Shortage of Door & Security Staff – Risk Management
While no industry has escaped the last two years unscathed, the plight of the UK’s nightlife industry is particularly dire. Since the pandemic, staffing levels are well below what’s needed, with reports of levels under 70% of where they need to be. This has been compounded by a lack of EU workers since Brexit.
While the nation was in lockdown, scores of club security workers were furloughed or made redundant. Many found work elsewhere and others left for jobs with more sociable hours, resulting in a deficit.
A steep decline in security staffing levels
The situation is ‘critical’, says Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industry Association (NTIA). And it’s only deteriorating further.
According to reports, the problem started long before the pandemic. However, the pace of decline sped up with the outbreak. The industry has also been met with rising costs, making it even harder to secure adequate staffing while trying to stay afloat. Higher energy bills, for example, are attributed to a 10 percent increase in costs.
The NTIA estimates that almost 90,000 jobs have been lost across the nightlife industry. One in five businesses are believed to have closed or cut hours due to insufficient staffing. Independent clubs have been particularly hard hit.
Nightclub owners are calling on the government to do more to help the situation. Suggestions include issuing temporary visas to EU workers, similar to the decision to grant 5,000 HGV drivers visas earlier this year.
Fears over the festive period
As we begin our approach to Christmas, companies are growing concerned as workloads are set to increase up to 30 percent. Many are unequipped, with insufficient staffing to handle the busy festive period. Christmas plans will be in jeopardy, with venues unable to open or to cope with demand.
Bath Christmas Market won’t be going ahead this year, due to lack of security. This marks the second year running for the award winning Christmas event.
A threat to public safety
As Kill points out, bouncers and security staff aren’t simply there to turn people away for violating the dress code.
“Whether it is through acting as a first line of defence against a terrorist attack, or intervening to break up violent incidents, licensed security staff are fundamental to public safety.”
Recently, reports of increased drink spiking and partygoers being unknowingly injected with drugs while inside nightclubs have been released. A lack of adequate security will only exacerbate these problems further.
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Fines and imprisonment
Door supervisors in the UK must be licensed by the Security Industry Authority. The process involves a six day training course, costing upwards of £200. Followed by a licence application process which can take up to six weeks and costs £190. Someone caught working as a door supervisor without a licence is liable to face a fine of up to £5,000, plus up to six months’ imprisonment.
With Christmas just a few weeks away, businesses can’t train people up in time, leaving them short handed and forced to turn to security agencies for help. Estimates suggest that venues are having to pay these agency staff up to 25 percent more, further hiking up their running costs and ability to turn a profit.
As staff shortages continue, desperate venues are forced into hiring people they would not otherwise consider. People who may lack the necessary skills and/or training to effectively perform their duties. This, in turn, can put the public at risk.
It’s essential that bar and club owners have the right insurance policy to mitigate risks. Risks like personal accidents, assaults on staff, property damage and more. Not to mention the added risks that come with working during a pandemic. Comprehensive public liability and employer’s liability insurance now become more vital than ever in the wake of these staffing trends.
With difficult times ahead, the industry should invest in measures to protect their interests and ensure public safety. For owners, now is a good time to review your insurance policies, to ensure your business is shored up against potential risks.
For advice and information about insurance for the nightlife industry, contact Full Time Cover on 0207 923 4191. Our experienced, friendly advisors can help answer your questions and put your mind at ease.