Licensees need to be prepared for the Christmas season to ensure a safe environment for customers, National Pubwatch (NPW) has warned.
The voluntary organisation, which supports over 800 Pubwatches across the UK, works to promote safe, secure and social drinking environments in all licensed premises throughout the UK, is highlighting the free training and support that is available for pubs.
Only last month leading trade associations teamed up to highlight the resources available to operators to combat increasing concerns about drink spiking across the UK.
Licensees need to ensure staff are fully trained to support vulnerable customers and despite the uncertainty with the Covid-19 pandemic NPW is urging them to continue to educate staff to recognise and act when there may be any incidents that may put customers at risk.
The voluntary organisation stresses that licensees do not need to buy-in expensive training from outside providers, as there are materials and help available for free to support in-house training.
Its own free training film called Supporting Vulnerable People, allows licensees to help take frontline staff through a variety of scenarios on how to ensure the safety of customers.
There is also a free e-learning Alcohol Vulnerability module, which is provided courtesy of charity Drinkaware, which allows individual frontline staff to obtain training. If staff complete the module successfully there is a downloadable certificate to aid with continuing development.
NPW is also urging publicans to support the free ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign, which means that anyone in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation can get discreet help to leave if they ask for ‘Angela’ at the bar.
The Ask for Angela poster has already been downloaded nearly 14,000 times from the NPW website. The voluntary organisation said that staff must fully understand how to recognise and react to vulnerability situations and be trained on how to react if someone actually asks for Angela.
NPW works in partnership with Best Bar None (BBN) and the two organisations have produced a range of tools to improve the operation and standards of venues. There are free downloadable policies and procedures documentation which can be used by operators as evidence of their due diligence and assist them in achieving BBN accreditation.
These include a range of topics from safeguarding vulnerable persons, Challenge 21/25, crime and disorder, drugs, searching and overcrowding.
NPW chairman Steve Baker OBE, said: “It is important as we head into the Christmas period that publicans and operators continue to meet their obligations to ensure premises are safe and protect vulnerable customers.
“We understand that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to create a challenging business environment but we hope that by providing these free training videos and tools we can support them in their efforts.”
BBN chairman, The Lord Smith of Hindhead, said: “We are delighted to promote the free resources and tools prepared and made available by our colleagues at National Pubwatch to our Best Bar None schemes.
“We know that trading has been difficult for many licensees following the challenging conditions they have weathered through the pandemic so far. The free resources should enable venues to continue their efforts to reduce vulnerability at little cost to them, which we hope proves helpful through the festive season and beyond.”
National Pubwatch and Best Bar None suggest that you consider the following:
- If your venue doesn’t already have a vulnerability policy, consider developing something now. Simple policy documents (which can be adapted to your own operating environment) can be downloaded here
- Carry out a team training session to discuss the policy and receive feedback to allow amendments. The NPW training film Protecting Vulnerable People will provide a starting point for team discussions. The film can be viewed here
- Task individual frontline staff to complete the drinkaware e.learning Alcohol Vulnerability module. Training staff can help them with their continuous learning portfolio. The e.learning module can be accessed here
- Consider supporting the Ask for Angela initiative. Successful implementation of the initiative depends on all staff understanding vulnerability and how to respond. The Ask for Angela poster can be downloaded and printed here