation and induction training. Stewards should not work unaccompanied until

they have satisfied the following criteria:

a. they have received training to provide the underpinning knowledge for the followingunits in the National Occupational Standards for Spectator Safety:

i. C29 – Prepare for spectator events

ii. C35 – Deal with accidents and emergencies

iii. C210 – Control the entry, exit and movement of people at spectator events.

b. they have attended four events as a steward.

All stewards should complete their training, assessment and qualification within 12

months thereafter.

(The underlining of the text has been made for this article)

The Green Guide section 4.8 further states that:

Where there are significant numbers of unqualified stewards undergoing training the (S) factor should be reduced.