SIA Licences – Door Supervision – Who needs a licence?

by SIA Site Admin // February 6

Re: The Security Industry Authority and National Union of Students

It has been noted that the NUS operates four different categories of venues and I will deal with each in turn as set out in your email of 1st August 2003.

1. Registered clubs

Under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 (hereinafter PSIA 2001), premises being used exclusively for the purposes of a club which is registered under Part 2 of the Licensing Act 1964 will be exempt from needing SIA licensed door supervisors.

2. Premises with Justices’ Licences subject to membership conditions

If individuals are employed at an event to provide security, or a presence which is designed to protect the public and prevent outbreaks of disorder, violence or unlawful activities, then they will be covered under Schedule 2 Part 1(2) of the PSIA 2001 and will require a manned guard licence, if employed under contract. It must be noted that security guards employed in house are exempt from SIA licensing.

Para 8(1) PSIA 2001 defines a door supervisor as someone who undertakes the activities of a security guard at a licensed premise whilst open to members of the general public. Schedule 2 para 8(1) of PSIA 2001 prescribes two circumstances before people carrying out guarding activities (para 2) become door supervisors (para 8). The first is that the premises in question must have one of the licences prescribed in para 8(2); and the second is that at the relevant times the premises are open to the public. Please note that an exemption under Part 2 of the Licensing Act 1964 does not include personnel employed under contract working as a security guard from needing a guarding licence unless they are employed in-house. Paragraph 8(2) defines licensed premises as being premises which have:

  • Justices’ on-licences under the Licensing Act 1964 (para 8(2)(a);
  • An occasional licence under the Licensing Act 1964 (para 8(2)(b);
  • A licence under the Private Places of Entertainment (Licensing) Act 1967 (para 8(2)(c);
  • A licence held under para 1 or 4 of Schedule 1 to the Local Government (miscellaneous provisions) Act 1982;
  • A licence held under schedule 12 of the London Government Act 1963 (para 8(2)(d);
  • Any other premises which requires a licence as prescribed by local statutory provisions (para 8(2)(e).

Para 8(4) specifically says that for these purposes “the public” means club members or some other pre-selected sub-set. That means that student-only bars (if requiring or having the appropriate licence) are not exempt: if the activities taking place there are “guarding” activities then they are door supervisor activities by virtue of the nature of the premises.

However, ticket checkers are exempt from the definition of guarding in schedule 2 para 2(4) and this would carry over into the reading of para 8 (which is, of course, merely an extension and refinement of para 2). If checking tickets and similar non-“guarding” duties is all these people do then they would appear not to be licensable.

The type of activities that a ticket checker or steward may become involved in might include:

  1. Checking NUS membership cards
  2. Managing the signing in books
  3. Selling tickets for events
  4. Providing advice and ensuring the safety of those visiting the premises
  5. Managing cloakrooms
  6. Queue management and capacity management for health and safety reasons
  7. General safety of guests and visitors.
  8. First Aid

A ticket checker or steward cannot carry on a security activity per se that would include screening visitors and preventing trouble or disorder as this would fall within the remit of the work of a door supervisor on a licensed premise. In particular it should be noted that individuals undertaking security activities which are properly licensable by the SIA cannot evade licensing by being given alternative job titles or additional duties.

3 and 4 Premises operating with major bands playing occasionally during the year and premises open to the public at all times

Licensed premises within university grounds where live bands will be playing and where the premises are open to members of the general public at all times should have appropriate SIA licensed door supervisors manning the doors under Para 8 of the PSIA 2001.


It would be advised that it is the NUS or universities’ responsibility to make sure that licensed premises on their sites that operate door staff make their own individual assessment to make sure that they are suitably licensed by the SIA or apply for the relevant exemption under Part 2 of the Licensing Act 1964. Depending on the type of licensed premise that the university is operating and whether there are any aspects of the work that requires carrying on a security activity, then each venue will be able to judge whether door supervisor licences will be required for its staff manning the doors.