single staffing in betting shops in england

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Single staffing in betting shops in england

The hon. Gentleman and I both have experience of working in betting shops, and in my case often alone. Many of them are independent shops, which is my background and my biggest concern. Putting too many requirements on independent betting shops might make them unviable, and we could end up not with single-manned betting shops but with no betting shops and nobody in work. I have the same background as the hon.

I also worked in single-staffed independent betting shops. We need seriously to consider a voluntary code and see how it runs out. If a voluntary code does not work, we can revisit it and have another discussion at another time. My hon. Friend is making a very good speech.

What would he say to a constituent of mine who works in an independent bookmakers and who shall remain anonymous? Does my hon. Friend feel that that practice should be addressed by the bookmaking industry and should not be allowed, particularly in the independent sector? I agree with my hon. I used to cash up at night, as I am sure the hon. Member for Shipley did. Sometimes on a Saturday I walked on the street with thousands of pounds in my pocket.

Someone could have followed me from the betting shop as I walked to the post office to cash in. Philip Davies is nodding, and perhaps we are united on wanting to address the issue. My constituent is a young female, so does my hon. After I left the betting shop, I worked in a bank. Compared with the level of security that we had at the betting shop, the Securicor van would turn up at the bank and the staff would be wearing armour and helmets to take the money away.

The bank had security measures in place, which the betting industry needs to consider. An interesting idea is that the marketplace manager, who looks after three or four shops, should take the takings and have security measures in place. A lot of people do not realise that the working day in a betting shop does not end when the last race goes off.

Staff still have half an hour in which to cash up and settle outstanding bets. If there is any other sport going on, they have to settle that before going out the door. A relief manager, as I was at one point, has to open the shop for the day so that everything is clear when the manager comes in. Friend is right that the industry needs to consider whether there should be more security measures, which again should be included in a voluntary code. Yesterday, I discussed the betting safety charter with Ladbrokes.

Following our meeting, I plan to send a letter to the chief executives to put the betting safety charter into action. I am pleased that Ladbrokes is open to the idea of such a charter. I hope that bookmakers will respond positively and commit to the idea of a national charter so that workers can feel safe in their place of work.

I would like to see betting industry figures and Ministers sit round the table to discuss ways to protect shop workers and to ensure that staff can properly address issues such as problem gambling and antisocial behaviour. I know the Minister well from our time serving together on the Select Committee on Justice.

She takes a level-headed view of things and works collaboratively. I hope she lets us know whether she will take up my round-table idea and meet figures from leading bookmakers to investigate the matter further. The betting industry is one of the great business success stories, but like all industries there is much to improve. I hope that an innovative and creative approach, which characterises the industry, is used properly to address the problems that shop staff face on a day-to-day basis.

It is a pleasure, Mr Howarth, to serve under your chairmanship. I congratulate Chris Evans on securing this important debate; he speaks from a position of great experience on these issues. I acknowledge the important and thoughtful interventions made by my hon. Members have made a number of points about single staffing in betting shops. I should like to set out clearly what controls are already in place and what the Government are doing in this area. I absolutely agree that betting shops should be sufficiently staffed to ensure that the licensing objectives of the Gambling Act are upheld, and I confirm that local authorities already have powers to ensure that this is the case.

The Gambling Act allows local authorities to attach conditions to betting shop premises licences where there are local concerns, including the compulsory use of CCTV , as mentioned by the hon. Member for Islwyn. There is evidence that local authorities are using these powers to good effect.

The London borough of Newham used these powers in November , when it imposed a number of licence conditions on a betting shop because of concerns that it attracted crime, disorder and underage gambling. The conditions include a requirement to have a minimum of two members of staff on duty throughout the whole day. Westminster city council has been proactive in using powers under the Gambling Act. Westminster council requires betting shops to operate no pre-planned single staffing after 8 pm and to ensure there are a minimum of two staff members after 10 pm.

The examples I have provided show that we do not need new statutory regulations on businesses to enforce minimum staffing levels. It is right that local authorities, which know these areas best, in conjunction with businesses, are responsible for setting appropriate minimum staffing levels, depending on local circumstances. Staff safety was mentioned. The Government have made it clear that staff and customer safety in any workplace is of paramount importance. Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of their staff.

This applies to the betting industry as much as to anyone else. The betting industry has taken steps to enhance staff safety in recent years. In , the betting industry formed the Safe Bet Alliance, mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley, to tackle instances of crime against staff, customers and betting operators. Those standards were developed in collaboration with the industry, police and local authorities.

Although the Safe Bet Alliance was launched in London, all those standards have been adopted by the largest betting operators, which means that the vast majority of betting premises in England, Scotland and Wales are covered by those principles.

Every employer must consider workplace risks to their employees. I expect all bookmakers to properly assess the appropriateness of single staffing as part of their business operations. Member for Islwyn mentioned support for a national charter. The industry is implementing its social responsibility code, which includes points on staff safety, from March. The principles of any charter could perhaps be adopted in the existing code. There is certainly room for further discussions on that.

We have heard that single staffing limits the ability of staff to intervene when customers experience problems. It is essential that all gambling operators, not just betting shops, are able to provide support to customers who appear to be having difficulty. Those policies must include training for all staff on their respective responsibilities and how and when any customer intervention should occur.

Those procedures must be adhered to as a minimum requirement by gambling operators. The Gambling Commission can take action, up to and including licence revocation, if there is evidence that a betting shop is failing or falling short of its obligations. In conclusion, the safety of betting shop employees and customers is of paramount importance.

Local authorities already have powers to impose licence conditions on betting shops to ensure that this is the case. It is right that these powers remain at local level. Built by mySociety. We provide commercial services through our wholly owned subsidiary SocietyWorks Ltd Search TheyWorkForYou. Sign in Join Contact. All Westminster Hall debates on 5 Feb It's part of everyday life. You just go on your phone. Is there serious harm in the normalisation of gambling?

T he Association of British Bookmakers said lone-staffing only occurred at quiet times and after a risk assessment. It warned up to 4, of the 8, shops could close with 21, jobs at risk over the next three years following a Government cap on winnings from Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.

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Ultimately, employees are being asked to work as both cashier and manager at the same time, and often they are not paid any extra for working what are in effect two jobs. Following a meeting with Ladbrokes yesterday, I was pleased to hear that such workers receive a supplement of 30p an hour, which is a promising move in the right direction. We often talk about problem gambling and I am aware of some good self-exclusion schemes from bookmakers such as William Hill and Ladbrokes.

The problem is that staff cannot enforce such schemes and combat problem gambling if they are working alone, which has been highlighted by those working in the industry. One bookmaker spoke to his union, Community, about the problems that single staffing causes when trying to deal with problem gambling. He said:. As we often lone work, I have been unable to interact with these customers. I have been in the betting industry for over 30 years, and over the past 5 years I have seen more and more customers with gambling problems.

Lone working makes these issues hard to deal with. Lone-working policies are preventing staff from performing the duties that their employers expect of them. Most worrying is the way in which single staffing can make betting shop staff vulnerable to incidents of violence.

I commend the hon. Gentleman, who is knowledgeable about such matters and is always worth listening to. On safety, does he agree that the Safe Bet Alliance, which has been set up to conduct a risk assessment of single manning, has been praised by the police for reducing levels of crime and that, under the scheme, single manning is used only after a risk assessment that is endorsed by the police and others?

I think that the hon. Gentleman and I are the only two Members who have worked in bookmakers and who actually know what it is like on the coalface— to use a Welsh term. He is right about the Safe Bet Alliance, and I spoke extensively with William Hill and Ladbrokes, both of which are signed up, before this debate.

I will develop that point later in my speech. I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention and I am glad that someone else with betting shop experience is here today. If it is true that violence in betting shops is increasing, bookmakers and Ministers have a responsibility to act to protect staff at work. I want to draw attention to several cases that give an indication of the level of violence to which betting shop staff can be vulnerable when working alone.

Community recently asked its members to provide their stories and experiences of single manning and I have heard further stories that indicate the risks of working alone. One betting shop worker was fortunate to escape uninjured after his store was robbed while he was single manning.

I had spoken with him and he pretended that there was something wrong with the machine. I had to go out from behind the counter to deal with it and he came up behind me with a hammer. Thankfully, I was not physically hurt but following the robbery I could not return to work for over a month. Such stories demonstrate the need for a commitment on the part of the betting industry to tackle the issues caused by single staffing and lone working.

I want CCTV to be compulsory, so that staff can feel secure in the knowledge that what goes on in a shop is properly monitored, and I am pleased that some steps are being taken in such areas. Community has told me that it has had more engagement with firms like Betfred in recent months and is holding meetings to discuss its current restructuring. I also wrote to William Hill to ask what measures it was taking to combat this problem.

It is trialling a system in its shops that will ensure that any shop policy is dictated by how best to protect shop staff. It tells me that shops designated as high risk under their security risk assessment process, as mentioned by Philip Davies , were excluded from the recent lone-working trial. William Hill has assured me that it has also undertaken a shop-by-shop risk assessment. Of particular importance is the fact that it has consulted heavily with staff. There are also some fantastic campaigns that are working to draw attention to the problems caused by lone working.

Campaigns such as that are extremely important if we are to get the betting industry to respond positively to the problems. As I mentioned, yesterday I met representatives of Ladbrokes, who assured me that they are working on ways to improve their situation such as implementing a code of practice, with the aim that it should be in place by 1 March. I was also informed of the new till technology that it is trying to set up whereby if tills become inactive over a certain time, an alarm is sent to the security office who will be alerted to the situation.

The code of practice is intended to help gamblers by providing alerts. I was pleased to hear of that and wish that such practice was in place right across the industry. Does the hon. Gentleman think that the way forward is for the issue to be dealt with on an industry basis through a voluntary code of conduct, rather than through Government legislation?

That is the nub of my speech. We need to start with a voluntary code and monitor the situation. If it is working, it should be rolled out across the industry. If it is not working, we need to revisit the matter with legislation.

I am asking for a common-sense solution to sometimes volatile situations. I want compulsory double-locking on doors, compulsory CCTV and compulsory panic alarms, so that if people are threatened, they can hit the alarm and help will come. There is something else in which I would be interested. The Ladbrokes policy is always to send someone out when a panic alarm goes off, even if it is a false alarm, just to be sure—someone might have been hit, or they might be on the floor and cannot be seen, or something like that.

The hon. Gentleman and I both have experience of working in betting shops, and in my case often alone. Many of them are independent shops, which is my background and my biggest concern. Putting too many requirements on independent betting shops might make them unviable, and we could end up not with single-manned betting shops but with no betting shops and nobody in work.

I have the same background as the hon. I also worked in single-staffed independent betting shops. We need seriously to consider a voluntary code and see how it runs out. If a voluntary code does not work, we can revisit it and have another discussion at another time. My hon. Friend is making a very good speech. What would he say to a constituent of mine who works in an independent bookmakers and who shall remain anonymous? Does my hon. Friend feel that that practice should be addressed by the bookmaking industry and should not be allowed, particularly in the independent sector?

I agree with my hon. I used to cash up at night, as I am sure the hon. Member for Shipley did. Sometimes on a Saturday I walked on the street with thousands of pounds in my pocket. Someone could have followed me from the betting shop as I walked to the post office to cash in. Philip Davies is nodding, and perhaps we are united on wanting to address the issue. My constituent is a young female, so does my hon. After I left the betting shop, I worked in a bank.

Compared with the level of security that we had at the betting shop, the Securicor van would turn up at the bank and the staff would be wearing armour and helmets to take the money away. The bank had security measures in place, which the betting industry needs to consider. An interesting idea is that the marketplace manager, who looks after three or four shops, should take the takings and have security measures in place.

A lot of people do not realise that the working day in a betting shop does not end when the last race goes off. Staff still have half an hour in which to cash up and settle outstanding bets. If there is any other sport going on, they have to settle that before going out the door.

A relief manager, as I was at one point, has to open the shop for the day so that everything is clear when the manager comes in. Friend is right that the industry needs to consider whether there should be more security measures, which again should be included in a voluntary code. Yesterday, I discussed the betting safety charter with Ladbrokes. Following our meeting, I plan to send a letter to the chief executives to put the betting safety charter into action. Miliband would curb gaming machines.

Theft from man, 77, at bookmakers. Two armed robberies at bookmakers. He has called for the charter in a debate at Westminster on Wednesday. Related Topics. UK Parliament. More on this story. Published 1 February Published 20 December Published 22 September

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Working In A Betting Shop

I will develop that point. Most worrying is the way to send a letter to I could not return to. It tells me that shops betting industry for over 30 their security risk assessment process, people are threatened, they can hit the alarm and help use a Welsh term. The work force is mainly called on the UK Government of betting shop blaine bettinger x dna inheritance chart had workplace after having children, or students, who need flexible or person behind the counter: me betting shops. On safety, does he agree that the Safe Bet Alliance, a panic alarm goes off, even if it is a of single manning, has been sure-someone might have been hit, or they might be on that, under the scheme, single seen, or something like that. I was pleased to hear sport going on, they have it was taking to combat right across the industry. Gentleman for his intervention and extremely important if we are I walked to the post out the door. Lone-working policies are preventing staff and he pretended that there their employers expect of them. A lot of people do industry needs to consider whether by losing money that they measures, which again should be more and more customers with. I left the betting industry campaigns that are working to increasing, bookmakers and Ministers have of single staffing had ended.

Hansard record of the item 'Betting Shops (Single Staffing)' on Wednesday 5 February From to , the number of betting shop staff fell from 60, to 54, Most worrying is the way in which single staffing can make betting shop which means that the vast majority of betting premises in England. Single-manning or lone working was rolled out to all Ladbrokes crime in betting shops in Britain increased by 9% between and