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.
Keep Wales Safe - creating COVID safe events
Welsh Government have created specific guidance for event organisers of regulated gatherings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Event organisers will need to refer to this when considering any events that they wish to facilitate in the future. Find the full Welsh Government guidance and regulations here.
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.
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:
- Identify the hazards
- Record your findings and implement them
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precaution
- Review your assessment and update if necessary
There are templates at the bottom of this page to assist with completing a Risk Assessment, A Fire Risk assessment and a Temporary Water Supply Risk Assessment.
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 organiser, each against the other's negligence.
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 a minimum of £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 event planning calendar ; 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.
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.
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 Alcohol and entertainment licences pages on this website.
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.
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.
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 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.
As the event organiser, you are responsible for all aspects of the event. Have you considered and planned for:
|Public entry and exit points||Toilets||Access for disabled|
|Car parking||Information point||Public address|
|Emergency access||Lost children||Fencing and barriers|
|Staging and structures||Lost property||Road closures|
|Electrical installations||Hot food and BBQs||Cash handling|
|Fire fighting and first aid||Water||Pyrotechnics|
|Stewards||Refuse and recycling||Staff safety|
|Communication||Community safety||COVID Safety|
When you submit a notification of a proposed event, the following organisations will be alerted. Specialist advice is available from the services listed below.
Special Events team, Swansea Council
- Safety Advisory Group liaison
- The SAG calendar
- Risk assessment
- Event safety
- Other event advice
Parks and foreshores team, Swansea Council
- Parks & Foreshore Lettings
Housing and Public Protection, Swansea Council
- Food Hygiene
- Trading Standards
- Building Control
Pollution Control, Swansea Council
Access to Services, Swansea Council
- Access and equality advice
South Wales Police
- Resource planning
- Emergency access
- Public order
Mid and West Wales Fire Service
- Resource planning
- Emergency access
- Fire safety
- Venue capacity
- Escape routes
Welsh Ambulance Trust NHS Trust
- Resource planning
- Emergency access
- Provision of first aid cover
Voluntary first aid organisations
- Medical risk assessments