Managing accreditation for events

Event accreditation determines venue access privileges, accurate identification and verification, and limits entry to the venue for capacity reasons.

The accreditation process

The event accreditation process provides major stakeholders, participants, media and guests with their first impressions of an event. From when they first apply for their accreditation pass, to when they present their pass at the event, the process has a significant bearing on how they will judge the professionalism and conduct of the event.

Accreditation processes may also be used to help with the security screening of employees, volunteers, contractors and other parties that require venue access.

The main factors driving major event accreditation systems are:

  • identification and screening
  • security
  • safety
  • access control
  • effective working environments.

Processing accreditation

Planning for accreditation processing is an important part of receiving participants at the event. The following factors all play a role in determining the best solution for speedy processing of accreditees while maintaining maximum efficiency:

  • space planning
  • queuing systems
  • computer workstations
  • waiting areas and signage.

Accreditation zones

Accreditation zoning must ensure that access is strictly controlled to priority security locations such as dressing rooms, the field of play at sports events, VIP areas and media and broadcast areas.

You need to plan and clearly map out accreditation zones at the venue. Assign accreditation zones to areas such as:

  • media
  • broadcast
  • event participants and officials (field of play/tunnels/changing rooms)
  • operational
  • public
  • VIP
  • hospitality.

Each accreditation zone should have clearly marked separate access points.

The accreditation system

A successful accreditation system will work on several levels:

  • gathering and storing personal information about each accreditee
  • granting appropriate access rights and privileges to every applicant
  • generating control, management and authorisation reports by any number of search criteria
  • generating personalised correspondence for groups or individuals
  • producing passes that display a variety of personalised information.

You should also use accreditation databases to provide a detailed analysis of participant information for a range of uses, including control and marketing.

Accreditation passes

Accreditation passes:

  • must be clear and concise
  • must include all appropriate information so that security can easily identify the access rights of an individual
  • must be big enough so they can be clearly read at all times of the day and night and during all weather conditions (approximately A6 size)
  • should include appropriate security measures to make them extremely difficult to forge.

Access control

No accreditation system succeeds unless the security staff understand its objectives. The most sophisticated pass system is only as good as the control mechanism on the access door, and this is usually a person.

Simplicity is the key:

  • Simple manual checks are sufficient for the vast majority of events.
  • Stewards must be trained on the overall accreditation and security access control system, and specifically the relevant information on each pass.
  • In most instances this should be no more complex than:
    • verifying personal details, such as a photograph, against the bearer
    • checking the correct access privilege has been granted.

Accredited access can help prevent congestion problems:

  • Accreditees who understand their access rights and limitations are less likely to attempt to enter restricted sites.
  • Stewards who know exactly what to look for can quickly and politely deal with each accreditee, even when they're under pressure.