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Guide to safe and successful community events

This guide has been written to provide basic advice for event organisers on various considerations that should be made in the event planning process.

This guide is by no means all encompassing and would not suffice for large events, however it should help you to plan a safe and successful community event. 

Even with small indoor events, you and your fellow event organisers are legally responsible for the health and safety of your staff, helpers and the public. This includes events organised by community and voluntary groups.

Risk assessment

You must carry out a 'risk assessment' to identify possible risks and hazards pertaining to the planned event. Once the risks and hazards are identified you must formulate control measures which will either eradicate or minimise them. When writing your risk assessment pay special attention to fire risks and medical contingencies, along with all other aspects of the proposed event.

The Health and Safety Executive's risk assessment guide helps you to:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Record your findings and implement them
  3. Decide who might be harmed and how
  4. Evaluate the risks and decide on precaution
  5. Review your assessment and update if necessary

Indemnity agreement

Land owners may ask you to sign an indemnity agreement. An indemnity agreement is to quantify liability and it should protect both the land-owner and the event organizer, each against the other's negligence. A typical form of words for an indemnity can be seen on page 5.

Public liability insurance

Whether or not an indemnity agreement is required, you will need public liability insurance to cover yourself as an event organiser against anyone injuring themselves or others at your event. It is recommended that you cover your event for between £2 million and £5 million per incident. In some instances a greater level of cover may be required. If you don't have this cover, any claim could be made against all organisers and their private finances. If you use contractors, check that they have their own public liability insurance.

When should I start planning?

Start organising the event as early as possible so that you can carry out your risk assessments and obtain specialist advice if necessary. The SAG will need as much notice as possible to fit your event into its programme. SAG is particularly interested in events involving 500 people or more, high risk events and/or events proposing road closures.

No matter how small your event is, SAG is always interested in knowing about it. All events submitted are entered on the Safety Advisory Group; this helps SAG to see when either a big event is planned or when a series of smaller events coincide.


If you are using any traders to trade at your event, Trading Standards should be contacted for advice on whether the traders have authorisation to trade at any event in Swansea Council area. 

If the event is FREE for the public to attend, any trader requires to have a current street trading consent for Swansea Council or the event organiser to hold an 'umbrella' consent to cover all traders.  If it is NOT free then this does not apply

The council can provide a list of traders who hold a street trading consent and can be used by any event organiser.


Who do I need to help me to run the event?

  • It's best to have an events committee, no matter how informal.
  • You will need an event manager who is in overall charge of the event.
  • You will need a safety officer who is responsible for safety matters at the event.
  • You will need sufficient stewards to properly control the event.

Find out more about safety management at on the HSE website.

Site or venue

The site or venue that has been chosen for the event should be big enough for all the planned activities. You should draw up a sketch plan of the site, preferably to scale, that shows the positions of all the activities, attractions, infrastructure, thoroughfares and exits. Keep this map updated if plans are amended and ensure that copies are available at the event.

There must be enough exits for an orderly evacuation of the site or venue. Entrance and exit routes should be identified for emergency vehicles. These need to be agreed with the emergency services considering the size and weight of the vehicles.

Indoor venues and stadia have limits on the amount of people they can hold safely. Never exceed these limits, it is important to familiarise yourself with the venue and its emergency procedures.

During the set-up / take-down of the event, you should ensure that construction and vehicle movements are supervised / barriered off from the public.

Always make sure that you have the owner's permission to hold an event on their property.

PDF Document Crowded Places Guidance for event organisers (PDF, 1MB)Opens new window

Equality and access

It is important to eliminate any conditions, procedures or behaviour that can lead to discrimination, with particular regard to characteristics defined by legislation. This includes discrimination against age, gender, race, religion or (non)-belief, sexual orientation, Welsh language, disability, pregnancy and maternity and marriage and civil partnership.

With regard to assisting disabled people at events, a few simple measures can make a big difference. Dedicated large print, accessible parking, accessible toilets, viewing areas, mobility aids are just a few areas that can assist disabled people who attend events. For more information contact the Access to services team.


A licence is required if alcohol is sold or entertainment including live or recorded music is provided or the sale of hot food or drink between the hours of 23.00 - 05.00. Premises that wish to sell alcohol or have entertainment will need to apply for a premises licence or a Temporary Event Notice, depending on the amount of people attending.

You can find out more about applying for a license on the Licensing pages on this website.

Street Trading

Handing out leaflets etc. you will require a permit.  Street trading will require either the trader or event organiser to apply for and obtain a Street trading license.

Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Schedule 4 - Street Trading, street trading means, the sale and exposing or offering for sale any article (including a living thing) in a street.  Within the City and County of Swansea all streets, be it on public or private land, are 'consent streets' and therefore require a street trading consent to trade.

To obtain consent may take up to 28 days, due to the consultation process.  In addition the applicant for the consent must also apply for a Basic Disclosure from Disclosure Scotland which can take up to 40 days to obtain, therefore it is advisable that these are dealt with as a matter of urgency during the planning stage.

West Glamorgan Act

The West Glamorgan Act is localised legislation regarding the independent verification of the safety of temporary structures. Please contact Housing and Public Health on 01792 635600 for further information.

Planning for an emergency

Once you have your risk assessment in place, think about what might go wrong on the day and draw up a contingency plan to deal with each identified emergency or contingency. Think about and set out in a clear statement;

  • What action will be taken in an emergency?
  • Who will take the action?
  • How you will inform the right people as to what is happening
  • At what stage during an incident will control be passed from the safety officer to the emergency services?

If the proposed event is outside, it's advisable to have a contingency venue if possible in the event of extreme weather.


Event checklist

As the event organiser, you are responsible for all aspects of the event. Have you considered and planned for:

Public entry and exit pointsToiletsAccess for disabled
Car parkingInformation pointPublic address
Emergency accessLost childrenFencing and barriers
Staging and structuresLost propertyRoad closures
Electrical installationsHot food and BBQsCash handling
Fire fighting and first aidWaterPyrotechnics
StewardsRefuse and recyclingStaff safety
CommunicationCommunity safety 


Further advice

When you submit a  the following organisations will be alerted. Specialist advice is available from the services listed below.

Service/service area



Special events team, Swansea Council


  • Safety Advisory Group liaison
  • The SAG calendar
  • Risk assessment
  • Event safety
  • Other event advice

01792 635428


Parks and foreshores team, Swansea Council


  • Parks & Foreshore Lettings

01792 635436


Housing and Public Protection, Swansea Council


  • Food Hygiene
  • Trading Standards
  • Licensing
  • Building Control

01792 635600


Pollution Control, Swansea Council


  • Air
  • Noise
  • Land
  • Water

01792 635600  

Access to Services, Swansea Council

  • Access and equality advice

01792 636729


South Wales Police

  • Resource planning
  • Emergency access
  • Public order

01792 456999


Mid and West Wales Fire Service

  • Resource planning
  • Emergency access
  • Fire safety
  • Venue capacity
  • Escape routes

03706 060699


Welsh Ambulance Trust NHS Trust

  • Resource planning
  • Emergency access

01792 562900

Voluntary first aid organisations


  • Provision of first aid cover
  • Medical risk assessments


St John Cymru - Wales 01792 883006

07920 152771

British Red Cross

01267 239904

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