General guidance - event planning

Legal requirements

As an event organiser you are legally obliged to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of people working at and attending your event in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

What can go wrong with an event?

Below are some examples of what can go wrong with an event if there are no robust and well thought out plans in place. These examples usually occur due to lack of appropriate and competent event management.

  • Lack of clear roles and responsibilities
  • Event planning tasks become overwhelming
  • Insufficient time allowed for planning
  • Refusal of event licence
  • Major or serious incident occurs
  • Public disorder, fighting etc due to poor crowd management or lack of stewarding
  • Crushing due to poor management of high density areas
  • Lack of or no contingency planning
  • Adverse weather
  • Reckless or illegal parking due to lack of traffic management
  • Food poisoning
  • Lack of information from traders, for example electrical requirements, access to water and vehicle details
  • Fire
  • Electric shock
  • Flood
  • Lack of facilities, for example first aid, toilets, food and drink outlets
  • Insufficient infrastructure, for example fencing, barrier, waste bins
  • Complaints from residents

Risk assessment

Irrespective of how small the event is, risk assessment is a key simple but structured way to plan what you are going to do to minimise the chances of anybody getting hurt. It is about identifying potential hazards and the recording of sensible measures to control the risks significant to your event.

Why do I need one?

Reasons include contractual and/or insurance requirements, a duty of care, legal obligations (a need to meet reasonable standard of care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others). The process of risk assessment helps fulfil these obligations.

There is no fixed format or content for assessments.  Risk assessments need to be appropriate to the risks and the circumstances of the event.

Risk assessment needs to be carried out on the proposed activities, attractions or situations and control measures put in place for those risks which present a foreseeable and significant risk of injury.  It is important that the person carrying out the risk assessment has a good understanding of the proposed event and location, so they have a good idea of what could go wrong.  The assessment should be carried out by someone who has the necessary ability, knowledge or skill to ensure the process is completed successfully.

Acts of terrorism and Covid-19 (if applicable) should be considered as part of your risk assessment.

How do I do one?

In summary the risk assessment process is simple. There are no fixed rules on how a risk assessment should be carried out, but there are a few general principles that should be followed.

Five steps to risk assessment can be followed to ensure that your risk assessment is carried out correctly, these five steps are:

  1. Identify the hazards (What could go wrong? Is there something foreseeable (predictable) that can cause significant harm?)
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how (How great is the chance that someone will be harmed by the hazard?)
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures. (Any remaining risk after all reasonable controls are in place is low enough to be acceptable)
  4. Record your findings and implement them
  5. Review your assessment and update if necessary. Record all updates and changes.

Step 1: Identify the Hazards

In order to identify hazards you need to understand the difference between a ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’. A hazard is ‘something with the potential to cause harm’ and a risk is ‘the likelihood of that potential harm being realised’.

Hazards can be identified by using a number of different techniques such as walking around the event site to assess hazards and vulnerabilities. You may wish to consider asking your staff to contribute in this process.

Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how

Once you have identified a number of hazards you need to understand who might be harmed and how, such as ‘people attending your event’, ‘members of the public’, ‘staff’, ‘performers’.

Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures

After ‘identifying the hazards’ and ‘deciding who might be harmed and how’ you are then required to protect the people from harm. The hazards can either be removed completely or the risks controlled so that the injury is unlikely.

Step 4: Record your findings

Your findings should be written down. It’s a legal requirement where there are 5 or more employees; and by recording the findings it shows that you have identified the hazards, decided who could be harmed and how, and also shows how you plan to eliminate the risks and hazards.

Step 5: Review your assessment and update as and when necessary

You should never forget that few places stay the same and as a result this risk assessment should be reviewed and updated as necessary.

Risk Assessment in practice

Imagine you plan to run an event with a few stalls and plan to use gazebos.  Hazard – like all temporary structures, gazebos are susceptible to wind and in the slightest breeze unsecured gazebos are very likely to take to the air! There is a likely risk of serious injury to the public, volunteers etc if hit by the metal frame!  How to control this?  You plan to introduce measures to manage the risk or reduce the risk of them blowing away. You refer to any manufacturer’s guidance on the wind rating of the gazebo and ensure they are staked and tethered or adequately weighted down.  You record this risk assessment and communicate it to all concerned and make sure everything gets done.

Often risk assessments are recorded in a grid format which includes what the hazards are and what you will do to avoid (control) them. A sample of a grid format is available on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Insurance requirements


As an event organiser you will be inviting others onto the site and may also be contracting suppliers, employing staff, coordinating volunteers, hiring and renting property.  Although every effort should be made to minimise the likelihood there is always the chance that something could go wrong; therefore, arranging your own appropriate insurance cover is vital.

From an insurance perspective there are three key areas of risk associated to events: liabilities, property damage, and cancellation and disruption.  The risks associated to putting on a relatively small event will differ and there will be areas of unique need and concerns which your event insurance should reflect.

Proof of Public Liability Insurance (PLI)

For an event permit to be issued event organisers are required to have their own public liability insurance (minimum level of indemnity of £5m, based on minimum industry standards). Proof of PLI must be provided by event organisers prior to the event.

While this may seem like a burden, accidents can occur in any scenario.  Event organisers with a public liability insurance policy in place can rest relatively easy in the knowledge that their insurance policy has them covered say to compensate a member of the public if they were to suffer an injury or damage property at your event. Without this insurance event organisers could potentially be held personally responsible for a claim (compensation and legal fees).

Beware policy exclusions – what is not insured

To ensure the best protection possible event organiser should aim to ensure that elements are not excluded. Where any high risk elements “dangerous activities” are excluded, for example ‘bouncy castles’, the event organiser must provide evidence that the supplier and operator of the ‘dangerous activity’ has their own equivalent PLI and any associated copies of test certificates and risk assessments.

Do others need their own insurance?

Irrespective of the above, all those involved in an event should be suitably and adequately insured for the role they are undertaking, whether they are event organisers, volunteers, suppliers, performers or exhibitors. In the case of suppliers, event organisers should ensure that they have suitable and adequate insurance and should obtain copies of their policy and should check that it is current before contracting them or allowing them onto the event site. Keep an eye on renewal dates to ensure they do not lapse during the event period.

Responsibilities of the event organiser

Ownership of the event and liability for its patrons rests with the event organiser. Where the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) is given reasonable opportunity, the group (where appropriate) can review your plans and offer comments, observations, suggestions and practical advice. See Safety Advisory Group for more details.

It is good practice to plan your event in good time - 6 months in advance and longer in the case of complex or very large events.

Guidance to help organisers can be found in useful reference material. The majority of organised events held in public places, as a minimum, require permission from the Council (as the land owner); the Council's application process helps to ensure a reasonable and proportionate means of quality control is in place in terms of safety.

In general terms, event organisers have a duty to:

  • plan and exercise overall control of the event to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to maintain the safety of people involved with or affected by the event (throughout its duration)
  • obtain all necessary licenses, authorisations and permissions prior to the event
  • assess the suitability of the venue
  • plan the site layout to minimise risk and vulnerability, for example segregate pedestrians and vehicles, physically exclude traffic
  • prepare a site plan (see specific section)
  • establish emergency routes or rendezvous points as appropriate
  • consult as necessary with key stakeholders, such as landowners, the Council, local emergency services, public transport, neighbouring businesses and local residents
  • demonstrate they have adequate resources, including funding, to plan and deliver the event

Know the event

This may seem obvious, but it is essential you understand and demonstrate within your plans what the event is and what is involved in it.  Knowing the event means having a detailed grasp on a range of factors, each of which should influence how the event is planned and how you need to allocate time and resources:

  • What is being organised and what is involved in terms of entertainment and infrastructure?
  • Where is it taking place and how will the characteristics of the site and its location affect the event?
  • When does the event take place and what impact will the time of year have on the site and/or activities?

Performer and audience profile

These can have both a positive and negative effect. Performers can influence the numbers attending, the age and mix of the audience.  Performers can also have a negative (disruptive) or positive influence on crowd behaviour and movement.  Most people attend events for entertainment and enjoyment. Audience profile is influenced by the nature of the event and its attractions and performances which in turn need to be reflected in the planning, site design, management and crowd management of and for the event.

For example, the necessary planning and other required measures for an audience in family groups attending a community gala would differ significantly from one which features a performer who attracts a predominantly young audience in large numbers.

Reasonable and proportionate

The aim throughout the planning for an event should be to ensure that the level of detail within the plans are proportionate to the scale and nature of the event and to the degree of risk. The amount of time that is needed for planning will vary considerably depending on personal experience and the scale and nature of what is being planned. For large and more complex events a year beforehand is not too early a start.

Management arrangements

Whatever the scale of the event, decide who within your group is responsible for what.

Some important things to consider include as part of your planning:

The location (venue or site)

  • The choice of location will determine what specific hazards are likely to be present and inform decision-making about risk and event management on a range of issues
  • Proximity of noise-sensitive premises

Venue capacity (safe crowd density - people per square metre)

  • The available space, the square meterage available for people (the audience).  This calculation considers anticipated crowd densities and any reduction in space where attendees are excluded, for example for event infrastructure and temporary structures.
  • This calculation would also take into consideration the number and size of exits through any boundaries and the sight lines for the audience to view any entertainment.
  • The number and size of exits and circulation capacity are limiting factors in capacity calculations and must be included in the risk assessment and contingency planning and plans for moving people in an emergency or threat situation.

Event activities

  • The type of activities will determine the risks involved, for instance, health and safety

Audience/participant profile

  • The activity will determine the type of people who attend and their expectations of the event
  • Establishing an audience/participant profile will lead to predictions regarding anticipated behaviour and indicate where any particular risks may arise     
  • The audience/participant profile will inform decisions on various issues, including stewarding     
  • The audience/participant profile will inform how people will travel and give some indication of how far in advance they will arrive.

Length and timing of event

  • Consider how long the event will last, plus the time of day and time of year
  • How long the event will last will have specific bearing if you are closing a road or a car park


  • Ground conditions
  • Access to and around the site may require careful planning to reduce the likelihood of overcrowding
  • Onsite traffic and pedestrian routes

Event Management Plans

For events of a relatively simple nature a copy of the risk assessment, submitted with the event application, may be all that is required.  However, as the scale and complexity of an event increases submission of an event management plan is required.

Event management plans should cover all the safety and organisational aspects of an event. The bigger the event and the riskier the activities, the more detailed the plan should be.  Event management plans should be written in conjunction with the risk assessment.

When developing an event management plan, it is important not to overlook that it is a tool intended to assist the team who are directly involved with delivering the event; it should be written with that intended audience in mind.

Key components of an event management plan are likely to include:

  • Version control - a process of naming and distinguishing between a series of draft documents which lead to a final (or approved) version, which in turn may be subject to further amendments.
  • Outline of the event – date, location, start and finish time, type of activity or event
  • Audience profile – who is expected to come and what implications this might have for safety management, such as arrival, circulation and exit profiles, expected crowd densities and the numbers and types of stewards
  • Management outline – details of the key management structure, their duties and contact details
  • Details of the event including venue design, structures, capacity, duration, food, toilets, refuse, water, special effects, access and exits, music levels etc.
  • On-site transport management plan detailing the parking arrangements
  • Traffic management plan (see later section)
  • A contingency plan including a major incident plan
  • Summary of key risk assessments and findings
  • A site plan highlighting all access points, parking areas, on site infrastructure, audience areas, emergency access routes etc

It is not unusual for several revisions of an event management plan to be produced. However as there will be a need to be reaching the final draft stage 12 weeks prior to the event, it is important to start developing your plan in ample time ready for timely submission to the Safety Advisory Group.

To assist event organisers with the development of their own event management plan a template is available to download (Word document).

First Aid (medical assurance)

The event organiser should:

  • Ensure an appropriate level of dedicated first-aid provision is available to all those attending or involved in delivering the event. No event should run with less than 2 appropriately qualified first aiders.
  • Ensure when engaging a first-aid provider that they are reliable and are registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
  • Aim to minimise the effects of the event on the statutory healthcare services, by providing appropriate care on site.
  • Consider ambulance access

Accommodation for First Aid

Think carefully about where first-aiders will be accommodated, for example their post should not be shared with ‘found/missing’ children (children shouldn’t be forced to witness someone needing treatment and those being treated should be offered an appropriate degree of privacy).

Depending on the scale of the event and the risks involved first-aid at work certificates may not be an appropriate qualification as the holder may not have appropriate experience.

To determine the recommended first aid and medical provision for your event please complete the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Medical Assessment Form (PDF).

Site plan

A site plan must be included within the event management plan or as an appendix. Ensure that plans are clear and are marked with the following information, as relevant, for example:

  • Exits and entrances
  • Main Roads
  • Car Parks
  • Emergency access routes
  • Emergency Services Rendezvous Points
  • Evacuation routes
  • Information points
  • Toilets
  • Performance areas
  • Stages
  • Arenas
  • Main attractions
  • Funfair rides
  • Catering concessions
  • Bars
  • Water
  • First-aid points
  • Welfare points
  • Lost peoples meeting point
  • Lost children’s facility
  • Children’s play facilities
  • Facilities for Disabled people

Missing and Found Children (Safeguarding Children and Young People)

Safeguarding is a term which is broader than ‘child protection’ and relates to action taken to promote the welfare of children/young people and protect them from harm. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.

If children are likely to attend your event, you should obtain a DBS check for all staff working supervised or unsupervised, with either young children or vulnerable adults.  As a minimum there should be a male and female adult (non-related) in attendance.

Missing and Found Children 

At any event attended by children, there is the potential for children to become separated from their parents or responsible adult.  Event organisers are encouraged to consider how children will be protected during the event, and to the safe management of missing and found children.

You should provide a staffed ‘Missing and Found Children Point’ throughout your event and include a policy for the management of ‘Missing and Found Children’ within your event management plan. In order to safeguard the welfare of a found child and to protect staff. We suggest you research example policies and protocols to assist you in your planning.

Disclosure and Barring Service

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) replaces the former Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). DBS is a one stop shop for organisations checking the criminal record of someone applying for certain roles, for example in healthcare or childcare.

Standard DBS checks show details of spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings held on police records.

If you or your staff will be in direct contact with children or vulnerable adults at your event we recommend that you complete a disclosure application form.

For further information regarding DBS or to complete an application form, visit


what3words is a free mobile tool making events safer and easier to plan, manage and navigate; a global addressing system that makes it simple to communicate exact locations.  Every 3m square in the world has been given a unique combination of three words: a what3words address.  For example ///petal.income.enjoy is the what3words address for the main entrance into City Hall, Bradford.

what3words is used by most UK emergency services.

What3words for effective Event Management:

  • Helps with pre-site setup and provides accurate navigation for deliveries
  • Allows accurate and consistent communication of location between staff and organisations at the event
  • Enables accurate incident reporting
  • Improves security services and emergency services response times, helping to ensure public safety
  • Delivers an enhanced attendee experience by making it easy to find specific venues and points of interest within the event

Listing What3words addresses for your event

The easiest way for event organisers to find the relevant what3words addresses for their event is via the what3words free app or mapsite.

 Event locations are easier to find with what3words addresses, including:

  • public entrances and exits
  • accessible entrances and exits
  • traders (food stalls, retail outlets and merchandise booths)
  • emergency assembly points and CT response
  • key event attractions, such as rides, stages, tents, venues
  • first aid points

Once you have found the list of what3words addresses for your event, simply add them to the relevant pages on your event website and social media channels.

Providing food and drink

Irrespective of the size of the event, food supplied, sold or provided at charity or community events, such as street parties, fetes or fundraisers, must comply with the requirements of The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

Event organisers must give due consideration to the safe production of food and must satisfy themselves that those attending the event who are providing food will comply with the requirements of food hygiene legislation.  If in doubt about what arrangements will be sufficient, the Event Organiser should liaise with the Council's Environmental Health department.

Bradford Council Environmental Protection Team

Phone: 01274 437766


Environmental Health may not attend your outdoor event but do expect that all businesses attending will comply with the food hygiene legislation and the allergen rules.

Drinks and beverages must not be served in glass.

Alternatives to ‘single use plastic’ should be encouraged, for example wooden cutlery, wooden drinks stirrers, heavier duty plastic carrying a deposit, paper or card food containers.

The use of any LPG equipment should be done in accordance with HSE guidance.

All relevant paperwork should be submitted to the event organiser in advance of the event and be available upon request by an Environmental Health Officer.

For further guidance on food safety it is recommended event organisers visit the following websites:

Environment and sustainability

Event Organisers must, at all times, have regard for environmental concerns. This may include whether the venue is suitable for the type of event proposed. Attention must be given to the concerns of local residents in terms of noise and litter.

It is the responsibility of the Event Organiser to ensure that the event site is left in the same condition as it was before the event. If the ground is damaged, you may be charged by the landowner for reinstatement.

You must have a cleansing plan in place to ensure the correct disposal of rubbish, this can include supplying extra bins and bin bags, ensuring any caterers dispose of their own waste and if you have large numbers of people at your event you may need to contact a commercial waste management company. Consideration should also be given to recycling of waste materials wherever possible.

Some environmental considerations for your event could include:

  • Inclusion of traders offering fair trade and ethical products.
  • Encouragement to traders to use biodegradable products.
  • Emphasis on public transport including bus and rail and lift sharing
  • Park and Ride – minimising the impact of traffic.
  • Use of LED low carbon lighting.
  • Separation of audience waste.
  • On site recycle stations.
  • Waste food composting.
  • Self-stop compression taps on water supplies.
  • ‘Do not waste water’ signage.
  • Consideration of local supply chain in procurement of suppliers.
  • Use of recycled paper in all publicity material.
  • Use of portable roadway or ground protection to minimise damage of land caused by vehicle movement on site.
  • Management of noise levels during the event to minimise the impact of noise as a pollutant.

Gazebos, bouncy castles and marquees (temporary structures)

Temporary structures must be properly anchored!

The failure of any temporary structure, no matter how small the structure, can have devastating effects.  In the wrong wind conditions, any un-anchored gazebos are likely to become airborne, without warning, and the metal frame will cause injury or damage if it meets with someone or something!

Where gazebos are used these must be included within the risk assessment to include the erection, use, adverse weather, dismantling and anchoring of the structure.  The more reliant the event is on the use of gazebos or other temporary structures the more important the need for a wind management plan.

Where gazebos are used on hard standing (where staking cannot be achieved), if manufacturer's guidance is not available, a minimum of 20kg weight should be secured to each leg. Where weights are filled with water or sand to act as the ballast, as a guide, a litre of water weighs 1kg, 1 litre of dry sand weighs approximately 1.5kg.

Manufacturer's or supplier's guidance

You should check with the manufacturer's or supplier’s guidance to help ascertain the maximum wind speed for the safe use of temporary structures. If the safe wind speed is exceeded the use of the structure should cease and the area cleared. The structure should be dismantled, when safe to do so.

Bouncy castles (inflatables)

Serious incidents have occurred where inflatables have collapsed or blown away in wind conditions.  Simple precautions can help you avoid serious incidents whether you are allowing one to attend your event or are hiring one in and operating it yourselves.

Risk Assessments - bouncy castles (inflatables)

Device specific risk assessments must be submitted for all inflatables. Where it is evident that this advice has not been considered within the risk assessment, these risk assessments are likely to be rejected.

We recommend event organisers read the HSE safety advice about bouncy castles and inflatables.


Where events contain licensable activities such as the sale of alcohol, performance of a play, exhibition of a film, performance of live music, the playing of recorded music, performance of dance etc., event organisers need to ensure, that where required, a Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice is in place.

Where an event includes the sale of alcohol the event organiser is responsible for ensuring that a named ‘Personal Licence Holder’ is present who gives their written consent to being specified as authorising the sale of alcohol at the Event.

Irrespective of who owns the land (the venue) the requirement for a Premises Licence or a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) should not be confused with requesting a permit from the land owner to use the land, nor should it be confused with the need for a Music Licence from PPL PRS if music is to be played or performed. 

Street Collections

A Street Collections Permit is required to authorise the collection of money or the sale of goods for charitable purposes in a public place. It is an offence to conduct collections without a permit.

You do not need a street collection licence if you’re selling or collecting as part of a business.

Stalls (more than 4 = a ‘Temporary Market’)

There are several factors to be considered in determining whether an event or part of an event constitutes a temporary market, namely:

  • The number of stalls (events with 4 stalls or less do not usually constitute a market)
  • Is a payment received from the occupiers of the stalls?
  • Is the event open to the public?
  • Do the occupiers of the stalls retain any of the income from those stalls?
  • For what purpose are the proceeds of the event to be used?

If you are planning an event with stalls (buying or selling) and there are more than 4 stalls then this may constitute a market and require consent. 

A link for the application form is below (Car boot sale or other occasional market)

You could be fined if you collect money for charity without a licence.

Advice can be sought from Bradford Council Licensing Team

Phone: 01274 432240


Links to various guidance are below.

Music Licence

PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) represents performers and record companies. PRS for Music (Performing Rights Society) is a society of songwriters, composers and music publishers. Both organisations ensure that the creators and performers of music are paid when their music is used in public.

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, if music is being used, played or performed at your event, the chances are you will need a music licence.  The Council is obliged to make PPL PRS aware of events which include music, following which PPL PRS Ltd will make direct contact with the event organiser. 

Event organisers can also make direct contact with PPL PRS Ltd and may be able to secure a reduced charge based on their status. 

For more information on Music Licenses see the PPL PRS website.

High profile guests and performers

This refers to individuals or groups attracting or intent on attracting a lot of attention and interest from the public and or the media and social media.  The potential effect on the scale and nature of events by the attendance of high-profile guests or performers can be significant. It is easy to underestimate and is therefore something that needs to be considered, risk assessed, and planned for.

Examples of risks associated with high profile guests can include:

  • Excessive crowd numbers;
  • Audience profile where there is the potential for controversy and conflict;
  • Impact on community;
  • Impact on transport network;
  • The generation of a security risk.

Any number of these risk examples and more, can be associated with the attendance of high-profile guests and performers.

Welfare facilities (toilets and hand washing)

Event organisers are responsible for ensuring that an appropriate number of toilets are provided (including accessible units), and should seek advice from a specialist events supplier on the number and type of facilities required (most suppliers offer calculations on the internet).

Consideration should be given by event organisers to make arrangements for replenishing toilet rolls and cleaning of any existing toilet facilities that may be available at the venue.

Hand washing

Just as important as toilets is warm water hand-washing facilities with adequate supplies of suitable soap are the most effective means for cleaning hands. Antiseptic hand wipes or bactericidal soap or gel can be provided; however, event organisers should be aware that these alternatives may only be effective when hands are not visibly contaminated (for example, by mud). In respect of some events, those involving animal handling, food preparation and the serving of food and drink hand-washing facilities must be provided.

Event organisers should plan toilet and handwashing provisions for their event based on expected numbers and gender split.

Ground protection

Vehicle access requirements increase in line with an increase in the scale of the event which in turn raises the risk of costly damage to the site.  As appropriate this risk needs to be considered and reflected within the plans for the event by the provision of ground protection.

Plan - beware costly damage!

Drivers who are allowed to enter onto and move around on grass areas may not give any consideration to the damage they are causing and are not likely to have the same vested interest as the event organiser who is held responsible for the cost of any repairs which are necessary following the event!

Ground conditions and the weight bearing capacity of grass will change dramatically as the moisture content increases during or following wet weather – develop a ‘what if’ (contingency plan) to prevent or minimise costly damage.


  • Anticipate that drivers entering the area you are responsible for may not treat the area with any respect.
  • Standard hazard lights should not be used on any moving vehicle. Their use inhibits the ability to indicate to others when a vehicle is turning
  • Do what you can to ‘make good’ any damage to the site before leaving and communicate the next day with the office that received your event application.
  • Where minor rutting occurs or where paths need to be cleaned, the event organiser may be able to reduce their costs by promptly carrying out some of the clear up work themselves (with the use of hand tools)
  • An inspection will be completed by the Council after the event. If anything requires further attention or repair, costs will be identified and recharged to the event organiser
  • Where there is a significant risk of damage to the site routinely a bond will be taken against damage. 
  • Organisers should also consider taking a bond from those with the potential to cause damage
  • Consider the fact that you may have to cancel the event if the site is unsuitable for vehicular access
  • Consideration should be given to event cancellation or abandonment insurance balanced against the potentially significant costs for reinstatement

Reinstatement (repair) of grass areas

Any measures that can be taken to mitigate damage are better than the cure. Reinstatement can carry significant costs for which the event organiser is accepting responsibility.

Damaged areas can take a long time to fully recover. This can have a knock on effect with other events and in particular on sports use with pitches being unsuitable for hire leading to additional costs and third party complaint.  Event organisers should always aim (plan) to return the site in the same condition that it was found.

Waste management

All events produce some degree of waste.  It is essential that those working at the event and those attending have ample provision to dispose of their waste responsibly and promptly.

Event organisers are responsible for the waste generated, for ensuring that:

  • Rubbish, litter and waste is kept to a minimum during the event
  • Appropriate provision is made for the responsible disposal of waste during and immediately following the event
  • When arranging for the collection, that the person collecting the waste is a registered waste carrier

Event organisers should take all reasonable steps to reduce the use of single-use plastics and alternatives to ‘single use plastic’ should be encouraged, for example wooden cutlery, wooden drinks stirrers, paper and card food containers.  Where single-use plastic items cannot be avoided, they should be carefully chosen.


Effective communication is crucial if an event is to run smoothly and safely.  Key areas of communication include:

  • communication from an event safety aspect
  • communication with joint agencies and responsible authorities, via Public Safety Liaison Group, during planning stages and post event
  • communication between staff and workers
  • public information and communication

Communication of all the key areas should be considered in four-time frames:

  • prior to the event (during the event-planning stage)
  • during the event
  • in an emergency
  • post event

The following provides tips on communication event organisers should consider:

  • Communication during the event-planning stage – includes information going to those attending the event and also those not attending but affected by it:  consultation with residents, businesses, places of worship, public transport, British Transport Police - essentially anyone who may be impacted by the event.
  • Preparation of key support documentation for the Emergency Services and responsible authorities of the Public Safety Liaison Group – includes event management plans, contacts, site plans, technical plans, risk assessments etc 
  • Communication between staff/workers/volunteers – includes briefings and an outline of roles, responsibilities, times, expectations dos and don’ts, who does what, where and when and reporting lines for communicating. This should be documented and circulated in advance allowing people time to absorb and understand their role and ask questions.
  • Means of communication – different types of systems to be used, for example mobile phone, 2 way radio communication, PA systems.
  • Location of event control – avoid a position where sound levels may compromise radio communication.
  • Communication procedures – establish radio etiquette (some may not appreciate that you cannot speak and listen at the same time). Information on two-way radio protocol can easily be found on the internet. 
  • Communication channels
  • Emergency public announcements 
  • Alerting procedures 
  • Public information and communication (types of information) 
  • Lost/Found Children protocol


Information is key in any event. It will be expected and organisers should make provision for sufficient signage to be available around the event venue.

All signage should be produced with the user in mind. Due care and attention should be given to the provision of signage on the site. For example, the use of internationally recognised pictograms for non-English speaking members of the crowd or those who may not be able to read.

Any temporary, directional or other signage on the public highway requires specific approval of the Highways Authority. Guidance should be sought from the Highways Department of Bradford Council at the earliest opportunity. (See the section on Holding Events on the Highway)


It is the responsibility of the Event Organiser to ensure there are enough stewards to cover the size of the event. Staffing levels may differ, depending on some of the following factors:

  • if the event is staged indoors or outdoors
  • weather conditions
  • sale of alcohol
  • timing of your event
  • type of entertainment
  • site characteristics
  • audience profile (children, vulnerable people, etc)

The findings of your Risk Assessment will help you decide the number of stewards necessary to manage the audience safely.

Stewarding roles at an event may include:

  • providing event information to attendees
  • controlling and directing customers
  • vehicle parking, for example checking permits and giving direction
  • staffing entrances and exits
  • assisting in crowd management
  • monitoring and reporting on crowd densities
  • monitoring crowd behaviour and welfare
  • assisting the Police and other emergency services as directed
  • monitoring the event site and being aware of suspicious packages
  • minimising the risk of fire, for example by monitoring the build-up of refuse by traders etc
  • assisting in part or full evacuation as necessary

If you are hiring the services of a professional company it is the responsibility of the organiser to ensure that any steward employed has received appropriate training and has been briefed in respect of their role. In any situation all stewards (volunteers or professional) should be fully briefed of their role.


Security staff at events are required to be registered with the Security Industry Authority (SIA). For guidance on security at events visit SIA - Security at Events.

Organisers must take account of any special security measures necessary. These may arise out of circumstances such as the attendance of VIPs or the presence of large amounts of money at the event. All security staff must wear their SIA badges at all times.

Security roles at an event may include:

  • guarding against unauthorised access
  • guarding property against destruction and danger
  • guarding of cash in transit
  • guarding individuals against assault
  • entry screening and search for the prevention of prohibited items
  • seizure of drugs
  • refusing entry
  • ensuring the safety of customers and staff
  • ejection of customers

To undertake any of the above roles event organisers should hire the services of a professional stewarding company for the necessary SIA personnel.

Crowd profiles

Understanding crowd behaviours is essential when planning for and managing crowds.

Different types of entertainment will attract different audiences. For instance a pop concert will attract an audience that will need more robust management than a classical concert.

An understanding of your crowd profile and recognising the effects that crowd may have on your event will determine the level and ability of your resources for managing the audience and ensuring the safety of crowds attending your event. 

Factors that can influence crowd behaviour include:

  • alcohol consumption
  • drugs
  • type of music and entertainment
  • artist profile
  • weather conditions
  • team rivalry
  • venue design
  • topography
  • conditions underfoot


Whether your event is indoor or outdoor you need to consider the occupant capacity of the venue. Exceeding calculated capacities will result in the compromise of a safe evacuation endangering life and rendering any public liability insurance null and void.

The initial process undertaken to establish capacity is as follows:

  • the overall space
  • available viewing area
  • density profile
  • potential capacity

Various guidance exists for calculating capacity:

  • The Event Safety Guide (The Purple Guide), the event industry standard on entertainment, primarily music led which focuses on the application of the HASAW Act and supporting regulations in relation to events.
  • The Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (The Green Guide) enables the identification and implementation of measures necessary to ensure the reasonable safety of spectators at sports grounds.
  • The Fire Safety Risk Assessment guide has its basis under the Fire Regulatory Reform Orders and gives guidance and advice on how to avoid fires and to ensure people’s safety if a fire does start.

In each guide there are inconsistencies in relation to crowd densities:

  1. Two persons per square metre (maximum density Event Safety Guide)
  2. Seven persons per square metre (maximum open space density Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds)
  3. Three persons per square metre (maximum standing density Fire Risk Assessments)

It must be emphasised that these figures are guidance in relation to the particular event the guide supports. However the methodology to calculate the overall capacity is a function of four factors:

  1. the time it takes to get into a venue (entry capacity)
  2. the size of the viewing area
  3. the audience profile (the density at which the audience will accept)
  4. the emergency evacuation time.

The safest capacity is the lowest of these four figures.

If your event is in an indoor venue the legal capacity will already be established. This information will be available from the owner of the venue.

For open air venues calculating the capacity can be a little more complex and you may need to seek the services of a professional event practitioner to assist you with this task. The head of the stewarding company may be able to assist event organisers in this task.


Whenever a crowd is placed in a confined space (indoors or outdoors), you must have evacuation procedures in place and this should form part of your overall event management plan. Often, in the case of indoor events, the premises will already have an evacuation plan in place. However, it is less likely that these will exist for an outdoor event.

People within your audience may have a range of disabilities. You need to ensure that their requirements are included in your evacuation plan as far as reasonably practicable and adhere to the legislation within the Disability Discrimination Act.

Fire Safety

As an event organiser you are required to provide a fire safe environment in and around the premises including in temporary structures such as tents and marquees.

The responsible person for each event must:

  • undertake a fire risk assessment
  • reduce the fire risk to a minimum and implement appropriate fire precautions
  • ensure, as far as is practicable, the safety from fire of all persons, including employees and attendees.

Matters that must be considered to comply with the above are:

  • how and where is a fire most likely to start?
  • can the risk be eliminated or reduced?
  • how will the fire be detected?
  • how will the alarm be raised?
  • what is the evacuation procedure (this will include Fire Exit signs and stewarding)?
  • what first aid fire-fighting equipment (extinguishers) is required?
  • do the stewards/staff know what to do in the event of a fire (training)?
  • what procedures are in place for calling the Fire Service?

Further guidance is available from:


Disabled customers and participants feature as part of many events. Their needs must be taken into consideration and met during the planning of your event, particularly with your evacuation plan, plus attention should be given to site design, parking, toilets, raised viewing platforms, signage etc.

Event organisers are recommended to seek guidance from the following organisations:

Temporary electrical systems

Whether the power comes from a generator or a building or if the event is indoors, outdoors or in a marque. If the intention is to remove it at some point, it is temporary.

All temporary electrical systems must comply with the IET Wiring Regulations (BS 7671) – often known as ‘The 18th Edition’ or ‘Wiring Regs’.  Temporary electrical systems, no matter how small, also need to comply with BS 7909, a code of practice for temporary electrical systems published by BSI.

BS 7909 is a standard that all event organisers using temporary power need to be aware of.  Temporary electrical systems must be installed in a safe manner and tested.

Event organisers should appoint someone competent to ensure this is carried out. In BS7909 this person is called the ‘Senior Person Responsible’ (SPR).  Ensure that any electrical contractors that are appointed are competent and trained in the requirements of BS 7909.

Holding events on the highway


The Council (Highways Authority) has specific duties and legal obligations relating to the management of its highway network with a responsibility to keep traffic moving; taking account of all road users, including pedestrians, and to take action to minimise or prevent problems.  These areas of responsibility underpin the advice given to the organisers of events and each application for use of the highway is taken on its own merits. 

Wherever an event is held consideration needs to be given to the risks presented by the venue itself.  Where the venue for an event or part of an event is a highway this introduces specific elements that will need to be considered and addressed.  This does add time to the required process when compared to an event held off the highway. 

Highways glossary:

To assist those who are considering arranging or are planning to hold an event on the highway, it is important to clarify some specific terms:

  • Highway - public highway, managed and maintained by the Highway Authority which in this case is Bradford Council (excluding the M606). Everyday use normally implies roads, while the legal use covers any route or path with a public right of access, including footpaths and areas people may consider as being pedestrianised, etc.
  • Advanced Warning Signage – Temporary signage set out in advance warning of potential delay and or temporary restrictions
  • Blue Light Services - police, fire services, ambulance, emergency responders
  • Chapter 8 - Chapter 8 refers to the Department of Transport’s Traffic Signs Manual, specifically chapter 8 part 2. It details the requirements for traffic safety measures and signs for temporary situations
  • Directing traffic – (see Temporary Traffic Management)
  • Diversion route - an alternative route arranged for traffic to follow when the normal route cannot be used
  • Highway Code – Rules which apply to all road users including pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists, as well as motorcyclists and drivers
  • High Visibility Clothing - In all cases those involved with managing an event on the highway (as a minimum) must be wearing appropriate Class 2 or Class 3 high visibility clothing
  • Live road – areas of the highway in use by normal traffic
  • Marshal – see standalone section on marshalling later within this section
  • Obstruction - Section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 says that “if a person, without lawful authority, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence”
  • Right to pass - The public have a Common Law right to pass and re-pass…. and make reasonable use of public adopted highway.  Any fixed restrictions on/management of this right to pass, for example loading times, One Way systems, will be backed up by a Traffic Regulation Order
  • Planned event – Something where decisions and arrangements are made for in advance
  • Private Road – see un-adopted roads
  • Road Closure – Where the physical closure of the road is necessary for a substantial period which may require the signing of a diversion route
  • Rolling Road Closure – Where it is necessary to interrupt the flow of traffic for a short period of time
  • Stop and direct traffic – The use of hand signals and verbal instructions to manage traffic
  • Stop/Go – A specific style of Temporary Traffic Management
  • Temporary Traffic Management – Temporary physical measures adopted to restrict, direct, stop traffic
  • Traffic - Users of the highway including pedestrians, ridden animals, vehicles, buses and other conveyances, either singly or together
  • Traffic Management Plan - A traffic management plan for an event should detail all the traffic management related arrangements and information in a single authoritative section or an appendices. 
  • TTRO (Temporary Traffic Regulation Order) – A Legal Order made by the Council to authorise Temporary Traffic Management (authorises restriction of the right to pass)
  • Unadopted Road – Private roads not maintained by the Highway Authority.

Can the event be organised to comply with the Highway Code?

The above is an important first question.  In answering, organisers need to consider:

  • The risks involved in using the highway
  • That Marshals/Stewards and other individuals do not have the authority to stop and direct (manage) traffic or pedestrians

 So, for example, a running race: a UK Athletics fact sheet highlights that “there are only two lawful options for staging a running race on the highway:”

  1. Either you close the road (or part/s of the road) to vehicle traffic under a TTRO - to allow competitors to run in the carriageway; or
  2. The normal highway rules apply on an 'open' road and runners have to comply with the Highway Code - using the pavement wherever possible and giving way (or stopping) where other road and footpath users have priority.

Both of these options could be combined within one race – for instance by having a short road closure just for the start assembly and the first 2-3 miles of the race but open roads on the remainder - but there isn't a lawful “Third Option”.

As highlighted earlier “Marshals can only direct (manage) runners - not the traffic or pedestrians.  Marshals have no authority to direct (manage) traffic or pedestrians - even when a TTRO has been obtained. In this instance a marshal's role is:

  • To direct (manage) runners, warning them of approaching hazards (oncoming traffic, pedestrians etc)
  • To place and maintain traffic management signs where a TTRO for a Road Closure has been obtained

Individual runners are free to make their own decisions. If a runner makes a judgement that it is safer for him/her to step off the pavement into the carriageway to avoid a pedestrian that is fine. But the advice from the organisers must be legally compliant and marshals should reinforce – for instance by directing runners back onto the pavement, and warning of them of approach or oncoming vehicles or pedestrians, and instructing them to stop if necessary to give way to vehicles or pedestrians.

Road Safety Risk Assessment

As part of the risk assessment process, an appropriate level of understanding of road safety and the vulnerability of those participating in and attending the event will need to be demonstrated.

Example Risk Assessment (Event on the highway)

For events of a relatively simple nature the risk assessment may identify that there are no significant risks and that the event can be organised in line with the Highway Code, for example:

The route of the sponsored walk has wide footways throughout. All roads are 20 to 30mph speed limit with good sight lines. No children are taking part and participants have been advised to adhere to the Highway Code and to walk facing oncoming traffic (maintain the ability to see and be seen by approaching vehicles) and to take due care when crossing roads giving due care and consideration for their own safety. The event is taking place mid-summer during daylight hours.

The event is starting from an off-road site which allows for participants to be strung out sufficiently prior to joining the highway. Obstruction of others use of the footway is not anticipated.

You have been advised by Public Safety Liaison Group (SAG) that since participants are using footways and are not obstructing other pedestrian traffic that no specific permission is required, and this can be considered normal use of the highway.

In this example it is evident that the potential conflict between vehicles and pedestrians (road safety) has been considered and that the event can take place in relative safety without having to manage traffic.

Alternatively, in the following example:

The risk assessment for mass start of a road running race has identified that there is insufficient space for participants to be strung out sufficiently for them to be in single file before they reach the highway. This highlights risk of personal injury, road traffic incident and/or the potential conflict between vehicular traffic and participants (pedestrian traffic) that will need to be managed (temporary traffic management).

In the last example the organiser would need to consider that to control the risk they would need to detail within the application a request to manage the use of/close a section of the highway to facilitate the start of the race.

Any person involved with delivering any event and ‘working’ in proximity to any moving vehicles must be specified within the risk assessment as wearing appropriate Class2/3 reflective clothing. 

Events that do not comply with the Highway Code

Where compliance with the Highway Code isn’t feasible then by default, delivery of an event will need to involve some form of traffic management.  The following sections concentrate on the management of traffic; where it is foreseeable that obstruction to/restrictions on the free passage of others/an inability to comply with the Highway Code may or will occur.  Lawful authorisation (a TTRO) will need to be applied for as part of the application for an event permit.  Implementation of a TTRO involves the displaying of the associated notice and is likely to involve temporary traffic management to one degree or another.

Throughout this section the key considerations relating to the management of traffic, which need to be considered and addressed, are:

  • Will someone using the road or footway from any direction understand exactly what is happening and what is expected of them?
  • Will the area of highway have been made reasonably safe for the event and for the general public?
  • Is the traffic management plan being coordinated with the management plan for the rest of the event?

 The event application form is designed to accommodate events which take place on the highway and the specific ‘drop-down’ section includes questions relating to the details that are required before a TTRO can be raised. 

To allow for the management of traffic you can apply for:

  • A full road closure - a full closure is where the physical closure of the road is necessary for a substantial period of time which may require the signing of a diversion route.
  • A rolling closure - a rolling closure involves a moving procession to pass during the time the closure is in force, but is only necessary to interrupt the flow of traffic for a short period of time
  • A footpath closure - a footpath closure is only necessary if your event is obstructing a footpath.
  • Temporary One Way
  • Temporary lifting or introduction of parking restrictions

Temporary Traffic Management


Depending on the specifics, the level of traffic management required to facilitate an event can vary dramatically.  From something which is easily achieved through to the complex involving significant costs.  In this section we explain the different types of traffic management which may be required to facilitate an event.

There are limitations relating to the level of traffic management that can be reasonably achieved by event organisers and the event organiser may require the services of an accredited traffic management company. 

Engaging a Traffic Management Company

The services offered by traffic management companies include hire, installation and removal of traffic management, marshalling of traffic management and design of custom traffic management plans tailored to the need of the event.

Contact details of several traffic management companies are available via the internet. Simply search for ‘traffic management companies, Yorkshire’.

When selecting a traffic management company, at the outset, ensure that they can meet the specific requirements that you may have as some companies will have more detailed experience supplying traffic management for events than others.

It is important to take steps to ensure that they are competent in delivering traffic management at events and that they understand that support will be needed to develop a traffic management plan.  Traffic management plans for events need to include narrative and method statements etc. appropriate to the scale and nature of the event and to the traffic management involved.

Consider the impact on the local highway network

Most towns and cities are heavily reliant on their highways. Access for blue light services, deliveries, waste collections, public transport to mention a few. When considering the reasonableness of any request the Highways Authorities and Safety Advisory Group will take into consideration the significance of any disruption to the highways network.

Pre-Application Consultation

Depending on circumstances it may be necessary for the event organiser to carry out and evidence that a proportionate level of consultation has taken place.

For example:

  • Closure of a residential cul-de-sac for a street party would include consulting with all of the residents with the aim of securing agreement of the majority in favour of the closure and making access arrangement for the remainder who are not.
  • Road closures and subsequent Traffic management on a main road is likely to require direct consultation with all the affected premises adjoining the highway such as residents, businesses, places of worship etc. Consultation will also be needed with the Safety Advsiory Group representatives for public transport, emergency services, highways, parking services, etc

The time required to complete this process will vary depending on the nature of the event and the level of the disruption.  When carrying out consultation the event organiser must take steps to ensure any representations are made to them direct and must report these to the Council as part of their consultation exercise.

A road closure application form and guidance notes for Road closures and traffic regulations can be found below.

Traffic Management Plans


For events of a relatively simple nature a risk assessment and plan submitted with the event application form will be all that is required. However, as the scale and complexity of an event increase you will need to submit a traffic management plan.

Traffic Management Plans for events

Although this may seem obvious the traffic management plan required for an event will need to differ significantly to one relating to some road works.  A traffic management plan for an event should detail all the traffic management related arrangements and information in a single authoritative section or an appendix.  Those relating to road works are often just a plan of the roads to which have been added scaled down versions of the signs that will be set out.

Areas which should be considered and addressed include:

  • Consultation which has taken place
  • Event vehicle access
  • Audience vehicles
  • Pedestrian access
  • Emergency access
  • Rendezvous points
  • Diversions
  • Temporary signage
  • Road closures
  • Safe re-opening of roads
  • Parking and parking bay suspensions
  • Impact upon public transport
  • Anticipated volume of vehicles
  • Promotion of alternative travel options
  • Movement of vehicles/transport on site (no reversing without a reversing assistant)
  • Advance warning signs
  • Vulnerability of individual pedestrians/crowds
  • Hostile vehicle mitigation
  • Competency of marshals
  • Briefing of marshals

Traffic management for an event is likely to play an important role in its success and safety and the importance of giving appropriate time and attention to this element of an event cannot be over stressed.

Banners, placards and bunting

Items of this nature should not be attached to the safety railings on highways that stand at a kerb edge.  Safety railings are meant to be seen through and should not be obscured for any reason, in particular adjacent to and on road crossing points where small children may be hidden from the view of drivers, only to suddenly appear into the path of a vehicle!

Where any promotional material is displayed and is intended to be read from a road it should be easy to read so as not to lead to unnecessary distraction.  For example:

  • The information should be concise (what, where and when)
  • There should be good contrast between the text and any other content


Any notices erected regarding events should again be concise and have good contrast. They shouldn’t be in place for more than two weeks before and one week following the event and should not be larger than A4 size (0.6sqm).

Bunting across or parallel to a road

Inappropriate material and fixing methods can lead to a significant risk. Placing items over, along or in the highway is unlawful without first having obtained the appropriate consent from the Council.

The use of street lighting columns as a support for bunting is governed by their design load capacity.  Columns are not routinely designed to carry additional load for example wind loading from attached bunting or the leverage of a ladder being placed against them!

Depending on the specific circumstances and with an appropriate risk assessment and method statement, insurance etc., there may be scope for non-professionals to install bunting on footways and areas restricted to pedestrians where the minimum clearance to the underside of the bunting must be 2.5m.  However the fixing, maintenance and removal of items across the highway will likely need to be contracted out to those who are suitably resourced and qualified to undertake the work and clearly erected much higher by those qualified to do so (think double decker buses)!

Important factors to consider before you apply to string or placing items along or across the highway:

  • Depending on the classification of the highway the lowest point of anything which is strung across must be 5.7m or 7.5m above the highway
  • A copy of the current structural adequacy certificate (obtained from owners of the fixing points) is required

The role of the Police

Historically, the police provided a range of roles at events including, traffic management, security, stewarding and bag searching.  However, for various reasons, this changed and National Policing Guidance directed the police to their core responsibilities and except for cycle racing, the police can neither approve nor ban public events.

The majority of events actually take place without any need for police involvement.  As part of the event planning process however the police will review event and traffic management plans through the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) and will provide advice and guidance where appropriate. The police via the SAG are committed to engage and work with parties to provide support and guidance.

Policing of events on the highway

National Policing Guidance directs the police to their core responsibilities and one of the key effects of this policy is that police officers no longer undertake traffic management for planned events unless this is completely unavoidable.

Those events which are of a national significance, for example Remembrance Day are not affected by this guidance.  Irrespective however, it is incorrect to assume that the police have the lawful power to manage traffic for any planned event.  If required, this ‘power’ would need to be given them by the Council as part of the event application process.

Community engagement

As part of a community engagement initiative police officers may attend events.  However, there should not be any reliance on attendance as circumstances on the day may dictate that the officers are required elsewhere.  Where they do offer to attend in this capacity, they should not be assigned any areas of responsibility within the plans for the event unless agreed with the police representative on the Public Safety Liaison Group.

Demonstrations – Public Order Act 1986

When organisers are planning a protest or march they should be aware of the provisions of the Public Order Act 1986. Failure to give the police written advance notice (6 clear days) of the date, time and venue/route of the procession; variation of such details from those previously notified; or failure to comply with changes, conditions or prohibitions imposed by the police on processions or assemblies may constitute criminal offences.

Marches present moving venues, which are far more unpredictable. Therefore, it is very important that planning for such events starts as early as possible.

Special Police Services (SPS)

Special Police Services are the provision by the police of an additional special service, beyond that which the police would consider necessary to meet their core responsibilities, and which is provided at the request of organising bodies of certain events and for which the organising body would be required to pay.

Contacting the Police

In relation to events all contact with the police should be initiated via the police representative via the Safety Advisory Group (SAG).

Contingency Planning

“What if” - a term used to ask about the consequences of something happening, especially something undesirable!

No matter how much effort you put in the planning there are always some incidents ready to wreck the big day for you.  Think about and consider if there are any high impact risks, exceptional risks with the potential to completely disrupt the delivery or the normal operation of the event.

Plan your response if that risk was realised and develop a Contingency Plan, a plan made for dealing with something that might happen, an emergency or something which causes problems.

This could be as small as a dysfunctional microphone or a common problem - the weather!  Depending on the circumstances of an event, the weather for example, can have significantly disruptive effects.  For example, winds above an acceptable level for the temporary structures used could severely impact and lead to the cancelling and/or closing of an event where there is a heavy reliance on their use.

To quote the Purple Guide the purposes of incident management are as follows:

  • To minimise the risk to human life and well-being.
  • To minimise the risk to property, infrastructure and environment.
  • To reduce losses.
  • To minimise the length of time the event will have to suspend or disrupt trading.
  • To provide a framework for response by ‘staff’.
  • To provide a framework for supporting the emergency services.
  • To reassure the public and any stakeholders that reasonable steps have been taken to manage incident risks.
  • To protect reputation

Key points:

  • To emphasise, for all but the smallest low risk events, the importance of having plans in place to effectively respond to disruptive influences, health and safety incidents and emergencies which might occur at, or impact upon an event.
  • To ensure that arrangements are in place to implement these plans.
  • To recognise that all involved with the management of events (including volunteers) need to be briefed in emergency procedures, be assigned to, and understand, their specific roles, should an incident or emergency occur.
  • To be aware that the initial response to an emergency is likely to be the responsibility of the event safety management team, nominated and detailed within your Event Management Plan.

Proportionate and adaptable

Contingency plans need only to be proportionate to the level of risk presented by event activities and the potential extent and disruptive influence of the incident.

Given that incidents and emergencies may be unexpected or unplanned, the response needs to be flexible and adaptable, or you may have to respond to an incident that develops over a period of time and requires an escalating scale of response.

Draw up and discuss your plans. see for further information.

An example of a developing situation at an event can be found via this link:

After the event

Site clearance

The ‘load out’ period, an industry term, after an event, where everything is taken down and removed from the site and the ground is restored back to its former state. Routinely this is quicker than the site preparation however it can be affected by inclement weather, lack of help, and other factors.

Pay attention to this phase. This is often the point when everyone is at the end of a long day, and the focus may slip.

Undertake a final inspection of the site after clean-up to make sure nothing has been left and take this opportunity to identify any damage caused during the event. If any structures are left overnight make sure they are left in a safe and secure condition. It is a legal requirement to record any accidents or incidents.

Advise your insurer and the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) if any incidents or accidents have occurred ensuring that you have acquired appropriate information.

Evaluation, Debrief and Review

To establish the success of your event you may have asked visitors to complete a short questionnaire or undertaken interviews to gather feedback.

At the very least you should follow the event with a team debrief to assess what went well, what went less well and what lessons can be learned as this will help you to improve future events. A multi agency debrief with the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) may be called. You may find it useful to have a form that staff and volunteers can complete. Include such detail and questions as follows:

  • Name and date of event
  • Name, organisation, responsibility
  • List or describe what you thought was successful or worked well in the area you were responsible for or involved in
  • List or describe what you thought was not successful or did not work well in the area you were responsible for or involved in
  • List your actions and recommendations for improvement for future events for the area you were responsible for or involved in
  • List or describe what you thought was successful or observed working well in the whole event
  • List or describe what you thought was not successful or observed working well in the whole event
  • Any further comments or suggestions for improvement for future events