According to the Security Industry Authority (SIA) – the body regulatory body for licensing the sector – there are more than 272,000 on-trade door supervisors across the UK, the majority of whom are self-employed or on zero-hours contracts and have seen their workload grind to a halt since pubs and bars closed on 20 March.
While the regulator has recently announced it has reduced its fees for security staff renewing their licences during the ongoing pandemic from £210 to £190, Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, believes the sector is crying out for greater support.
“The SIA does a great job in ensuring the competency and safety of our security staff across the UK, and the £20 reduction in new licence fees is welcomed, however, much more needs to be done to support these workers during this time,” he explained.
“As the nightclub, bar and events sector has been decimated, so too have all the industries who work alongside them, including security staff.
“Many of these workers are self-employed or on zero-hours contracts and have lost work entirely, yet despite this, their SIA licence is unable to be refunded and, as lockdown restrictions continue, the opportunity for them to get back into work quickly appears distant.
“Combine this with the fact that many bars and venues may struggle to reopen and we could see a huge swell of staff who have no jobs to return to.
“Universal Credit is available for workers on zero hours but is hounded by delays, and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme will only be available for grant payments from mid-June, so for those who are sole breadwinners for their families, the current situation could be dire.”
A spokesperson from the SIA said: “As the regulator, we license individuals to operate in the private security industry but we are not responsible for their employment or deployment.
“Our chief executive, Ian Todd, is publishing a weekly update to the private security industry and, in the most recent update we shared with the industry, the links to the Government support that is available for self-employed people.
“It is likely that those working in the industry could have been redeployed from other areas and are now working in the retail sector or in healthcare.
“We recommend that you contact the British Security Industry Association for further clarification on changes to working patterns.”
Relief fund support
In response, Lord has confirmed that security staff who have lost roles in his city region’s night-time economy will be supported by the UnitedWeStream relief fund.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), UnitedWeStream – a UK first that launched in the first week of April 2020 – is an online platform showcasing Greater Manchester’s best live DJ sets, singers, comedians, musicians, bands, poets, writers, presenters and actors from 7pm every night.
In keeping with Government advice on isolation and social distancing, all performances are beamed live from artists’ homes, gardens or from selected venues across the region.
Some 70% of all donations to UnitedWeStream.co.uk will bolster Greater Manchester’s night-time economy, including music venues, pubs, freelancers and cultural organisations that are unable to operate due to the ongoing pandemic.
Lord explained: “For the majority of revellers, door staff and supervisors often go unnoticed but they are an essential part of everyone enjoying their night out.
“While we may only hear about the few who bring the sector negative attention, the vast majority do fantastic work every single night to keep venues and party-goers safe across the region. I think we can all think of a time where we’ve leaned on them when we’ve lost friends, felt unwell or needed advice or support.
“They are often the forgotten part of a night out, but if you have ever been helped by a member of door staff, I encourage you to donate £1, £2 or even £3 – the cost of a pint – to them during this time.”