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Welcome to our new website!

You’ve probably noticed that things have changed a bit. We haven’t finished updating all our pages yet, so some sections are still using this design. Please bear with us...

Health and safety

The organisation of a public event is a considerable responsibility. Organisers must properly manage, supervise and monitor the event to ensure the safety of people working, the public attending the venue and any others who may be affected by the event.

This responsibility extends to avoiding damage to property, fear or alarm to the public, or disruption to the local community.

Event organisers bear moral, social and also legal responsibilities. Organisers will be liable for the consequences if things go wrong, particularly if there are defects in the planning or control of the event.

It is not the responsibility of the police to ensure public safety at an event. The police are responsible for maintaining the peace, preventing breaches of the law and taking action against lawbreakers, but the event organisers must make suitable arrangements to deal with safety issues irrespective of any police presence.

It is recommended that event organisers familiarise themselves with relevant health and safety guidance on events and have access to a competent safety advisor.

Due to the many different types of events it is not possible to predict all of the health and safety requirements your event will have. There will be various activities which require specific and individual precautions, but within this section are some key principles which are common to most situations.

No amount of planning will eliminate every possible risk associated with your event, and so insuring yoru event is necessary. All events taking place in Southwark's public outdoor spaces require public liability insurance as a minimum. For more information please visit London Events Toolkit.

More information

For more detailed information on the health and safety issues around public events, please visit the website of the Health & Safety Executive

Of particular use is the publication 'The Event Safety Guide: a guide to health, safety and welfare at music and similar events' (HGS195 / ISBN: 0717624536) which is available from the HSE books site.

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Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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