One big summer of Sport, but what is the condition of Event Security and Stewarding?

27th June 2022

Reading time 7 minutes

Public Events are back in full swing following a two year hiatus from their normal stature and flare – and boy is it good to be back.

Sixes being smashed at the cricket, thunderous hooves pounding the racecourses, precision aces at the tennis, and bounce of the crowd which only live music can generate, all points to the fact that iconic British sport and events are thriving once again.

For Carlisle, like a freshly sown garden, spring brings with it an awaking of colour and a hive of activity. With on-going preparations since the Autumn, it is only now that we see the summer fruits of our labour. Labour being a very poignant word, and the topic for many within the events and services sector right now. 2022 offers so many opportunities, but equally its fair share of challenges.

Carlisle Welcomes Ben Green to the Team

In the Autumn of 2021, Carlisle appointed Ben Green as Director of Events and Venues, taking the mantle for Event Security and Stewarding operations across the UK. Ben joins Carlisle following a career that has seen him hold both Senior and Executive roles across several sporting and entertainment operations including Kent County Cricket Club, Queens Park Rangers Football Club, Dreamland (Margate), and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Implementing a new operating structure, Ben has introduced greater collaboration of Event resources and skills from across the UK, working collectively for the benefit of customers and frontline colleagues alike. In addition, the strategic move to focus on delivering operations from directly employed, appropriately vetted and trained resources, drives an enhanced compliance culture within the division, whilst also aligning itself with Carlisle’s newly implemented Counter Terrorism strategy.

Heightening Counter Terrorism Awareness

With 275,000 attending Royal Ascot, and millions of us participating in public events annually, the need for the Protect Duty is here and now. The lessons of the Manchester Arena attack is there for all to see, and it is our responsibility to act, not wait for mandated regulation or law.

In May 2022, Carlisle launched our very own Counter Terrorism Awareness Week, expertly headed up by Non-Executive Director for Counter Terrorism, Nick Aldworth. Throughout the course of the week, customers, management, and frontline colleagues participated in an insightful and engaging program of speakers which included the face of the campaign for Martyn’s Law, Figen Murray, the CPNI, and the Metropolitan Police.

The widely accessible See Check and Notify (SCaN), Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Security and Awareness training modules, as well as several communications and aids, supported the themes and messages shared with our audiences as we champion the upskilling of those who contribute to public safety.

How’s Summer 2022 treating Carlisle?

The return to some state of normality continues to be testing for several reasons. Brexit, Covid-19, and global trends have all played their part. The demands for SIA licensed personnel versus the numbers available across the UK security sector do not stack, and this is mirrored amongst the unlicensed stewarding resources. This is being exaggerated by an increase in live shows, as artists fit in rescheduled tours, as well as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and the fact that many of those who contributed to the sector pre-covid have since found alternative employment. Furthermore, Brexit and our consumer behaviours, have opened several opportunities for persons to live a more ‘sociable’ lifestyle whilst achieving attractive pay rates.

It is not all doom and gloom! The appeal of working at some of the UK’s prestigious events and venues contributes some way to drawing in new, much welcomed talent. However, pay rates need to be fair and proportionate to the responsibilities which we are asking event security and stewards to uphold. For Carlisle, events have also been a great source of introducing talent into the possibilities of long-term security careers, as persons transfer from ad-hoc Events duties to full-time positions. The sector is still in recovery, it is not broken.

We still have more to do collectively. The cost of living is affecting those on the frontline more so than most. Over the past 3-4 years, it has been the focus of Carlisle to ensure that we do our level best to ensure that those who represent both us and our customers receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. With a staggering 97% of hours delivered at the Real Living Wage or above, we remain committed to mitigating financial hardship across our workforce. But the question is, at this present time, is the Real Living Wage enough? Is it now seen as the new minimum wage? Are we in for a sizable step forward in November, and have operators and finance teams budgeted accordingly to take this step forward?

Flexibility is working both ways. Employees are now very much able to pick and choose where they work. The importance of employee experience is now as critical as the customer experience.

So, the condition of Event Security and Stewarding…

Royal Ascot 2022 saw the return of many cornerstone faces of the Carlisle deployment, assuming their pre-covid roles, sliding on in like you would putting your feet into your favourite pair of slippers. It was apparent they were equally pleased to be back. You could not miss the big smiles on their faces, with all enquired about the coveted Ascot pin badges. Outdoor events bring with it the unpredictable British weather – thankfully for the vast majority of Royal Ascot it was a scorcher.

Deploying some 330+ personnel per race day, as well as the build and break security intertwined with the 24/7 site security operation, it felt like business as usual. Hats off to Ascot Racecourse! Their desire to provide credible welfare facilities and sustenance for every employee, not just for their security and stewarding teams. This contributes greatly to the employee experience, keeping those smiles going from day one to deliver service ‘The Ascot Way’ each day.

We now enjoy two weeks at The Wimbledon Championships, where we welcome those to enjoy the tennis, as well as sampling the delights of British strawberries and Pimm’s from the banks of Murray’s Mound (or Henman Hill, depending on your age).

The summer season has only just begun, and there is still so much to look forward to. Further Race Days at Ascot Racecourse, more cricket at Lord’s, the Kia Oval and the Ageas Bowl, the return of football across our Premier League and Championship clubs, as well as the diverse events of ACC Liverpool and the M&S Bank Arena, Manchester Central, the productions of BBC Studioworks, and so much more.

As with our summer preparations, our attention is also on the operations which will arise later in the year. With events all year round, in an array of environments, we are able to provide continuous employment for those who contribute to our success, ensuring that those who were a part of 2022 return for the summer of 2023.

So where are Carlisle in relation to its commitments to public events?

We continue to invest in recruitment to identify complementary talent who will integrate with our teams, contribute to exceptional customer service and security procedures, and be inquisitive to ensure the safety of themselves, their peers, and all the stakeholders we protect.

We continue to ensure that our colleagues’ welfare is of the highest agenda through appropriate distinguishable uniforms, correct PPE, and access to supervisory and management team members.

We continue to evaluate market conditions and seek to extract the very best financial deal possible on behalf of our colleagues, as well as introducing complimentary benefits, and ensuring all employees receive their due holiday pay.

We continue to provide opportunities for development through the exposure of training courses and progressive responsibilities under knowledgeable management.

We continue to provide our customers with market intelligence and industry insight to ensure that they are doing their utmost for the safety of those they invite to their venues and facilities, whilst also ensuring the welfare of our teams.

Not yet a part of Carlisle? Want to be?
Check out our current vacancies to see how you can be a part of the team
and complete our Register for Work form.

Jason Taylor
Business Development Director, Carlisle Support Services

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