Event planning - Planning Event Guide

Nottinghamshire Event Planning A-Z Guide

Are you planning an event in Nottinghamshire?

Whether your event is large or small, if you need some guidance during the planning process, then this guide aims to help.

This guide has been compiled in order to offer practical advice to event organisers and should help in the delivery of safe, legal and successful events. The guide provides an alphabetical list of topics that we frequently receive questions about, covering common issues such as licensing, policing, road closure, food safety etc. It also gives contact numbers and links to useful websites. To request new topics be added to the guide please contact us.

It's important to remember that no guide can ever be a fully comprehensive listing. 

We recommended organisers contact any of the partners mentioned directly if one to one support is required. You may also wish to visit the Health & Safety Executive website too.


Accident Reporting

Any accidents and incidents which occur during an event should be recorded in a log book, noting the name and address of the person(s) involved, the nature of the injuries and how they occurred.

All incidents, accidents and near misses should be investigated. Details of findings should be recorded for future reference. Where a serious accident or fatality has occurred then measures should be taken to preserve the scene of the incident until the health and safety enforcing authority (usually the local borough or district council) have been able to carry out the investigation.

First aid providers should give the organisers notes on any medical treatment given so that the information can be used to forecast coverage for future events.

Certain accidents and dangerous occurrences are reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations
(RIDDOR) 1995. An event organiser must report work related accidents if an employee, self-employed person or a member of the public on premises under their control is killed, suffers a certain type of major injury or is taken to hospital.

Note: Accidents and near misses should always be reported to your insurance company.

Child Protection

It might be difficult to accept, but every child can be hurt, put at risk of harm or abused, regardless of their age, gender, religion, or ethnicity.

Child Protection (also known as Safeguarding) simply means:

  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.

When planning events that will involve children, make sure your arrangements are:

  • as safe as possible
  • enjoyable and rewarding for all involved
  • compliant with legislation.

It is very difficult to design a one-size-fits-all approach to child protection, therefore the actions undertaken to protect children at events need to be personalised according to the particular environment and risk.

It is recommended that all event organisers:

  • designate a competent person to act as the welfare officer for all child protection matters
  • agree a recruitment protocol and ensure volunteers and staff are vetted as to suitability to work with children (as deemed appropriate)
  • develop a written policy with clearly laid out standards and codes of conducts to protect child welfare e.g. procedures for dealing with lost
    children, dispensing medical treatment, leading activities with children etc.

Child protection does not need to be over burdensome. Whatever you develop, it should be simple, effective and usable.

Contingency Plans

As part of your event management plan you will need to consider the need for any contingency or emergency plans in order to deal with any unplanned incident during your event.

Your event risk assessment will be a good starting point for developing any such plans. This will help you focus on areas that will need to be considered and may include:


  • the type of event, nature of performers, time of day and duration
  • audience profile including age, previous or expected behaviour
  • existence or absence of seating
  • geography of the location and venue
  • potential for fire/explosion
  • structural failure
  • crowd surge/collapse
  • public disorder
  • lighting or power failure
  • weather, e.g. excessive heat/cold/rain
  • safety equipment failure such as PA system
  • delayed start, curtailment or abandonment of the event
  • partial or whole evacuation of the site

Your plan should provide a flexible response whatever the incident, environment or available resources at the time. The person responsible for the plan must have a broad appreciation of the issues above. This person does not necessarily have to be the event organiser, and in many cases there should be separate person responsible for event safety.

Your plan will need to consider the involvement of other agencies such as the emergency services or local authority. For larger events it may be that such agencies should be involved in the planning stages of the event. For smaller events it may be that such agencies just require notification and broad details about the event. Either way event organisers need to consider how they intend to engage with such agencies in the event of a major incident.

Control Centre

A control centre is a useful addition to large events and acts as a central administration office for the management team, contractors and/ or partners such as the emergency services and local council. When planning a control centre give consideration to the location on site, the structure chosen and the equipment you will need inside e.g. site plans, radios, computers etc. It’s recommended that you ensure there is a dedicated member of staff to facilitate the running of the centre, keeping logs of enquiries and actions taken.

Criminal Records (Disclosure and Barring Service)

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

The DBS are responsible for: 

  • processing requests for criminal records checks
  • deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from a barred list
  • placing or removing people from the DBS children’s barred list and adults’ barred list for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

As an event organiser you will need to consider whether or not you get your team members checked by the DBS, depending upon the frequency and intensity of their contact with children or vulnerable people.


The unsafe use of electricity at events is one of the most common causes for health and safety concern. Electricity can kill yet domestic plugs and sockets and poor cabling systems are frequently used outdoors in all weathers, risking serious harm.

When installing or using outdoor electrical cabling systems ensure that they are supervised by a suitably competent person and are:

  1. suitable for outdoor usage, free from visible defects and laid out in a way that should not cause a trip hazard or be likely to sustain damage.
  2. protected from power surges or damage by means of by a RCD
  3. connected to a safe and reliable power source If third parties bring portable electrical equipment on to an event site ensure that they can demonstrate that is has been maintained correctly and has been subject to PAT testing in the last 12 months.

If third parties bring portable electrical equipment on to an event site ensure that they can demonstrate that is has been maintained correctly and has been subject to PAT testing in the last 12 months.

Event Management Plan

An event management plan should include an overview of all the arrangements being made for the event and be shared amongst the co-ordinating team and, if relevant, with external partners such as the emergency services. The contents will vary according to the nature of the event but should usually feature:

  • Event Overview
  • Management Structure
  • Health & Safety Policies (including Risk Assessments)
  • Traffic Management Plans
  • Stewarding Plans
  • Welfare Facilities
  • Details of 3rd Party Suppliers and Contractors
  • Communications Systems
  • Contingency Plans

Fairground Rides

If you wish to include amusement rides at your event, it is important to obtain safety information about the device from the operator. This is to ensure that the siting and operation of the device does not:

  • compromise safety in relation to the overall risk assessment for the event;
  • block the emergency access routes; or
  • cause audience congestion problems.

Check the competency of the operator. Are they able to demonstrate compliance with legislation or codes of practice? Are they a member of an association? Do they have current insurance? Does each amusement have a current certificate of thorough examination from an inspection body? What experience have they had in operating the amusement? What safety information can they supply in relation to the amusement?

Ask the operator for copies of their own risk assessment and safety information and incorporate this into your overall risk assessment for the event.

Determine appropriate setting-up times, operating times and dismantling times. Amusements should be set up before the audience enters or approaches the event. Make sure that the amusement is not dismantled until all members of the audience have left or are at a safe distance. Vehicle movements are often prohibited during events and amusement operators need to be informed about this policy.

Ensure that suitable space has been allocated for the amusement. Space is one of the most important considerations for any amusement. This does not just include space on the ground but often space above. Obstacles such as large trees, overhead-cables and power lines can cause major hazards to the safe operation. The sides and rear of the amusement may need barriers to prevent members of the audience being exposed to hazardous parts of the equipment. The space allocation must therefore be considered in your venue and site design.

When planning the positioning of the amusement, consider emergency access routes as well as space for members of the audience who may be queuing to ride on the amusement. Space may also be needed for family, friends and others to comfortably watch the amusement.

Fire Safety

There is a risk of fire at all events and precautions must be taken accordingly.

A risk assessment should be prepared as part of the event planning process, incorporating actions which will be undertaken to mitigate the risk of fire, for example – provision of an emergency alert system, training for staff in dealing with fire and provision of fire fighting equipment.

Fire extinguishing equipment should be provided in accordance with the requirements of the activities being provided. Water, foam or multi-purpose powder extinguishers are generally considered effective, though for electrical fires dry powder or carbon dioxide will be necessary. Fire hydrants should be identified on site plans and kept clear, along with access routes for emergency service vehicles.

Exhibitors should be advised on complying with fire precautions whilst working on site, with conformity checked as part of a pre-event inspection.

Site plans should be devised to minimise the possibility of a fire spreading from one location to another, keeping a clearance of at least 2/3 metres between each stall.

Many event organisers hire equipment such as marquees, stages or furniture may be hired in temporarily for an event – remember to check with the provider for certificates of fire safety issued by the manufacturer.


Firework displays should be enjoyable and spectacular occasions – but they obviously need some responsible planning.

If you are organising a major public event, you will need a robust and detailed approach to planning as well as professional involvement. If you are holding a local firework display, such as those organised by many sports clubs, schools or parish councils, you still need to plan responsibly, but the same level of detail is not necessary or expected. Below are some tips and guidance to help you. Note: fireworks are not to be let off after 11pm, unless on bonfire night, Chinese New Year or New Year’s Eve.

Before the event

Think about who will operate the display. There is no reason why you should not light a display yourselves provided it only contains fireworks in categories 1, 2 and 3, but remember, category 4 fireworks may only be used by professional firework display operators. In untrained hands they can be lethal.

Consider whether the site is suitable and large enough for your display, including a bonfire if you are having one. Is there space for the fireworks to land well away from spectators? Remember to check in daylight for overhead power lines and other obstructions. What is the direction of the prevailing wind? What would happen if it changed?

Think about what you would do if things go wrong. Make sure there is someone who will be responsible for calling the emergency services.

Make sure you obtain the fireworks from a reputable supplier. 

If the display is to be provided by a professional firework display operator make sure that you are clear on who does what especially in the event of an emergency 

Ensure you have a suitable place to store the fireworks. Your firework supplier or local authority should be able to advise.

On the day of the event

  • Recheck the site, weather conditions and wind direction
  • Don't let anyone into the zone where the fireworks will fall – or let anyone other than the display operator or firing team into the firing zone or the safety zone around it
  • Discourage spectators from bringing drink onto the site
  • Don't let spectators bring their own fireworks onto the site 

If you will also have a bonfire at the display then you should:

  • Check the structure is sound and has not been tampered with before lighting it
  • Avoid the use of petrol or paraffin to light the fire
  • Have only one person responsible for lighting the fire. That person and any helpers, should wear suitable clothing e.g. a substantial outer garment made of wool or other low-flammable material.
  • Make sure that the person lighting the fire and any helpers know what to do in the event of a burn injury or clothing catching fire
  • Never attempt to relight fireworks. Keep well clear of fireworks that have failed to go off
  • Consider the location of the bonfire and possible impact of drifting smoke on nearby roads or train lines

The morning after

Carefully check and clear the site. Dispose of fireworks safely. They should never be burnt in a confined space (e.g. a boiler).

Additional points to consider if you are organising a major public display.

For major displays, particularly those involving category 4 ‘professional’ fireworks or very large number of spectators, a more robust approach is obviously needed.

Plan and mark out the areas for spectators, firing fireworks (and a safety zone around it) as well as an area where the fireworks will fall.

Think about how people will get into and out of the site. Keep pedestrian and vehicle routes apart if possible. Mark exit routes clearly and ensure they are well lit. Ensure emergency vehicles can get access to the site.

Appoint enough stewards/marshals. Make sure they understand what they are to do on the night and what they should do in the event of an emergency.

Contact the emergency services and local authority. If your site is near an airport you may need to contact them.

Signpost the first aid facilities


Although it is not required by health and safety law, if you are holding a public firework display, it’s a good idea to have public liability insurance. Bear in mind that not all companies are used to dealing with this type of event, and as with any other type of insurance, it’s worth shopping around. Look for a company that’s used to insuring firework and other public events – you are likely to get much better deal and avoid unsuitable terms and conditions. If you have difficulty with the standard insurance terms, talk to your insurer and find a way forward; they can often be very helpful.

For more information see HSE Books:

  • Working together on firework displays (HSE Guide HS(G) 123)
  • Giving your own firework display (HSE Guide HS(G) 124)

First Aid

Event organisers are required to provide equipment and personnel to enable first aid to be given to anyone who becomes ill or is injured during an event.

Voluntary groups such as the Red Cross or the St John Ambulance can provide first aid at events or private contractors can be employed. Most companies and voluntary organisations will ask you to complete a medical risk assessment to enable them to suitably assess the level of medical cover required prior to an agreement being made. When negotiating arrangements it is important to fully check in to the background of the first aid supplier, for example, have they got medical indemnity insurance, what qualifications do their team members have, what equipment will they bring to an event, and what records of treatment will be made? Whilst the East Midlands Ambulance Service and the NHS will always assist in major medical cases, where possible event organisers should aim to respond to and treat most basic medical incidents on site and without need for further intervention.

Food Safety

People who supply food and drink at an event must comply with the provisions of the Food Safety Act.

If using a third party caterer: 

Ensure the company used is registered with a local authority environmental health service (this is normally the district council in which the company is based) 

Obtain copies of their safety documents such as:

  • food safety management system
  • risk assessment
  • insurance policy
  • equipment inspection records
  • food hygiene certificates

Verify the contents are genuine before letting them trade with you.

Ask the company for the names of previous clients so you can get references. Failing that, check out the company’s food hygiene rating. You can access thousands of business’s food hygiene inspections from around the country.

When on site, make sure that the company are working safely and according to the standards they set out in their safety documents.

If supplying your own food:

Premises used to prepare food for public consumption should be registered with the local authority environmental health service, regardless of whether the food is given away for free or charged for.

People handling food should be trained in food hygiene commensurate with their work activities. For example if you are handling open foods such as sandwiches and cakes most guidelines recommend obtaining a level 2 or equivalent qualification (formerly the Basic Food Hygiene Certificate).

Facilities used for preparing or serving food should have handwashing facilities, including provision of hot water, liquid soap and paper towels. Separate facilities should be provided for washing utensils and cooking equipment. All surfaces and equipment must be cleansable.


Generators pose hazards from moving parts, heat and fuel. It is recommended that:

  • Prior to use a visual inspection is made to ensure suitability for use
  • Moving parts and exhausts are fenced off from public contact
  • They are positioned in a location which reduces the length of cable required to a minimum
  • Fuel supplies are stored safely in a suitable container at least 12 m away from a potential ignition sources.
  • They are switched off when refuelling
  • A suitable fire extinguisher is on standby in case of combustion

Grazing Land

Take the following precautions if you intend to use land that has been used for grazing or keeping stock for events:

  • Keep animals off the fields for at least three weeks prior to use.
  • Remove any visible droppings, ideally at the beginning of the period.
  • Mow the grass, keep it short and remove the clippings before the land is used for the event.
  • Keep animals off the land during use.
  • Always wash hands before eating, drinking and smoking.
  • Ensure adequate supervision of children, particularly those aged under five.


Prior to use of the equipment, it is recommended that the hirer requests the following documentation from the operator:

  1. An annual inspection certificate issued by a PIPA or ADIPS registered inspection body.
  2. A PIPA or ADIPS identification tag
  3. A risk assessment
  4. A certificate of public liability insurance to the value of no less than £5 million 

Genuine PIPA inspection certificates are approximately A5 in size (145 mm x 210 mm).

The easiest way to check the validity of a PIPA certificate is to press your thumb on the stylised blue "P" of the Performance Textiles Association logo at the bottom right. The blue area should turn white (it returns to blue in a while) because it is heat sensitive.

Scanned or copied certificates will show the word "COPY" repeated faintly in the background.

Be sure to check the expiry date. You can check the validity of any tag by entering the unique number into the form on the PIPA website

Upon successful completion of an ADIPS inspection, the inflatable operator is issued with a ‘plate’ or sticker which will be attached to the device.


A risk assessment should be obtained from the operator which identifies the hazards associated with use of the inflatable and outlines control measures to minimise risk of injury.

Common recognised hazards with inflatables include:

  • instability and blowing away in windy conditions;
  • collapse caused by loss of pressure
  • falls from the structure
  • tripping (particularly over anchorages)
  • access to dangerous parts of the machinery
  • electrical hazards

Safety inspections should be carried out by the operator before each use. These should include checking that:

  • The site given over for the inflatable is suitable with adequate crowd control measures
  • Anchorages are intact and ropes not worn or chafed
  • There are no holes or rips in fabric or seams
  • There is sufficient blower pressure to give a firm footing
  • There are no exposed electrical components and no signs of wear and tear on plugs, sockets, cables and switches
  • The blower is correctly positioned, adequately protected and not causing a hazard
  • Sufficient numbers of suitably trained staff are available to supervise people using the equipment

Operators of devices should never:

  • Set the device up near overhead powerlines or obstacles with obvious projections
  • Ignore prescribed height restrictions or exceed maximum occupancy guidelines
  • Let inflatables be used when wind speeds exceed Force 5 on the Beaufort scale.
  • Allow people to play on the equipment unsupervised
  • Allow people to eat, drink or chew gum whilst on the equipment
  • Allow people to play on the step, the front apron or walls
  • Allow people to play on the equipment whilst it is being either inflated or deflated

Under no circumstances must the equipment be used if any defects are found which could possibly lead to danger.

Useful Information

  • BS EN 14960:2006. Inflatable play equipment
  • Fairgrounds and amusement parks: Guidance on safe practice HSG175 1997 ISBN 0 7176 1174 4
  • BS EN 60204 -1: 1992 Safety of machinery. Electrical equipment of machines. Part 1. Specification for general requirements
  • BS EN 60529: 1992 Specification for degrees of protection provided by enclosures (IP Code) BS 7671: 1992 Requirements for electrical installation. IEE Wiring Regulations (Sixteenth edition)


Good forward planning will help you design out a lot of the risks associated with events, however there will always be occasions when plans go wrong and it could be an expensive problem.

Event insurance will help protect you against the unforeseen with cover commonly including:

Public and employers’ liability - cover if you face a claim for compensation payable to a third party, following actual or alleged accidental bodily injury or damage to their property, if the incident happens during your event. This also includes injuries from food poisoning caused by food or drink served as hospitality by you. You can choose the amount covered (usually a minimum of £5 million) and can purchase additional liability cover your legal liability for injury to your own staff or volunteers.

Criminal defence – cover if a criminal action is brought against you for any breach of statute or regulation. Your insurer will pay the defence costs incurred.

Cancellation – cover if the event you’ve arranged has to be cancelled for reasons beyond your control. You’re covered for losses up to the sum insured.

Property damage - cover for loss of or damage to property which you own or for which you’re legally responsible (for example, hired equipment).

Insurance is not a legal requirement though you will find that in practice it is very hard to operate without it.

Suppliers who attend your event such as stallholders, street entertainers etc should also hold their own insurance and it is important that event organisers ask to see these documents.


The licensing of events is governed by the Licensing Act 2003. The types of activity that are subject to licensing are the sale/supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment.

The sale/supply of alcohol means even if you provide a free drink within the price of the ticket, it is still deemed to be a sale.

Regulated entertainment is all types including, plays, films, boxing, wrestling, live and recorded music and dancing.

Late night refreshment is the supply of hot food or drink after 11pm on any night.

You can have one of two main types of licence, a Premises Licence which once obtained does not expire or a Temporary Events Notice.

Premises Licences allow events to take place at any time specified on the licence, where as a Temporary Events Notice is only for one particular event, and there is a limit on the number you can apply for at any one premise a year, currently twelve.

The cost of a Premises Licence can depend on the premises, if it is a village hall and no alcohol is sold then it is free, if alcohol is permitted on the licence there is a fee based on a sliding scale and an annual fee. Temporary Events Notices cost £21 each.

Currently the government is consulting on changes to regulated entertainment which may well alter some of the above provisions.

Note: The Live Music Act 2012 deregulated some forms of live music. If you plan to have unamplified performances at your event e.g. an acoustic singer or choir you will not need a licence. If in doubt contact your local authority licensing service.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Gas fixtures and systems can pose serious risk of combustion and therefore should only be maintained by a competent person who is ‘gas safe’ registered for LPG appliances.

LPG is heavier than air and there can be a build-up of gas at low level if adequate ventilation is not provided, therefore do not store or used LPG indoors (even inside marquees or trailers) and keep them away from naked flames.

There are certain basic requirements for the use and storage of LPG cylinders:

  • All cylinders should be transported, used and stored in the upright position and caged wherever possible to prevent tampering
  • The pipes used to convey the gas should be of the recommended type and in good condition, with hose clips conforming to the manufacturer’s specification (or BS 1389 1986) at each end. Jubilee clips are not acceptable.
  • Spare cylinders should be stored at least 12 metres away from those in use.


If you intend to allow selling to take place at your event - e.g. in the form of a car boot sale, craft fair or farmers’ market - then you could require a special licence from Nottingham City Council. This is due to an ancient Royal Market Charter being in place which allows them to claim dues owed by ‘rival’ market operators. However, this licence is only applicable if the location of your event falls within a 6 and 2/3 miles catchment area of a Nottingham City Council market (e.g. Sneinton, Bulwell and Victoria Centre.) To enquire about your status please contact Nottingham City Council on 0115 915 6970 or email markets.fairs@nottinghamcity.gov.uk. There is a charge for a licence, starting from £4.50 per stall for a commercial venture or a one off fee of £30 for charity ventures.


If you intend to use any form of copyright music in your event e.g. via a public address system, disco or live stage show, then you will need to consider obtaining PPL and PRS licences, as required. The PRS represents composers, songwriters and music publishers and the PPL represents performers and record companies. Each organisation has a tariff structure, charging for licences on the basis of audible square footage, attendances, entrance fees, number of relay points etc. If you use copyright music as part of an event without obtaining the required PRS or PPL licence you are risking a fine and prosecution.


Many events, particularly those held outdoors during the summer, include noisy activities. These may include music, fireworks, fairgrounds, public announcements and generators. Most events like this are occasional, but when events occur regularly at the same site, noise can be annoying to local residents. Your local district council has a legal duty to take action to deal with problems like this.

People who arrange events must consider noise disturbance when they plan the event.

In general the following issues should be considered as part of an event organisation:

  • Music Noise
    • what type of music will be played and is it live or recorded?
    • where will the music be played?
    • what time will the music be played and for how long?
    • where are the nearest houses?
  • Fireworks
    • what time will the display take place?
    • how noisy will the fireworks be?
    • have local residents been advised or invited?
    • where are the nearest houses?
    • will they disturb pets, horses or livestock?
  • Fairgrounds
    • where will the fair be located?
    • will it clash with other music noise?
    • has the operator been informed of any noise issues?
    • what time will it be operating and for how long?
  • Public Address System
    • is the volume controlled?
    • will it be used as little as possible?
    • can it only be heard in the area required?
  • Generators
    • are they necessary - could mains be supplied?
    • can temporary shielding be provided?
    • do they incorporate good silencers?
    • are they situated away from houses?
    • will they only be used when necessary?

In addition to the above, the following steps are recommended to help control noise from events:

  1. Circulate a note to local residents informing them of the event. This note should state the duration and the scheduled time when the event will finish and that the organisers can be contacted during the event by telephone if residents are disturbed by noise. Give the telephone
  2. Take steps to minimise noise emitted from the event. Keep any noise generated at such a level at the boundary of any neighbouring property that it would be unlikely to be a nuisance to the occupier.
  3. Have a nominated person regularly patrol the area, particularly near any houses, during the event to ascertain noise levels. If the music is likely to cause a nuisance then the volume should be reduced.
  4. Take steps to advise patrons leaving the event, especially late at night, to leave quietly and not to unreasonably disturb residents in the neighbourhood.

Larger events involving music may require the employment of a competent noise consultant to monitor sound levels throughout such. If considering running an event such as this you are advised to contact your local district council environmental health service at least one month before the event takes place to discuss your plans and check on any noise monitoring requirements.

Finally, remember that even temporary events can be a source of considerable annoyance and nuisance to neighbours if noise is not controlled to a reasonable level. 

If you, as an organiser of an event, fail to follow the above advice, a noise nuisance may occur; against which the council is legally obliged to take action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. If a nuisance does occur, you may jeopardise your chances of holding similar events in future.

Parades, marches and carnivals

It is the responsibility of organisers of parades, marches and carnivals to provide their own marshalling services, whether through the deployment of volunteers or a paid traffic management company. Notts Police and Nottinghamshire County Council Highways will be able to provide technical advice and guidance to ensure a successful and safe event takes place, however cannot provide physical manpower. Organisers should liaise with both parties at the earliest opportunity to discuss their plans.


Most events should be capable of being carried out without the need for police attendance. However, dependent on the nature and size of the event, police may be involved in planning meetings and/ or attendance on the day. 

The assessment of the need for police attendance will be principally based on the need to discharge the police service’s core responsibilities which are as follows:

  • Protection of life and property;
  • Prevention and detection of crime;
  • Preventing or stopping breaches of the peace;
  • Traffic regulation (within the legal powers provided by statute.);
  • Activation of a contingency plan where there is an immediate threat to life and co-ordination of resulting emergency service activities.

The level of police resources committed to any event and the action undertaken will be proportionate to the assessment of risks posed by the event.

Police may charge for their officers’ attendance at events and organisers will be advised by the police where this appears appropriate. Police, however, recognise the importance of key national and significant local community events of a non-commercial nature and will normally endeavour to provide advice without charge. Early discussion with police by event organisers is strongly advised.

Risk Assessments

It is important when planning your event to complete a written risk assessment.

The aim of a risk assessment is to identify potential hazards to the public, participants and employees attending the event, assess the risks arising from these hazards and then look at appropriate measures to eliminate or control the risks.

A hazard is anything that could cause harm and the risk is the chance high or low, that someone could be harmed by the hazard.

A guide to carrying out a risk assessment:

  1. Identify the Hazards.
    Look for hazards that could cause harm such as: slipping/tripping, moving vehicles, water, chemicals etc.
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how. Look at groups of people who may be affected such as spectators, your staff, contractors etc.
  3. Evaluate the risks. For each risk consider whether or not it can be eliminated completely. If the risk cannot be removed decide what must be done to reduce it to an acceptable level.
  4. Record your findings and implement them.
  5. Review your assessment regularly and update if needed.

Contractors, suppliers and performers involved in your event should supply their own risk assessments. It is important that as event organiser you are aware of the hazards associated with these services and are satisfied that suitable control measures are in place for them to operate safely.

Road Closures

If you are planning any kind of event which may have an effect on the public roads or pavements, Nottinghamshire County Council need to know about it. This includes causing an impact on traffic or parking arrangements, or involve a closure or restriction of the use of a road or pavement.

The Council has responsibility for most of the roads and pavements in the County and has a duty to manage their use. If the impact of an event is not taken into account it could cause disruption to local residents and traffic, and make access to the event difficult. It is illegal to obstruct a public highway without approval. It is important therefore, that appropriate arrangements are made to manage traffic during an event.

The Council will do its best to help your event run smoothly by allowing specific traffic or parking requirements to be put in place and ensuring that things like road works do not disrupt your event.

They will advise you if the event you want to hold requires legal permission or if particular measures should be put in place. The type, size, location and timing of an event will determine what, if any, action is required.

For events that have a minimal impact on traffic flow or parking it may be appropriate for suitably insured organisers to implement traffic and/or parking measures by following guidance provided by the County Council. However, some events may require this to be undertaken by specially trained people.

If a temporary traffic regulation order is required you will need to give 3 months notice for registration of the event and to allow time for the coordination and legal processes to be completed.

Events that are likely to have a major impact on the use of roads or pavements may require 12 months notice, so planning ahead is important.

The Council does not charge to provide advice regarding your event and traffic proposals. However, there is a cost to the County Council to make a traffic regulation order and they usually require the organiser to cover the legal and advertising costs. If you contact the Council with the details of your event they will be able to advise you of these costs.


Event organisers must take into account any security measures required at their event. These will depend on circumstances such as the presence of VIPs, large amounts of cash or valuable equipment and the sale alcohol.

In 2001 the Private Security Industry Act was brought in to raise professional standards within the Security Industry. It established a new organisation called The Security Industry Authority (SIA) which exists to a) oversee the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking certain designated activities and b) manage the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.

If you are employing security staff at your event you must check that they are SIA registered to the appropriate standard.


An event organiser will be expected to provide stewards for their event. The number of stewards required will depend on the size and nature of the event and factors to consider include:

  1. Is the event indoors or outdoors?
  2. What are the likely weather conditions?
  3. What type of event is it, and who are the target audience?
  4. Is alcohol to be sold at the event?
  5. What time does the event operate?
  6. Does the chosen site have hazardous characteristics?

Small scale, community type events may use local helpers and volunteers as stewards, where as for large-scale events it will be necessary to employ stewards provided by a professional company. For any event it is essential that all stewards are well briefed and are easily identifiable. Where applicable the Police may also want to attend the steward’s briefings. It is the event organisers responsibility to ensure all stewards are trained and briefed and there is a clear line of communication.


The HSE’s Guide to health, safety and welfare at pop concerts (the purple guide) sets out guidance for provision of sanitary facilities at outdoor events.

Organisers of events should ensure that adequate sanitary conveniences are provided for the number of people expected and that consideration is given to the location, access, construction and signage. They should not be situated in the immediate vicinity of food stands.

Numbers of conveniences required will depend on the type of the event and the nature of the audience. These figures assume a 50:50 male/female split.

Female conveniences:

  • 1 WC for 100 females

Male conveniences:

  • 1 WC for 100 or fewer males
  • 2 WCs for 101 – 500 males
  • 3 WCs for 501 – 1000 males

The above figures assume an event duration of eight hours. They may be reduced in the following way for shorter duration events.

  • More than 8 hours – 100%
  • Up to 6 hours – 80%
  • Up to 4 hours 75%

Transport and traffic management

Event organisers need to consider how traffic servicing the event will reach the venue and how the visitors will travel on the day. This will form part of the event management plan and needs to identify whether any signs or traffic management will be required, in order that approval can be obtained.

These details need to be set down on maps, plans and text in order that they may be considered for approval or simply to pass on to others helping to organise the event or those taking part. For large events these details may need to be presented to a local authority Safety Advisory Group.

There is no single method which is right or wrong and the method will be influenced by the level of detail being conveyed and the purpose of the information included. Detailed signage proposals for urban areas and at complex junctions require greater detail than many rural locations.

Pre-event information included in publicity and tickets can avert the need for extensive signing by providing directions which include destinations shown on permanent traffic signs.

Information to be conveyed will include transport and traffic routing for event support and participants alike. Where the event itself is to take part on the highway Nottinghamshire County Council will need to agree the location.

Organisers are encouraged to get in touch as early as possible in order that they can give preliminary comments which will inform the planning process.

This is especially important for events which need a route for participants to follow such as cycle/horse rides or running races where route selection will need to be developed through discussion.

The following guidance identifies some of the questions that should be considered in developing the plan, along with the more common standard

Transport Management Plan

  • How will delivery vehicles reach the event site before, during and after the event?
  • How will visitors to the event travel to the venue?
  • Will pre-event publicity and ticket holders’ information provide details of transport options to the venue, recommended routes and details of parking?
  • What car parking arrangements will be made for those using their own transport?
  • For large events will traffic be directed to specific zones and will this relate to their expected direction of approach (e.g. according to home address)?

Traffic Routing

A plan indicating directions of travel for vehicle access and egress from the main road network will explain overall traffic arrangements. This should preferably be map based but diagrammatic forms may also be suitable. It is usually easier to convey this information with maps, plans and diagrams rather than text, although some supplementary text may also help.

  • Can directions be provided in advance using permanent traffic signs?
  • Will multiple entrances be used and an associated colour coding or identifying system be used?
  • Will access to the venue require the restriction of traffic and / or parking on the roads nearby?

Direction Signs 

Where additional temporary direction signs are necessary these need to be pre-planned to identify the signs needed and the appropriate safe locations for placing them.

Plans, Schedules and Sign Faces

It will often be simplest to use a combination of plans, schedules and sign diagrams / illustrations with appropriate cross-referencing. Details should include mounting height and fixing method to ensure that those placing the signs understand what is intended, that they are appropriately equipped and that approved details are used.

Types of Signs

Signs required to convey messages to road users need to conform to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. Some alternative forms of signs may be authorised where these are intended only for participants during the course of an event. These will be supplementary to other information (such as direction arrows indicating a route to be followed during a cycle event). 

Location of Signs

Signage used for traffic control will usually need to be free standing and therefore mounted on frames. Direction signs may make limited use of permanent street furniture e.g. lamp posts. Care is needed in the latter case to ensure that signs do not distract drivers from permanent signs or obstruct the passage of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians. Visibility between road users must not be obstructed and particular care taken to protect sight lines for pedestrians. The size, weight and construction of signs need to be considered to determine the suitability of fixing. Medium sized correx based signs may usually be fixed for short periods using cable ties or string, taking care to ensure that they will not slip to inappropriate mounting heights.


Where signs are located over footways the lower edge should be no less than 2.1 m above ground level. This mounting height should be increased where other modes of transport are permitted including 2.4 m over cycleways.

Working at Height

When fixing signs, attention is needed with regard to working at height. Ladders must not be leant against posts and columns.


Street furniture should not be used where this supports safety critical signage (such as mandatory signs) or has the greatest potential to obstruct pedestrian visibility including: Stop, Give Way, Speed limit entry, other zone entry (e.g. weight limits), white on blue arrows, illuminated bollards, traffic islands and refuges, traffic signal poles, crossing or refuge beacons, chevrons.

After the Event

Immediately after the event all temporary signs and fixings must be removed.

Professional Services

Event organisers are recommended to employ the services of traffic management specialists to plan and design the traffic management and signing for an event. In some cases, especially on or near busy roads suitably qualified and equipped people will need to place, maintain and remove signs. This also applies to the operation of traffic control where the use of temporary signals or stop / go boards is authorised.

Traffic Regulation Orders

If any proposals involve restrictions to traffic (including vehicles, pedestrians, cycles or horses) such as road closures, prohibited turns or no waiting a traffic regulation order will be required. This aspect should be identified as early as possible, and a request supported with the overall traffic management plan.

Permanent Traffic Signals

Some events need permanent traffic signals to be switched off. This should be indicated as part of the detailed traffic management plans. Organisers need to be aware that only the highway authority may turn signals off.


When planning an event you will need to consider what waste will be created - e.g. food waste, packaging or glassware - both before, during and after the day. It is the responsibility of the event organiser to ensure that safe and legal methods of disposal are arranged and that you pay consideration to any negative environmental impact. There are many private waste companies who can provide collection services for a fee.

Useful contacts

Newark & Sherwood
Nottinghamshire Police
East Midlands Ambulance Service
Notts Fire and Rescue Service
Nottinghamshire County Council Highways
Nottinghamshire County Council Emergency Planning



Last Updated on Wednesday, May 8, 2024