A Guide to Organising Outdoor Events
Booking and SAG Processes
Roles and Responsibilities
- 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
- 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
We understand that planning events safely and in line with the Government guidance has many additional complexities, therefore this document aims to highlight:
- What we expect and require from you as an organiser;
- Areas of your event that will require additional planning;
- Examples of how these requirements may be applied to your event;
- Risks to consider when deciding to hold an event during COVID-19.
Download our full Events Planning Guidance re. COVID-19 for event organisers here.
Health and Safety
- Weather conditions
- Ground conditions
- Trip hazards
- Antisocial behaviour
- Vehicle movement
- Cash handling
- Manual handling
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.
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.
You are strongly advised to complete a comprehensive Medical Risk Assessment for your event. The level of medical provision your event requires will come from this assessment. You (or your medical provider) should also produce a Medical Plan detailing where, when and how you are going to mitigate those risks identified in your risk assessment and provide appropriate medical cover for your event. Further advice on completing the risk assessment and medical plan should be sought from publications such as The Purple Guide, HSE Guidance or professional Health & Safety/Medical advisors (www.thepurpleguide.co.uk) (https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/index.htm) Failure to complete a Risk Assessment or Medical Plan may leave you open to prosecution and/or litigation should an incident occur.
The SAG (or the NHS Ambulance Service) cannot risk assess your event for you. You as the Event Organiser must do this, as it is you that are held legally responsible for your event. If you do not supply a Medical Risk Assessment and Medical Plan, then the SAG cannot assess your event fully and any advice given to you by the SAG may be incomplete.
The level of medical cover you supply should be sufficient to minimise the impact on the local NHS. This includes local A&E Departments, GP’s and the Ambulance Service. The aim should be to manage casualties on site as far as it is safe and appropriate to do so and to arrange off-site transfer within a satisfactory timeframe when it is not.
Transporting patients from an event to definitive care (hospital) is a regulated activity by law and as such, can only be provided by a company registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). (www.cqc.org.uk). If your event requires an Ambulance to transport offsite, then this must be supplied by a company registered by the CQC.
If your event is being held under the authority of a governing body (UK Athletics, Motorsport, Equestrian etc) then please refer to that organisation for the level of medical cover that they stipulate. Failure to adhere to their requirements could invalidate your event insurance.
Medical cover should be provided for the entire duration of your event, from build up to breakdown. The level of this cover will be determined by your Medical Risk Assessment, taking into account guidance and legislation. If you are providing accommodation and/or camping for your event, then you have a duty of care to those staying and you should provide overnight medical cover.
It is now expected that most events (and ALL public events) should have immediate access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and trained personnel.
Medical providers can vary in quality and capability and event organisers should exercise due diligence in selecting a competent and reliable service. It is good practice to take up references from other customers who have used the provider for similar events and personal recommendation from peers within the event industry may also be useful. Check that they hold appropriate medical defence and public liability insurances and have rigorous clinical governance procedures in place.
- 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
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.
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.
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
- Public Liability Insurance
- Documentary confirmation that the caterer is registered as a food business with a Local Authority
- A food hygiene rating score of ‘4’ (Good) as a minimum
- Food hygiene training certificates
- A documented food safety management system
- Allergen policies and procedures
- Risk assessments
- Information on what sort of power they will be bringing/require
- Suitable and sufficient hand washing facilities
Insurance and Licences
- Sale of alcohol
- Regulated entertainment
- Street trading
- Street collections
- Car boot sales