Facing an impossible situation, review, closure, altered hours, loss of premises licence
One of our Clients received the worst message he could have at 10.00 pm the day after a serious incident had occurred at his bar. A member of security had pulled out a gun when threatened by a person wielding a six-inch carving knife. A disturbance in the street occurred, clearly an affray and serious assault by the security guards and a member of the public (The CCTV was damming)
The incident had occurred the previous evening and had been grossly underreported by the offending security staff and only when social websites started showing footage and still images, then the Police got involved!
Our Client contacted me immediately and as a long term Client with both our Compliance Management System and ISITCHECKED in use, we reviewed his situation and offered some immediate solutions, and more importantly – a plan.
Two local licensing solicitors were spoken to, both very knowledgeable and very helpful. I was told that we had less than a 1% chance of NOT losing the licence for a minimum of 28 days at an interim review and maybe permanently such was the disaster unfolding.
The Client was soon served with an interim hearing notice and we had four days to prepare for the hearing. Meanwhile, the Police were arresting the Security staff, tracking down witnesses and preparing to ask for a closure order and full licensing review.
At the interim hearing, the Council Licensing Committee gave a fair hearing to both sides, – we gave it our best shot – ever!
The Committee’s decision was that the premises could remain open and the only condition added at the interim hearing was that an additional member of bar staff be employed to assist with the supervision of the premises.
The use of our Compliance Management system and ISITCHECKED and 30+ years experience in the nighttime economy, yet again proved a great success – BUT – Please don’t wait until you are in this situation, when all your work, investment and livelihood are hanging by a thread because quite honestly, in the words of a Licensing Chairman “Well Mr X, if you would have had this in place before we wouldn’t be here now”!
I have a tendency to ‘harp’ on about keeping up with good due diligence, pushing our cloud-based services, (I do this because I know they work). One of my Clients appreciated this only too well recently.
They had a very serious and extreme incident at the venue resulting in allegations against Security staff of affray, possession of weapons, excess use of force and a customer arriving with a weapon.
The Police went for an interim hearing extremely confident that they would get full closure, I was told they had a 99% chance of getting this and my Client had a 1% of NOT getting closed!
At the interim hearing, I explained what had been done since the incident, what was already in place and what we were going to do. The committee supported our Clients application and he has remained open – against all odds!
Premises licences have been suspended for far less of an incident than this one.
This is likely the longest post I have made for a while, but if you can take away my 20+ years of experience in one of the busiest nightclubs in Liverpool (capital of injury claims)! then I have helped you to save a ton of money, stress, time and insurance liability increases and excesses – then I will feel good about the post.
INCIDENTS – BEST PRACTICE
The first thing with any incident is to recognise that it is an incident that needs to be dealt with, this may seem a very obvious statement to make but lots make the first error in the chain by not recognising what it is.
I have been there and done this so this for me is not new or a surprise and almost every claim or incident can be dealt with in minutes and put to bed if you do it right.
A couple of easy examples are:
A customer comes to you and states she has a small cut on her foot and asks for a plaster, you look and it’s a minor thing, she admits she was at fault.
No records made, a plaster given out.
A group of males are refused entry into the venue, a fight with security ensues and then two minutes later it’s over and done with, no complainant, no injuries, a quick note in the door register.
What do you do about the above? Technically do you feel that enough has been done? Incident 1 is a nothing incident and incident 2 has been sorted, no injuries, no Police have turned up – so sorted??
I’m afraid it isn’t because this is what happens next:
2 years later a claim come in stating that the claimant cut her foot due to broken glass on the floor “It was everywhere, no cleaning taking place at all” – the wound turned septic, she was admitted to hospital and couldn’t walk for 3 months. All in all a £25,000.00 plus the same again in costs claim!
You receive a request for staff records who worked that night, cleaning records, staff training, a copy of the accident report, copies of risk assessments etc etc
3 months later, Licensing Police have received a complaint, a duplicate complaint has also been received by S.I.A and they want to know all the details as these people “have been violently abused and for no good reason”.
You are now subject to scrutiny from two enforcing agencies with powers to cause you no end of grief and that is not taking up the time it takes to deal with the above issues.
So what is ‘best practice’??
The first thing that I started doing was to treat even the smallest complaint, cut toe, strap on the foot rubbing to serious injuries, stabbings, spiking etc EVERYTHING is treated as an incident that is likely to cause a massive headache in the future.
Don’t get me wrong, you will spend time doing this and 90%, hopefully, will amount to nothing, BUT when you do need it then you will be hugely grateful for the footwork you put in at the start.
It is also notable that when you are getting this information together at the start it is 1000% easier than trying to do it 6 months later!
How did I do this?
Easy – (It was NOT easy) it was hard work, the major difficulty was at the start teaching my staff the ‘new’ way of doing things, some accepted it and got on with it, others kicking and squealing – but they got there in the end.
I used TWO different systems (I use these two systems still to help others) the first is a Compliance Management system, this is a real-time cloud-based system that covers the entire business operation:
Fire risk assessment
And lots more.
Once that was in place it meant that I could set the staff training and risk assessment training up just once, the system then generates the reminders, reschedules refresher training etc, if the staff leave we still had the records.
The staff each have a sign in and access to their own training, Management has different training and access rights so they may have access to complete maintenance tasks, like recording annual fire extinguisher services. The service documents are also stored on the system giving instant access from anywhere.
As the owner or GM, you can see where the staff are up to if they have outstanding training etc and they get a weekly reminder/update emailed to them so you don’t have to remember to schedule the training, the majority of which can be read and signed off at home by the staff.
The whole system enabled me to produce all the training records, slip and trips etc within minutes and have the whole lot as PDF to insurers or the Police within 15 minutes.
ISITCHECKED is a real-time cloud-based checklist system, this works by the staff having a free app on their mobile. A QR code is placed say at the front door or a toilet or a section of the venue.
The back office enables the system to be set up, you can add any amount of codes and each code can deal with different checklists dependent upon which group of staff are scanning the code.
So a different checklist would show for security staff and another for cleaning staff and another for the Manager.
When the security staff patrol the toilets, of course, they check to see if anyone is using or dealing drugs, the floor is dry and clean etc the problem is – ‘THEY DON’T RECORD THE CHECK’ so any ‘evidence’ of a check is not there.
The same thing with glass collectors, managers, bar staff – all pass through the toilets but don’t record it. Most ‘records’ have a fixed time and some scribble for a signature every 30 minutes (not 16 minutes or 37 minutes) which is why as ‘evidence’ they fail.
ISITCHECKED records the checklist records the time and dates and GPS location and the user’s name in clear print.
As an example, if you have 2x security patrolling, you have a glass collector and a manager, they each have to check the toilets every 30 minutes. On a 6 hour shift, you could expect that the toilets record a check over 48 times (better than 12) in reality they check much more frequently and the best result I got was over 200 times in a night.
Because you don’t have a visual form on the wall nobody knows when it was last checked, so they record a check every time they pass through, the bar staff using the toilets is a bonus check.
Now you have ‘real’ evidence that has not once failed to defend a venue.
ALL incidents should be investigated as a possible claim, no matter how insignificant it seems to be.
Record all incidents and accidents
Get exact location and save CCTV
Take pictures of the location
Gather witnesses and get a brief statement signed
Get a signed report from the injured party (I guarantee their account will change)
Note things and get pictures (i.e High heel shoes if they may be contributory)
Place all the evidence in an envelope into a file box
Don’t printout checklists and staff records you can access them later from the cloud.
Putting in place these changes provided the following benefits:
Claim against us stopped
Existing claims failed
Insurance excesses reduced massiviliy
Insurance costs reduced by 75% over 5 years
Staff improved the quality of work
Claims that came in were dealt with in ONE Email.
Police complaints and a chance to go to review were stopped.
The same applies to incidents at the front door, record it properly, save CCTV and bodycam footage, log an incident report on the Compliance Management system, upload copies of any paper reports.
CCTV should be saved onto a secure medium, I used DVDs for years mainly because they all fitted into an envelope and didn’t deteriorate.
The main thing you are trying to show to your insurers or the Police is that you are a competent operator and that you have done everything ‘reasonably possible at the time. IF you have done all this then I would be very surprised if the end result was detrimental to you or the venue, mainly because the Police wouldn’t likely do this level of due diligence.
I have been supporting venues and Clients for over 10 years and everyone that has implemented these systems has had no issues or even been to review.
REPLY FROM S.I.A INVESTIGATOR (redacted for Client confidentiality)
All good here thank you. I hope it’s the same with you.
Thank you very much for sending through all this information so quickly. I really appreciate your help in resolving this enquiry. Very impressive record keeping. I know you developed a fabulous system but I think this is the first time I have seen the results in real live action.
I have yet to open the CCTV as I will need to go through our IT Dept to be able to do that so will view in due course. The incident report is very detailed and I have no reason to doubt it will be reflective of what sounds to have been a most unpleasant incident.
As I said to ******, you know how it works here. Intel comes in from all sorts of places and is then passed out to people like me on the regions to make enquiries. I am not privy to where it came from in the first place. I always approach it with an open mind and am well aware that the reality of the situation can be very different from what the intel alleges. Quite rightly though it all has to be considered.
Once I have viewed the CCTV it would be my intention to write this one up as closed on the basis of no issues found in relation to ****** door staff.
Thanks again for your help.
That letter was great for me to see as well as the Client and justified the time and investment given to using the best practices and software available.
Just as a footnote really this complaint actually came in after 4 months following the incident, normally, by which time all footage would have been overwritten and zero CCTV support evidence would be available.
I have been to a few hearings to explain why if a venue installs and operates our software the improvements will be so good that the committee should give them an opportunity to try – rather than remove their licence. Only in one case were we not successful, in that case, we came to the table far too late in the procedings.
BRIEF CIRCUMSTANCES – The venue had been badly let down by the security team and allowed drug dealers to operate, no doubt for financial gain and a couple were even selling, a substantial amount of dealing going on in the toilets.
Licensing Police had mounted an undercover operation and had recorded the transgressions in detail and used video recording, the venue as part of the defence submission argued that they were checking the toilets on a regular basis, they had sacked security staff, changed Managers, basically putting it right and moving the bad eggs out.
The Committee was standing strong, I spent over 40 minutes going into great detail that by using ISITCHECKED and our COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, the improvements and evidence of the toilet checks would be enormous and would put things not only right but a huge improvement in addition.
They were duly impressed with the systems and this was mentioned during summing up with the reasons that they rejected the application and removed the licence.
QUOTE FROM THE LICENSING COMMITTEE
“(NAME OF DPS), We have examined this case in detail and we have taken on board the management system changes that you have stated that you will introduce, we feel that this has been left far too late, in fact, had you deployed these systems before then we would not be dealing with this today”
HSADD – I think that the point to be taken here is that you should take really seriously your staff training, due diligence, toilet checks and venue checks. The biggest issue that I have come across when looking at Clients operations is that 99% of operators actually complete all the checks – BUT THEY DO NOT RECORD THEM!
Let me show you how you can create the record-keeping to the highest standard of proof so that when something happens you can at least provide the evidence that you have done the very best you can – whether that is a slip/trip or a licensing issue. Don’t get to a position where the horse has left the stable and is vanishing down the road!!
When I visit a Clients premises to explain our due diligence systems to them I often explain it as having a bank account for a rainy day, when a piece of equipment fails, you dip into the ‘savings pot’ and buy the new equipment.
Completing your daily checklists, open and closing report, staff training, accident and incident recording (even if you think it’s not going to amount to anything – RECORD EVERYTHING)!
YOU MAY NEVER USE THE ‘SAVED CHECKLISTS ETC’ – BUT ON THE DAY YOU NEED THEM YOU WILL BE REALLY HAPPY YOU HAVE THEM SAVED UP!
One of my clients recently had an investigation by both the Police and the S.I.A (Security Industry Association) arising from a complaint from a customer who alleged assault and unbadged door staff working. The female (I use that term very loosely) has actually assaulted the door staff, hit them and spat at them, she was feral!.
The security staff acted extremely professionally and adhered to our advice and systems in place.
Following the complaint, the client was able to produce numerous records, CCTV, personnel records – all within 15-20 minutes the evidence was with the Police and S.I.A.
We have now improved systems even further by incorporating a real-time door register which digitally records the security staff sign in, badge number, time, date and GPS location, reports of refusals and ejections – all available to the business owner with 0.75 seconds after submission – now you know if you have an issue that needs your attention very quickly indeed.
CHECK OUT OUR SYSTEMS OR CONTACT ME FOR MORE DETAILS
A popular takeaway kebab and pizza business has been slapped with the second-lowest hygiene rating following a visit from health inspectors. Hygiene officers found a catalogue of problems at Barbeque Nation on Eastbank Street in Southport – including food being left at potentially unsafe temperatures, and nowhere for staff to wash their hands. Hygiene officers found a catalogue of problems at Barbeque Nation on Eastbank Street in Southport – including food being left at potentially unsafe temperatures, and nowhere for staff to wash their hands.
NO MATTER THE SIZE OF A FOOD SERVICE BUSINESS – YOU MUST KEEP RECORDS -WHY NOT MAKE THAT EASY TO DO?
Following the damning inspection, Barbecue Nation has been given a one-star food hygiene rating, meaning major improvement is necessary. (Liverpool Echo credit)
Wouldn’t it be easier to use ISITCHECKED to keep records of your checks, food temperatures, cleaning, freezer checks etc, all of these can be completed in seconds and stored on the cloud where reports can be generated in seconds.
Any checklist can be created in seconds, saved as a template or use some of our global templates to create what you need for your business, ISITCHECKED, received high acclaim from Local Environmental Health inspectors due to its simplicity and accuracy of the system.
With a free 28 day trial, free App, unlimited checklists, unlimited scans, this system will defend your business when used correctly, for further information please contact us through the below links.
The level of service that you provide to your Client has to be the very best in today’s market. If you don’t provide the best service then very shortly that contract will be lost, quite rightly, to someone who provides the best service.
It is not just the level of cleaning, punctuality, dress code, efficiency that counts towards service, you need to provide documentation and supporting evidence to the Client so that they can also evidence the work completed by you as a contractor. That involves providing documentation.
ISITCHECKED provides real-time data at a reasonable price.
ISITCHECKED enables any facility management company to provide evidence at every part of the operation, from staff arriving, the cleaning or patrolling, the time that staff leave, this is in a real-time, cloud-based system. ANY checklist can be created, added to or changed, again in real-time and from anywhere in the world.
Time and date stamped
Full name of operator
Any checklist layout
Fully editable lists
Staff added and deleted as needed
PDF reports for email
QR Codes can be self printed reducing costs
Multi-sites – one bill
FACILITY MANAGEMENT COMPANY
If you are a facilities management provider, no matter what service you provide and want to provide the very best service to your Clients then ISITCHECKED is the system for you. Reasonable pricing and easily deployed, your staff are doing the job so they should be recording that.
ISITCHECKED reduces substantially the supervision level required at any site, you can see when they are on-site, see when certain tasks are performed remotely, it is estimated that the supervision cost savings exceed the system costs many times over.
Isitchecked is a unique due diligence system that will provide time, date, GPS stamped reports using just a QR code and a mobile phone with our FREE App loaded.
As a security provider the days of S.I.A security staff just turning up and standing at a front door are rapidly ending. So much more is expected from them from reporting incidents, logging defects, ensuring not only are the premises safe but making a record that will stand up to litigation and defend the venue.
ISITCHECKED – is a simple system that is extremely cost-effective, once deployed any additional checks required by the customer can be activated from anywhere in the world within minutes. No need to change anything on-site, each QR code can produce numerous reports dependent upon the Department that the person scanning is working for.
A member of security scanning a code may have 3-4 options, a Supervisor may have several different checks to be carried out, a cleaner may have a totally different set of checks to be carried out, all in real-time.
ISITCHECKED – will produce fantastic reports which can be emailed to your Client within minutes, both saving time, paperless – so environmentally beneficial. Best of all your Clients are protected by the evidence provided by the system.
There are now only TWO major insurance Companies in the UK that will consider taking on the hospitality industry customers, lots of brokers, some good others bad and some exceptional, those who were looked after by NDML through COVID will know how an exceptional broker does business!
Some may say that I am very cynical – but just as the major insurance Companies (NOT the Brokers) have just been forced to live up to what we, the customers expected, albeit fighting, screaming and protesting all the way to the High Court, lots of them have ‘dropped out’ of the Hospitality market!
So they were there to take the money, but as we all know getting money that is due back from any insurance claim is a total hassle, loss adjusters are involved and after say a Public Liability (P.L) claim involving a customer you can set aside maybe 4-5 hours to collate records, find the checklists etc etc. Only to be told weeks later – ‘Sorry, your evidence isn’t good enough, we are settling this as a nuisance claim’. You will then be asked to sign a cheque for the insurance excess and look forward to next years renewal jumping significantly.
If you have the slightest issue including any CCJ’s, claims history, losses of any kind, then they may not accepting your venue or the alternative – huge prices and excesses.
Moving forward your operation is going to have to be the very best that you can do, your due diligence will have to be top class, no more scribbled paper checklists that the names can not be read, that cannot be evidenced, that you cannot even remember 2 years down the line whose scribbled initials are on it. Without a good checklist, you have just lost the slip and trip case and all the above hell and damnation will follow!! I’ve been there!
Who is that that signed at 10am??
Back in 2016 we had been involved in a major nightclub in Liverpool (the heartland of claims) and had this very problem, so over the following 3 years, ISITCHECKED, was built from the ground up to create the best and most affordable due diligence solution available. We worked exclusively with NDML to design and build up a system that stands up in any Court and that works! We kept it easy to use and very cost-effective.
The system is
TIME, DATE and G.P.S TAGGED
EXCELLENT REPORT FILTERS
CREATES PDF REPORT TO EMAIL
REPORTS HAVE ADVANCE FILTERING
CHECKS CAN BE SCHEDULED – SO NOT MISSED
MULTIPLE VENUES or ONE SITE
ADAPTABLE TO ANY PAPER CHECKLIST
ANY TYPE OF BUSINESS
SAVES MANAGEMENT TIME – YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW IF A CHECKLIST HAS BEEN COMPLETED, JUST WHEN IT HASN’T!
Since we went live with ISITCHECKED, venues using the system correctly have NOT loss a single claim, they have year on year reduced insurance premiums (In most cases the saving on insurance was more than the system cost!).
Liverpool Nightclub capacity 2000 over three floors plus two sub floors, male and female toilets on each floor. Cleaner staff = 4, Security staff = 6, bar staff = 10, Management =2. Cleaning staff, Security and Management to check toilet facilities every 30 minutes throughout the 6 hour opening.
Paper checklist on a wall, a random staff member would sign the check off every 30 mins. THE REALITY – the cleaners would sign it at random times after the check at the 30-minute mark to appease Management, Security would not sign it as ‘someone else had checked’ same with Management. The checklist had 12 entries for each toilet per night.
A QR code placed near the outer door, Cleaners would scan the code and record the result, a few minutes later the toilets would be patrolled by security, they would scan the QR code, Management would come along and they would scan and enter a report. No one knew when it was last checked, so everyone recorded a check.
Instead of 12 checks badly recorded the venue had over 186 checks, such as the result of a constant patrol, some checks were less than 5 minutes apart, so when a slip/trip claim occurred evidence showed the toilet had been checked 12 times within 15 minutes either side of the alleged incident by four different staff, all independently reporting that the floor was clean and dry. THE CASE WAS STOPPED AFTER THE FIRST LETTER, EVIDENCE WAS PRODUCED WITHIN 5 MINUTES AND EMAILED TO THE LOSS ADJUSTER. Job done
DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE REFUSED INSURANCE OR UNDER REVIEW CONTACT US NOW
Our E-Door register is now live and operational. During the testing phase, all account holders will have access to this facility, soon we will issue a ‘register an interest’ form for all businesses and existing account holders will have the option to register an interest and receive an ‘opening offer’ for a substantial discount for a full system with additional features. For more information, existing account holders can contact us through their normal channel (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via the contact form.
This is going to be a really exciting product release that will benefit substantially bars, nightclubs and any venue where S.I.A security operates from.
Notice issued 13.40 GMT 31/01/2022
ISITCHECKED = APP UPDATE
Latest App update 1.8 is now live and fully operational, this app brings in an updated appearance with easier to read screen, also the ability to have the text box expand when entering in a report, this is limited to 270 characters. The app also has additional functionality which improves speed and use. Zero downtime has been experienced with this update.
Notice issued 11.15 GMT 10/07/2021
All the latest versions of our Free App now require access to location services, this is to improve the security of the product and to avoid fraud, the App WILL NOT be permitted to conduct scans without the location/GPS enabled.
This ONLY needs to be enabled for the time you are using the App, we are not interested in collecting any data from you when you are not using our product, we don’t use your information for any other uses (advertising, selling information) this is embedded in the root of our beliefs
Notice issued 12.15 07/07/2021
Users who are using the ANDROID App should go to the Play store and look for ISITCHECKED 2 FREE APP
Changes – You will have to select your location services to ON for this App, we are not interested in ‘tracking’ you and only require it to be on whilst you are using the app. By doing this it provides security and confirmation that the scans were carried out correctly. The new App has had a facelift and security features improved so please enjoy the free upgrade.
ISITCHECKED – Further upgrade at server level will take place on THURSDAY 8TH JULY 2021 between 07.00GMT and 10.00GMT – the level of disruption should last less than 2-3 minutes, no data will be lost and the upgrade will increase speed, increase security and usability at the server level
Notice issued 13.50 11/06/2021
Isitchecked will be migrated with significant back end upgrades on MONDAY 14th June 2021 between 07.00 and 10.00am. Some options may not work for a few minutes during this time as happens, but the improvements will be worth the short delay.
We Will also be migrating to a new server at the same time, a short interruption may take place but nothing more than a few minutes.
Now fully active with payment option available, this needs to be requested by the venue admin the standard default setting = payment option ON