Planning your outdoor event

(this section is also applicable to events which do not include licensable activities)

Everyone organising or managing an event has a ‘duty of care’ under Health and Safety legislation.

Safety must be your primary responsibility. Event organisers are legally responsible for the safety of everyone at the event; this includes the public, employees, contractors and volunteers.

Start organising several months before the event. This will give you time to prepare your Event Management Plan, carry out your risk assessments and obtain specialist advice where necessary. The statutory authorities (e.g. police, fire, ambulance, NHS etc.) will need time to consider and comment on your arrangements, especially if they need to attend the event; this is important during the summer months when there may be several events taking place throughout Sussex on the same day.

The hierarchy of control for your event should be shown in an event organisation chart within the Event Management Plan. This should clearly identify named individuals who are the Event Organiser, Event Manager, Safety Officer etc and identify the person who will be the key decision maker in the event of an emergency situation.

A suitably competent and experienced person should be appointed to act as the Safety Officer for the event with responsibility for safety matters (others in the Event Management Team will also have overall health & safety responsibilities).

The Safety Officer should be suitably trained and/or have experience or knowledge of safety matters appropriate for the event. For medium/large and/or complex events you may need to employ professional help and advice.

During the event the Safety Officer must:

• Be present on site,
• Be easily identifiable as the Safety Officer;
• Be in an identified location (e.g. Event Control);
• Not be engaged in any other duties or activities which would prevent them carrying out their responsibilities associated with the event;
• Have the means to communicate with the Event Management Team.
• Undertake a site safety check before the event is opened to the public;
• Monitor the continuing safety of the site throughout the event. This can include checking structures, barriers, electrical supplies and installations or other equipment provided.
• Have the authority, if necessary, to close the event or part of it at any time
• A priority for every event organiser must be to remove or minimise risks to staff, contractors, performers, volunteers, and the public.

If organisers are in any doubt whatsoever about the safety of their event, it must not proceed.

For more information please visit our Event Management Plan page this page provides guidance on how to complete an Event Management Plan. You should also subscribe to the Purple Guide for further guidance.