A Guide to Organising Outdoor Events

Introduction

Sandwell has a packed, year-round calendar of events happening across the borough. Our events highlight what a great place Sandwell is, and they celebrate its unique parks and busy towns.  An event is a planned occasion taking place outside of normal activity which involves at least 200 people and temporary structures. It is not enhanced activity to usual practice (e.g. Christmas at the Library).
 
This guide gives a little bit of information from the Discover Sandwell team and will let you know about useful things you should bear in mind. Take a look through the following pages to make sure you cover everything in your planning!

Booking and SAG Processes

The most important thing when organising an outdoor event is to plan early. You should be thinking about your event at least 6 months before it is due to take place. Think about what you want to achieve and inform the Discover Sandwell team well in advance.
 
Book your event in with us by completing the booking form and emailing it to event_enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk. You may not be able to complete all sections but fill in as much as you can and we’ll come back to you about the rest. You should also send us your Public Liability Insurance, Risk Assessment and Fire Risk Assessment. By submitting your form, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions for events in Sandwell. Please read these carefully to understand your responsibilities on the site.
 
As you go along, put together an Event Management Plan (EMP) which collates all of the information for the event in one place. This will aid your planning and will help the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) understand the event. We understand that not everything is confirmed when you submit to us but showing us your drafts at an early stage will help us consider your event fully. Keep us informed as things do get confirmed.
 
You may be invited to a SAG meeting where the group can find out more about your plans and give you advice and support. All information you provide will be shared with the SAG to feed back to you. Find out more about the SAG here.
 
We charge a fee for the hire of the site. Costs can be found here. You will be sent an invoice for the amount due once your booking is confirmed.
 
The Purple Guide has been written by Events Organisers and is the national guidance to health, safety and welfare at music and other events. It is a really useful document and will give you much more advice than we are able to provide here.

Roles and Responsibilities

If you are organising an event, you have a duty of care to your staff, attendees and members of the public. We recommend you consider who will take on the following positions and note them in your EMP. (Depending on size, some individuals may hold more than one role).
  • Event Manager (person who knows the event best, takes final responsibility and will take charge in an emergency situation)
  • Site Manager (person who positions activities as they arrive on site and ensures the build and break are safe)
  • Operations Manager (person who looks after the running of the event including security, stewarding, medical, catering and bars)
  • Production Manager (person who liaises with artists, sound, lights, stage, screens, special effects etc.

Venue and Site Layout

Decide the suitability of the venue and whether it can accommodate safely the event you are planning. Your site plan should include:
  • Infrastructure (stage, marquees, toilets etc.)
  • Power/water sources
  • Emergency routes for evacuation and blue lights vehicles
  • Event Control, medical and lost child points
  • Ground works/pipes. Check www.linesearchbeforeudig.co.uk
If you (or a provider) is considering using drones within Sandwell as part of your event, this must be discussed in the first instance with our colleagues in Risk & Insurance. Information can be found here or in the Purple Guide.

Health and Safety

You will need to complete a risk assessment for all activity taking place on the site. This should include:

Lost Children/Vulnerable Adults/Carers

Inevitably at large events, it is likely that a child or vulnerable adult will become separated from their carers. It is really important to act swiftly and calmly in this situation. There is some useful information here.

Medical Support

You should always consider what first aid cover you have at your event. The Purple Guide gives an algorithm to work out what you require. One medical provider has designed a convenient calculator for you to use. Try it here.

Emergency Planning

You should develop emergency procedures and ensure that staff and volunteers know what to do should an emergency occur. This plan should cover several different headings and address many topics that relate to running an event.
  • Upon sighting an incident which requires an emergency response …
  • Summoning other agencies including emergency services
  • Informing staff and activating procedures
  • Dispersing crowds
  • Ongoing liaison with the emergency services and other authorities
  • Management of public information and media/press

Crowd Management

It is really important to understand your audience ahead of your event. Think about what sort of people you are expecting? What activities do they like to do? What behavioural issues may they bring? What sort of equipment is required to control their movement? How will they get to the event? Will they be drinking alcohol? Will they be sitting or standing? Have you got a celebrity attending who will influence crowd activity? Are there any places where crowd surges are likely to take place? Answers to these questions should influence your plans.

Traffic Management

Roads are not necessarily closed for the main event site but sometimes roads need to be closed for the safety of attendees as they arrive or leave. You will need to apply for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO). You should engage with a traffic management company who will be able to provide plans for you and then put it into place. You can find the document here.

Communication

Event staff should have a means of effective communication between each other e.g. short-wave radio or mobile phones (WhatsApp is a really useful tool!). Clear procedures for using communication equipment should be outlined in the EMP. You should keep a log of key communications for your debrief and in case any information is required following any incidents.
 
Staff briefings play an important part in sharing information and should be written as well as given verbally to staff.

Waste Management/Toilets

All waste must be taken away at the end of your event and the site left clean and tidy. For this you may engage with litter pickers for keeping the site clear and/or hire in bins or skips for the collection of rubbish.
 
Some of Sandwell’s sites do have toilet facilities available however there may not be enough or they may not be open during your event so you will need to bring your own on to the site. You can calculate how many toilets you will need on site using this table.
Event
Female Toilets
Male Toilets
Less than 6 hours duration
1 per 100
1 per 500,
plus 1 urinal per 150
6 hours or more duration, with little or no alcohol or food served
1 per 85
1 per 425,
plus 1 urinal per 125
6 hours or more duration, with alcohol and food served in quantity
1 per 75
1 per 400,
plus 1 urinal per 100

Catering

Catering at events is important to keep your audience happy and energised. Think about the type of event you are holding, expected numbers and food that will be expected. When booking in caterers, we recommend you ask for Public Liability Insurance, Food Hygiene certificates from individuals and the local authority, risk assessments, price lists and information about what sort of power they will be bringing/require.

There is more information here.

Insurance and Licences

All events taking place within Sandwell must be covered by a minimum of £5 million per claim Public Liability Insurance. For some dangerous activities, we may request higher cover. We recommend you also ask each of your providers to have the same amount of cover.
 
Some activities are licensable. This includes:
  • Sale of alcohol
  • Regulated entertainment
  • Street trading
  • Street collections
  • Car boot sales
You can find out information here or contact the council’s Licensing team on licensing_team@sandwell.gov.uk.

Contact Details and Advice

Corinne, Laura and Lorna are the Discover Sandwell team.
0121 569 3084
Discover Sandwell, Sandwell Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury, B69 3DE
 
You can find template and example documents here. Where significant support is required from the Discover Sandwell team, you may be charged. Please ask for a quote.