Public events safety advice

All large public events in the New Forest, including those in aid of charity, must comply with recognised safety standards.

If you are planning to organise a public event, review our event organiser checklist to make sure you are prepared.

You can take advantage of the advice available from the Safety Advisory Group (SAG). This is a group of relevant agencies, including the council, that can help event organisers to ensure that public safety is paramount.

Event types

The SAG will help with all public events, including:

  • fetes and fairs
  • open air concerts and music festivals
  • trade shows
  • horse shows, agricultural shows, dog shows, car or caravan shows
  • open air entertainment including theatre, opera and historic reenactments
  • sporting events
  • cycling events
  • processions, marches, parades and carnivals
  • bonfire and firework displays
  • street parties.

Events during COVID-19

Public Health and the Government currently advise that large gatherings shouldn't take place.

However, should you choose to continue with an event, you will be referred to the SAG to ensure adherence at all times to the strictest public health precautions. You will be required to demonstrate that all the necessary COVID-secure measures are in place and all event applications will be scrutinised and reviewed on a case by case basis.

In the lead up to an event, should there be changes in Government legislation, national guidance, infection rates or a concerning cumulative impact of events in the locality , this could result in the requirement to significantly scale down or cancel the event.

Any event is costly to organise and set up and you must consider at a very early stage the viability of holding an event where groups of people gather. Any gathering can be a source for cross infection, which could also lead to a spike in COVID cases in a particular area. There may also be a financial cost from the late cancellation of an event which may not be covered by insurance.

The impact of COVID-19 is constantly changing and this is reflected in legislation and guidance produced by the Government to keep us all safe.

Notify the SAG of an event

If you have an event proposed for 2021, please do not submit a SAG notification at this time.

Any notifications received for 2021 will not be processed. This is because risk assessments, event plans and any accompanying documents may not be suitable for a date many months into the future.

If your proposed event is for a date in January, February or March 2021, please contact events@nfdc.gov.uk to discuss in the first instance.

You can notify the SAG about your upcoming event using the online form below.

You should notify SAG at the earliest opportunity. You should give at least 3 months notice of your event and submit your SAG notification with as many documents as you have prepared. This will give us time to understand the basic details and areas of planning that may require additional advice.

When planning an event involving more than 10,000 people a minimum of 5 months notice should be given.

For further guidance, download the Event Notification Procedures document below.

Icon for pdf Event Notification Procedures and the Safety Advisory Group [1.25MB]

Assessment of your event

The SAG members will be emailed with your event details and plans provided. The event organiser will receive an acknowledgement of this.

Each event will then be risk assessed to determine the level of assistance that can be offered.

Any necessary advice and guidance will usually be given on a one-to-one basis from a SAG member to the organiser.

Some smaller events and events that do not pose any specific risks will not require the SAG members to meet. In more complex cases or where considered appropriate, the SAG members can meet as a group or sub-group to discuss a case.

If an event is identified as likely to compromise public safety, the appropriate SAG agency may need to consider action to prevent the event from taking place unless safety improvements are made. In this case, organisers will be contacted directly by the agency.

After your event

The SAG welcomes post-event feedback in relation to notified events. This can be provided up to 28 days after an event has been held.

A feedback box is provided on the public events register. This is for general comments and experiences only, and will help with improving the safety of events in the future.

If you have a complaint that you would like followed up, contact the relevant council department as necessary. If your complaint relates to crime and disorder offences, contact Hampshire Police.

Event safety information

Visit the Health and Safety Executive website for guidance on running events safely.

Visit the GOV.UK website for information on organising a street party.

You can download several documents related to safety at events below. These should not be a substitute for existing technical guidance or documents otherwise available.

Icon for pdf The Use of Stewards and Marshals [114.99KB]

Icon for pdf Fire Safety at Public Events [15.57KB]

Icon for pdf Event Safety Guide [1.25MB]

Icon for pdf Organising Bonfire and Firework Displays [955.45KB]

Icon for pdf Celebrating with Bonfires and Fireworks - A Community Guide [324.93KB]

Public register of events

We maintain public registers of events in New Forest.

View a register of public events listed by the SAG using the link below.

About the SAG

Public events can enhance community life, but the potential for risk to public safety and environmental damage is increased if they are poorly planned. Proper planning and management by the event organiser is essential to reduce those risks.

The Safety Advisory Group co-ordinates the efforts of relevant agencies to provide advice to anyone who wishes to organise an event within the New Forest area.

The aims and objectives of the SAG are to:

  • encourage high levels of safety and welfare at events by giving advice and guidance to event organisers
  • foster good working relationships with event organisers
  • share and promote best practice
  • encourage co-operation between its members to ensure that public safety is a top priority for event organisers.

The SAG is made up of core members and invited representatives from other agencies when needed. The core members are officers from:

  • New Forest District Council (Environmental Health, Licensing and Development Control)
  • Hampshire County Council (Highways, Emergency Planning and Public Health)
  • Hampshire Constabulary
  • Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services
  • South Central Ambulance Service
  • Forestry Commission
  • The New Forest National Park.

The Chair of the SAG may invite additional people, for example:

  • the event organiser
  • the licence holder
  • public transport providers
  • town centre managers
  • Primary Care Trust.

Contact details

For further information or queries about events or the SAG, contact us using the details below.

Email: events@nfdc.gov.uk

Christa Ferguson
Chair of Safety Advisory Group
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
Lyndhurst
SO43 7PA

Check dates, permissions and licences when organising a public event.

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