Everyone loves an event, whether it’s a Festival, Carnival or Fete and whilst the freedom to hold these events is important so is the freedom of people to enjoy these events safely or go about their business with a minimum of disruption.
The organisation of an event is a considerable responsibility. If things go wrong organisers may be held responsible under civil, common or criminal law, particularly if it’s found there is something wrong with the planning or control of the event.
Local Safety Advisory Groups have been formed nationally as a result of some very serious incidents at several sporting events, the most prominent of these was the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Although formed primarily to assist in preventing a re-occurrence of the Hillsborough disaster the functions and principles of a Safety Advisory Group are applicable to any type of event not just those that involve sport, and are equally applicable to events both large and small, all of which are considered on their individual circumstances.
Local Safety Advisory Groups are generally made up of representatives from the following organisations;
- Local Authority
- Ambulance Service
- Fire service
In addition to these, the group may also include representatives from organisations such as the RNLI, Coastguard service, the Military or Transport operators.
Some of these representatives will be working for services that have a statutory duty to regulate certain aspects of the event, for example licensing.
The purpose of the Local Safety Advisory Group is to provide a one stop shop for organisers to get guidance on running their events safely.
It is not the role of the Local Safety Advisory Group to assist in the planning of the event or to accept responsibility for the event. These remain the responsibility of the organiser.
In the main the members of the group will make comments or observations about your event. In some circumstances those members with statutory responsibility for aspects of your event may act on that responsibility.
All comments and observations are always advisory however they are made by professionals in the interests of public safety and should not be dismissed lightly.
If you do not understand the reasons for the advice or you do not agree with it you can request to discuss it with the group.
Firstly not every event will find its way to a Local Safety Advisory Group.
Cornwall Council is encouraging all event organisers to follow a simple process to ensure that the organisers are supported in a way that is structured.
In the first instance event organisers should register their event with Cornwall Council, by completing an Event Notification Form. Completed forms along with a copy of the organisations public liability insurance and risk assessment, plus any supporting documents such as an event management plan should be returned to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This notification will be assessed by the Councils specialist teams to quantify the level of risk posed to public safety by holding the event. If this is deemed to be at a level that necessitates the event being discussed at a Local Safety Advisory Group meeting then the Local Community Network Manager will be asked to arrange a meeting.
Details of the event will be looked at and comments/observations invited from the relevant professional officers.
Minutes will be taken to record the main points, any key actions and who has responsibility to address those actions.
The chair of the Local Safety Advisory Group will then contact the event organiser with the outcome of the meeting and will make clear any concerns or advice and guidance. The event organiser may also be asked to provide further information in support of their event.
In some cases the Event Organiser may be requested to attend the Local Safety Advisory Group meeting to discuss areas that are felt to need further clarification.
The Local Safety Advisory Group will not give permission for an event to go ahead nor does it have the powers to stop an event, unless as part of a statutory requirement.
It will be the Event Organisers responsibility to then take the appropriate actions to discharge their responsibilities.