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Our guide to organising an event

If you are holding an event you need to understand that you are legally responsible for the safety of anyone attending. When you plan your event you should:

  • create a planning timetable including key dates
  • identify a team of people to help plan, organise and run the event, including who is taking responsibility for public safety
  • be clear about what you can achieve on your budget
  • consider the numbers and types of people who will be on site including staff, contractors as well as customers
  • submit an event management plan (EMP) which gives a clear responsible person and chain of command
  • carry out a risk assessment to ensure all aspects of public safety.  The risk assessment must include a separate Covid-19 risk assessment that covers the areas of social distancing, hand washing, cleaning and test & trace
  • consider whether your event will cause disruption to traffic and/or the local community
  • arrange sufficient public liability insurance and insurance if the event is cancelled at short notice or a Covid-19 outbreak is found to be linked to your event.

A guide has been produced to help support anyone looking to run an event in Oxfordshire and contains practical advice on issues such as safety, licensing and traffic management. View the event safety guide here. The government has produced similar guidance for the running of community events and also a guide to organising a street party.

View the guidance for obtaining a road closure for a social event or street party here.

You may require a licence for your event if it includes the sale or supply of alcohol, the provision of late night refreshment or regulated entertainment. For more information see our alcohol and entertainment licensing pages or for small events see our information on temporary event notices.

As the event organiser you are responsible for ensuring the event goes ahead safely and in compliance with the law including any Covid-19 requirements in place at the time of the event.

In order to limit the spread of infection during the Covid-19 pandemic and to be able to provide accurate test and trace information to Public Health England you should limit the numbers of people at your event to manageable numbers for the space available.

You may wish to refer to the government guidance on working safely during COVID-19 (performing arts) and the Event Industry Forum has also produced some guidance on safe outdoor events during the COVID-19 pandemic

On 5 October the Director of Public Health, Ansaf Azhar sent a letter to Town and Parish Councils about Covid-19 measures for public events taking place in the district. There is also a checklist for public events during the pandemic which you may find useful.

Safety Advisory Group

The Council hosts a Safety Advisory group (SAG) that brings together all agencies that have an interest in safety and environmental impact of public events. The SAG meets quarterly or when demand requires. It is a forum to provide advice to organisers and other agencies; it will not plan an event for organisers nor will it confirm that an event is safe to go ahead. A note will be kept of any actions arising as a result of the meeting, and if concerns are raised it is recommended that you confirm this to your insurer. 

Event organisers are required to complete and send the event notification form together with the EMP and event specific risk assessment(s) to at least four months before the proposed date of the event.

Event organisers will be contacted to invite them to attend the next SAG meeting if any agency believes this will be beneficial. Event organisers may be required to send additional documentation before the meeting, such as the site plan, traffic management plan, details of insurance cover, stewarding or security plan, first aid, catering and noise monitoring systems as appropriate.

Contact us - Licensing

01235 422556
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

South Oxfordshire District Council
135 Eastern Avenue
Milton Park
OX14 4SB