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Event Planning: Stewards

Stewards are essential to the success of any event and provide a link between the public and the event management team. For any event you must provide an appropriate number of stewards for the security and control of the site and the attending public.

If you are running a licensed event where you may be controlling access or selling alcohol you may be required to use specifically trained and qualified SIA (Security Industry Authority) security staff. These can be hired from SIA approved contractors. You can find more information at www.the-sia.org.uk. Any SIA qualified staff should produce and display their badge at all times. If your event is going to be a large public event consideration should also be given to special security measures necessary for the attendance of VIPs or celebrities.

The number of stewards needed may be calculated by considering each of the separate tasks to be covered (examples; staffing entrances and exits, controlling access to attractions/activities, general crowd control, patrolling public areas, security unauthorised areas, securing hazards, car parking duties).

A good rule of thumb for an adequate number of stewards is:

  • 1-100 participants = at least 1 steward per 10 participants and 1 per venue.
  • 101-above = 1 steward per 30 participants plus 2 per venue (to a maximum of 50)

If the event is to last several hours, extra stewards should be available to allow others to take meal breaks etc.

All stewards must know their duties & responsibilities

They must

  • Be fit, active and aged not less than 18
  • Be suitably trained and competent to carry out their duties effectively
  • Receive a written statement of their duties and, where appropriate, a checklist and a layout plan showing the key features of the site
  • Receive a final briefing of their duties on the day of the event, particularly about communicating with supervisors and others in the event of an emergency
  • Be easily identifiable by wearing jackets or tabards
  • Know the layout of the site and be able to assist the public by giving information about the available facilities
  • Be aware of the location of the entrances and exits in use on the day, first aid posts and fire fighting equipment
  • Know the ticketing arrangements and be aware of the routes in/out for performers
  • Be provided with torches where the event is likely to go on beyond dusk
  • Test any equipment issued to them prior to the event
  • Know how to address issues of public disorder

Stewards must patrol their allotted areas

  • Noting any potential hazards (such as pinch points) near their location
  • Ensuring that overcrowding does not occur in any part of the site
  • Preventing the public from climbing fences, barriers, lighting/sound towers, equipment, etc
  • Ensuring that circulation areas and exits, including entrances and exits for emergency services, are kept clear at all times (this can be particularly important at indoor events where visitors may well park their cars outside halls, across exit doors/routes from the building)
  • Stewards must know, understand and have practised their specific duties in an emergency and the arrangements for evacuating the public from the site, including the use of coded messages.