Every area of the UK will face its own individual problems. Councils are responsible for granting and reviewing licenses, including deciding which security measures must be mandatorily put in place. This can sometimes make the industry feel a little siloed.
However, as with all communities, the issues facing night-time venues are generally duplicated in areas across the country. And the more venues communicate and share strategies with one another, the more unified the industry becomes.
Through the NTIA, local areas can feed into the bigger picture. They create industry-wide solutions by facilitating ongoing discussions with the government and other stakeholders. If the relevant authorities, including stakeholders within Business Improvement Districts, worked together with night-time venues, transforming the industry suddenly looks so much more manageable.
Inclusion, equality and diversity
Equality and diversity isn’t something just venue owners should be aware of. It should be filtered down to all members of staff working in the night-time industry.
There have been numerous news reports regarding inequality in the night-time industry, with many accusations of staff discriminating based on protected characteristics. Not allowing a group of people into a venue can be necessary to follow health and safety regulations – but only banning groups of males is a definite no-no. Cheaper entry for one gender or refusing entry because there are too many men or women in the venue is discrimination, and it’s as simple as that. Treating anyone less favourably because of a protected characteristic is unlawful under the 2010 Equality Act.
Perhaps one of the most recent prolific cases is that of a woman who was denied entry for refusing to take her hijab off. The door staff argued that they were required by law to have full visibility of someone’s face, both for accurate ID and CCTV clarity. The scenario highlights the need for additional training to protect both staff and customers.
The NTIA Equality and Diversity initiative includes developing a training programme for the industry in collaboration with expert consultants. As the association understand each locality has its own individual issues relating to inclusion, it will launch a national tour to raise awareness.
Equality and diversity is an issue within the industry too. 34% of BAME workers are night-time workers. Yet according to the Intergenerational Foundation 96% of councillors in England are white, with an average age of 60. It’s vitally important that a more diverse group of individuals who understand the value of the night-time economy have their voices heard.
It’s heartening to see a rise in inclusive venues, with many night-time venues working on improving accessibility by implementing:
- Fully accessible entrances and access to all floors/areas
- Gender neutral toilets
- Changing Places toilets
- Low-level counters and bars
- Accessible viewing platforms (currently just one in five venues has a viewing platform)
- Free tickets for carers or assistants
- A welcoming attitude for assistance dogs
- Captioning gigs using a screen displaying band names, song titles and lyrics
- Quiet spaces away from the main gig area
According to the State of Access Report, 60% of disabled music fans decide not to attend events because they can’t find access to information online. So it’s particularly important to share access information on your venue’s website and make sure all staff are aware of accessible features.