Ready or not, 2015 is upon us and many of us will be organising events. The planning, production and running of these always proves to be complex, and it is important to ensure that all the relevant regulations and legislation have been complied with. However, striking the right balance between merriment and regulatory humbug can prove tricky.

Here are some guidelines for those organising events to help make the most of their forthcoming events: 

  • Ensure that those attending your event are adequately protected, whether they are event goers, guests or workers. Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 an occupier of a venue owes a duty of care (that is deemed reasonable in all circumstances), to ensure that those on site will be reasonably safe. Event organisers must do all they reasonably can to protect the public.
  • A safe setup, delivery and dismantling of an event site is crucial. Responsibility will usually fall to the event organiser, the manager, the owner of the venue, licensee and/or promoter depending upon the contractual arrangements. The control of the event may be shared between a number of different parties and it is therefore important that all the relevant parties liaise and communicate with each other from an early stage to ensure that responsibilities are clearly identified and assigned.
  • All events will be subject to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and various regulations and Codes of Practice under the Act. Event organisers, concert promoters, licensees, specialist contractors and venue owners all have a statutory duty to protect the health and safety of their workers and others who may be affected by their work activity. This general duty covers training, safe work systems and the preparation of safety policies. There is also a duty on employers and self-employed people to safeguard those attending an event. The Act is relevant for suppliers of equipment and extends to suppliers of equipment for use by performers.
  • Ensure that adequate public liability and cancelation insurance is in place, as well as any further specialist insurance that may be applicable, such as non-appearance or pyrotechnic insurance. There are several insurance brokers that offer specific festival and event insurance. 
  • Make sure that all food concessions comply with Health & Safety regulations, specifically the Food Safety Act 1999 and the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006. Further advice is available from the Food Standards Agency. 
  • Check there are no religious or cultural objections to the sale and consumption of alcohol. Obtain the necessary alcohol licences from the local Council and make sure these cover spirits if necessary (as well as beer and wine) and that they extend to the end of the event. It is also important to be aware that the provision of free tap water is a mandatory requirement under the Licensing Act 2003 (mandatory licensing conditions) order 2010.
  • Any music that is played in public is regarded as a performance. As such, organisers will need permission from the rights owners of any music performed at the event. The easiest way to ensure that all rights are protected and that artists are correctly remunerated is by obtaining a PRS licence. The PRS grant specific festival licences and organisers should contact the PRS and provide them with the details of all music that will be played at the event. The PRS charge a fee of 3% of the gross receipts of the event and they will distribute the revenue to the artists.
  • It’s a people business so never underestimate the role people play in delivering the event and the power they may have. Build a hardworking, committed and professional team.

Ensuring that there is a strong contractual framework in place between the event host and its suppliers, with clear communication between all parties will help to create a successful event for all involved.