You have booked the speaker, rented a room, recruited a team of volunteers and prepared a marketing plan. If that wasn’t enough, you also need to make sure your event doesn’t fall foul of various legal issues. The exact legal requirements of the event vary from place to place and the rules that apply depend on the type of event. The list below indicates the main questions to think about, but you should also take advice from the administrator of the organization or organizations involved in your event. If you are unsure about any of these, you can discuss them with your institution, as they should have experience.
If you are going to invite the public to see a play, watch a film, or listen to live or recorded music, or something similar, you must do so in duly licensed premises. The license will determine exactly what activities are permitted and between what hours. Don’t assume you can hold a concert past 11 p.m. without checking that the license allows it. If the premises don’t have the correct license, you can get what’s called a Temporary Event Notice, which is actually a short-term license. For more information, contact your town hall.
The sale or supply of alcohol is also regulated by the establishment’s license. Not only do you need to have the correct license agreement, but you also need to ensure that anyone present is a personal licensee. Penalties for breaking the rules on the supply of alcohol can be very severe, so be very careful in this area.
Health and Safety Requirements
It is essential to understand who is responsible for health and safety matters and to carry out the right risk assessments.
The site will be responsible for health and safety related to the premises, such as tripping hazards due to worn floors or emergency evacuation. But event organizers take responsibility for event equipment, such as tripping hazards caused by speaker power cables or other equipment brought to the venue.
You will need to perform risk assessments and document them. Think about the kinds of things that could go wrong and the possible outcomes.
You must take out liability insurance for your event. What happens if an elderly visitor to your event slips in the parking lot and breaks his leg? Or if a piece of equipment falls on someone and injures them? These things happen, so you need to have the right insurance in place. Contact your institution to see what is covered by their insurance and what is not.
Usually, you’ll only have volume issues if your event features a particularly loud group or is late in the evening. Some premises are subject to noise ordinances, which means they are legally required to measure noise and keep it below a certain level. Other premises should give due care and attention to their neighbours.
All new premises are required to provide full access and facilities for people with disabilities, but older premises are not. Event organizers are not required to ensure access for people with disabilities, but it is good practice to do so where possible. Where this is not possible, advertising should point this out.
If you serve food to the public, it must have been prepared and stored in accordance with food hygiene regulations. A person with a food hygiene certificate should assume responsibility for catering management. Premises regularly used for the preparation of food are inspected from time to time by the local council.
If you are planning a major event and expect to have enough parking space, it is wise to talk to the police about other possible arrangements. If you need to keep the sidewalks clear on certain roads, you can hire traffic cones from the police for this purpose.
Your organization must have a child protection policy and your event must comply with it. If not, or if it is a private activity, you should be aware of child protection issues. At the very least, any volunteer working with children must have been checked by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
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