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Event planning

If you are an event organiser please refer to our information for event organisers section. Depending on the type of event you are planning you should find the following information of help in:

  • giving general guidance around safety and event planning
  • signposting you to where more specific advice and guidance is available
  • providing specific points of contact in order for you to discuss your event and where permissions and/or licences may apply

We will maintain and update information contained in these webpages as required. However, it is the responsibility of the event organiser to ensure they obtain competent advice and that this is current and up to date. Walsall Council cannot be held responsible for information that is provided by outside organisations, agencies or bodies and where industry standards and guidance has changed.

Please refer to the sections relevant to your event and the points of contact provided.

Information for event organisers

The following information provides event organisers with general guidance over event safety and what to consider, as well as providing links to other organisation's websites and, documents which may be of use.

While every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information provided on this site is accurate, no guarantees for the currency or accuracy of information are made. Walsall Council and and its partner agencies is not responsible for the content of any other websites which this site provides links to and accepts no liability or responsibility for the information contained on other websites or provided by other organisations.

Planning for and managing a safe event

Dependent on the type and scale of your event, the following sections will help you as an event organiser to consider what level of planning and management is required. This information will also assist when completing your event planning application form. The information provided covers key points and, where possible, reference is made to more detailed information either through web links or publications.

Event safety

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance on event safety both through their web-site and guidance documents, many of which can be downloaded for free. Guidance documents can also be purchased from HSE publications. The HSE and the local authority (depending upon the type of event) are the national regulator and enforcing body for health and safety in the UK. They have the power to investigate any accidents or dangerous occurrences and can prosecute those believed to have breached health and safety legislation where appropriate.

The HSE have created a micro site which provides useful information including responsibilities of an event organiser along with information on specific topic areas and resources. Find out more about event safety on the HSE website.

The resources section includes important guidance such as:

HSG154: Managing crowds safely -  (available as a free download or can be purchased)

The HSE guidance document, HSG 195 event safety guide (known as the 'purple guide') has now been withdrawn. The HSE has replaced this with the information contained on its microsite within its website.

In response to the withdrawal of the HSE's event safety guide, the events industry forum (EIF) has made available a new 'purple guide' following consultation with the HSE and representatives from the events industry. This guide is only available on-line and is available following payment of a yearly subscription. Further details are available on the purple guide website.

For new event organisers or for large, complex events or where events have a high level of risk, the purple guide is an essential reference for planning and managing a safe event. The purple guide not only provides a greater level of detail on the sections covered here but, also gives more comprehensive information on sections such as venue design and site safety; working at height; children and young people; animal welfare and gives examples and case studies. The council recommends that event organisers consider this as part of their initial planning and organisers should contact EIF Ltd if they wish to enquire over the suitability of the information contained within this guide.

Event management plan (EMP)

Preparing an overall EMP helps an organiser and all those involved understand what the event consists of, what safety arrangements will be in place and how the event will be managed.

How detailed an EMP needs to be will depend on the type and scale of the event and EMPs can take various formats. All event organisers have a responsibility to plan for the safety of all those taking part in their event, including not only the visiting public but those working on/or at the event. It brings together all information and should be able to cover the relevant topic areas as per the HSE’s event safety guide.

This should include who will be responsible for safety at the event, what action will be taken in an emergency and how people will communicate. SAG can scrutinise EMPs and advise event organisers over any area that should be considered.

Risk assessment

All event organisers should consider making an assessment of the significant hazards and risks around their event and what they will do to stop accidents and incidents occurring.

A risk assessment is a careful examination of what at the event could cause harm to people so that you can decide whether you have already got appropriate controls to prevent the hazard occuring or whether you need to do more to prevent the potential harm.

Risk assessments can take various formats and the HSE’s website provides further guidance in this area.

Organisers will need to obtain copies of risk assessments from any persons, companies or organisations who will be working at their event or providing some sort of service to the event.

Crowd safety and safe capacities

Event organisers should consider how many people they expect will attend their event and how crowds will be managed. How this is planned for and managed depends on many factors, for example, what type of event it will be; what access arrangements will be required; is it a free event (ticketed or not) or paid entry; will it attract a static or passing crowd; what type of audience is expected (for example, young, old, family or mixed groups); what type of activities will take place and, who is performing.

The location and layout of the event site is important as this could limit numbers and safe evacuation. For large scale events or, where a venue or site has restricted access, event organisers should consider estimating the safe capacity for the site and the time it will take to evacuate people to safety, along with access for the emergency services.

Organisers should then plan to manage this which will include what level of security and stewarding/marshals are required.

The HSE has produced guidance for managing crowds safely, which can be downloaded for free.

Fire safety

The potential for a serious fire should be assessed and, in some cases, event organisers should consider undertaking a fire risk assessment.

When an event takes place, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 comes in to play. Dependent on what and where your event is taking place, there is guidance available from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Take a look at the fire safety risk assessment guides and you can download the relevant guide for free.

Examples of areas to consider are: food stands and concessions; electrical equipment; flammable materials and products; poor waste management; arson; etc.  

Risk assessments for the food concessions and market stalls should always be completed and made available for inspection when, and if required.

You can download the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) fire risk assessment templates for free.

Fire safety also impacts when looking at safe capacities and the need to prepare an emergency plan and evacuation plan. Fire safety is also a major consideration when organising a bonfire and fireworks event.

Additional information relating to specific areas of fire safety can be found in the relevant sections below.

To notify West Midlands Fire Service of any major event that may impact upon fire safety of any relevant persons; guidance on fire risk assessments; crowd capacities and evacuations in the event of an emergency, telephone 0121 380 7500 or contact them by email.  

First aiders

At indoor venues or stadia, first-aid facilities are likely to have been agreed. However, the historical number of first aiders provided at an existing venue does not replace the need to carry out an assessment for each event. Some venues will be in multiple use. In such cases, the overall provision of medical, ambulance and first-aid resources should take account of all activities taking place within that venue.

At events attended by a very young audience and at large events or street carnivals, the number of first aiders may need to be significantly increased or, the ratio of first aiders to professional ambulance workers, doctors or nurses altered. In these circumstances, the ambulance provision required should be discussed with the local NHS ambulance service, who may recommend special requirements. This may include the provision of an ambulance control unit or an ambulance emergency equipment vehicle. Further information is provided by the St John Ambulance Service.

Where persons are employed, you are required to assess the level of first aid provision. Further advice is available fron the HSE.

Temporary structures

Event organisers should consider the safety of any temporary structure which will be used at their event. The term temporary structure includes marquees; staging (open and enclosed); temporary stands/seating; barriers; ramps; etc. The design; intended use; location; ground/site conditions and possible weather conditions are all important factors to consider.

For large scale or major events, detailed information should be prepared including how any structure should be set up, used and taken down.

You can find useful information on the hiring of marquees on the MUTA website.

MUTA members sign up to a Code of Practice requiring them to be legal, decent, honest and truthful. They are obliged to provide a professional standard of workmanship, to check all their own work, and to maintain public liability insurance of at least £1million.

They must follow MUTA's industry-leading best practice guide and submit themselves to independent inspection to ensure that they do. Members who fail their inspection are required to make immediate improvements; failure to do so results in expulsion.

The use of barriers requires careful consideration based on their intended use, for example; are they to be used for queuing, to demarcate an area or to help control crowds.

Funfairs and children’s rides

Owners/operators should be able to provide evidence that their rides have been independently inspected on an annual basis through the Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme (ADIPS).

Event organisers can ask for copies of certification for any ride to be used and further information can be obtained through the ADIPS website.

As an event organiser it is your responsibility to check that the ride provider has the necessary paperwork in terms of maintenance and certificates of Thorough Examination (where applicable).

The HSE’s website also contains information and guidance for health and safety guidance for fairgrounds which is free to download.


The above term is used to cover items such as bouncy castles as well as other similar types of equipment. Event organisers should ask for evidence that equipment has been independently inspected under one of two schemes:

  • PIPA Inflatable Inspection Scheme which is endorsed by the HSE
  • ADIPS (see above)
  • The Performance Textiles Association (MUTA) also has information on the safe use of inflatables

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have issued a safety alert over a certain type of blower fan used with inflatables. If your event is going to include the use of inflatables you should read this alert.

Catering and food safety

All catering businesses, including mobile catering, are required by law to register with their local authority. It is advisable for event organisers to ask about the level of training staff have in relation to food hygiene and safety, along with requesting copies of food hygiene certification for those working on the event. The business should be able to provide you with a copy of their last Environmental Health inspection report, which will have information about the business hygiene rating. The Environmental Health team recommends that only businesses with a hygiene rating of three or greater are used. Information on the hygiene rating of a food business is available at the Food Standards Agency food hygiene rating scheme website.

More information is available on our Environmental Health webpages, including information on mobile trading.

Dependent on the type of unit that is being used, the Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) provides guidance through their website. This includes best practice guidance, of which, it would be prudent to follow and the guides can be downloaded for free as follows.

If a BBQ is being used, then this leaflet on BBQ fire safety would be of assistance to ensure that an event, utilising a BBQ, is ran safely.

Fireworks and bonfire displays

If your display is planning to provide food and/or a BBQ, then please make reference to the catering and food safety information provided in the relevant section.

To notify West Midlands Fire Service of any major event that may impact upon fire safety of any relevant persons; guidance on fire risk assessments; crowd capacities and evacuations in the event of an emergency, telephone 0121 380 7500 or contact them by email.  

Road races and fun runs

Where an organiser wishes to hold an event on the highway, this will require consultation with the council’s traffic management service who will consider not only the safety issues but, any impact on the highway network.

Where a traffic management plan has been agreed and a road closure is required, the council will put in place any appropriate legal documentation, for which a fee may be applicable in certain circumstances. The actual implementation of any road closures will be the responsibility of the event organiser who must use the services of an approved traffic management company.

Further guidance is included in UK Athletics' risk assessment for road races.

Street arts, carnivals and processions

Information in the above section can also relate to road closures for carnivals and street art events. There is a long tradition of street arts and processions in the UK and further information can be found from the following organisations:

Due to the nature of road closures and the highway being utilised as a parade route, it is imperative that the Fire Service is informed as it may affect attendance to operational incidents.

Your nearest fire station can be found by using the West Midlands Fire Service website.

This advice also applies for major road races, fun runs and street parties.

Street parties

If planning a street party, you should contact the council's traffic management section early in the process to discuss the suitability of the proposed location. Where a road closure is necessary, the guidance above relating to temporary traffic management arrangements apply. Information on planning a street party is also available through the following agencies and organisations:

  • The HSE website. Enter ‘street parties’ in the search facility to find general information plus information dispelling some of the myths behind health and safety being used to stop such events.

Stunts, fights and other potentially hazardous activities

This concerns such events as circuses. Take a look at the HSE's advice.

Such events must be done by a professional stunt performer and be done in a careful and controlled manor by a competent person and subject to a process of thorough risk assessment.

Various type of events can be organised on or near water and can either be leisure based or of a sporting/competitive nature. For many water-based sports there is a national governing body (NGB) which can advise over running a safe event and the relevant NGB should be contacted for advice.

Permission from the land owner is required and this could be a private land owner or a public body. For most canal/inland waterway events, contact the Canal and River Trust.

The Outdoor Swimming Society provides guidance over safety, but event organisers need to ensure their event is planned and managed appropriately based on the whole event, e.g. taking into account issues such as access/egress, emergencies, dealing with participants and spectators, etc.


Your event may require a licence if deemed to include ‘regulated entertainment’ and this would require an application to be made to our licensing service for either a premise licence (this can be time limited if required) or a temporary event notice (TEN). This covers a wide range of entertainment as well as the sale or consumption of alcohol and the provision of late night refreshment (after 11pm).


Dependant on the scale and type of event organisers may wish to consider obtaining insurance. This does not make an event safer, but will provide appropriate cover if there is a claim made against the event organiser.

Where an event organiser employs contracts in a service, or has external organisations involved, copies of their public liability insurance should be obtained along with copies of their employers liability insurance.

Government guidance

Government has produced a ‘can do’ guide for event organisers and this relates to various types of events. Although it is not specific to open air/outdoor events, event organisers may find some aspects of guidance useful dependent on the type of event being planned. View the 'can do' guide.


How an event is publicised can make a big impact, not only on attendance, but also as to what the expectations are for those attending. Important information can be provided to people before they visit; for example; conditions of entry, parking or public transport provision, preparing for weather conditions, etc.

In addition to the above, event organisers may or will need to take into consideration other elements of safety when planning their event, and should refer to the information on the HSE’s website and the HSE’s event industry forum's online 'purple guide' (12 month subscription required). This will include considering:

  • level of provision required around welfare and sanitary facilities including accessible toilets, baby changing, etc.
  • medical cover/facilities
  • traffic movements within and around the sitew
  • waste management (litter and refuse and collection)
  • lost children policy/procedures
  • noise management
  • if special effects are to be used (pyrotechnics, lasers, etc)

Placarding (notices and posters)

Walsall Council has a policy on the display of posters and signs on council land including streets, street furniture and lamp columns. Signage on non-council land will require the permission of the land owner.  

Event organisers will have to meet the agreed criteria in order to be able to display posters and signs. You can download a copy of the criteria, application form and guidance notes for completion.

Parks and open spaces

Events that take place in parks and public open spaces are subject to an application process and requires up to six months notice dependent on the type and scale of event.

Safety advisory group (SAG) meeting dates 2020

All meetings are held within the Council House, Lichfield Street, Walsall and commence at 10am:

  • 14 January 2021
  • 25 February 2021
  • 25 March 2021
  • 29 April 2021
  • 27 May 2021
  • 24 June 2021
  • 29 July 2021
  • 26 August 2021
  • 30 September 2021 - bonfire and firework events
  • 28 October 2021 - Christmas events
  • 25 November 2021
  • 16 December 2021

Useful contact information

Walsall Council Traffic Management Service

Call: 01922 654646

Contact Graham Wallis by email   

For events which take place on the highway/footpath or have an impact on the highway

Walsall Council Clean & Green Services

For events which take place in Council parks, open spaces and countryside sites and application process

Walsall Council Licensing Service

Call: 01922 653050
Contact Licensing by email

For events that may require licensing as regulated entertainment and provision of placards (event advertising signs and posters)

Walsall Council Environmental Health Service

For food , health and safety advice, noise from music - live, recorded or reproduced.

Walsall Council Building Control Service

Call: 01922 652600

For advice over structures such as staging, temporary grandstands, barriers, etc

West Midlands Police

Call: 101 and ask for the Help Desk
Contact West Midlands Police by email

Event organisers can contact their local Police team over guidance on event and ctdd safety. Please note that West Midlands Police do not put in place road closures on behalf of event organisers and the use of the public highway should be discussed with Walsall Council Traffic Management service.

West Midlands Ambulance Service

To notify the Ambulance Service of any major events that have large numbers attending or potential risk of injury and discuss appropriate medical provision.

If you have any comments to make over the information contained in this site then please see below.

Contact us by email

Telephone: 01922 658460