Event organisers summary guide

Every event will be different. Some considerations will be the same. We have summarised guidance for your consideration when planning an event and preparing your risk assessments and safety management plans. This event guidance is not exhaustive. You are advised to seek your own professional advice.

Further guidance is available from:

Enquire about organising an event

If you don't have all the details for your event yet but want to talk to someone you can use our enquire about organising an event form before completing the full event application form.

Apply to hold an event

You should make an application to hold an event by completing the event application form. You must make your application at least 90 days before the event. Our Event Manager will advise you, after reading your application, whether it is necessary to enter into a Licence to Occupy the Council’s Land before you can proceed with your event. You may need to make additional separate applications to other departments and agencies to gain the appropriate licences and permissions to hold your event. 

Event application form

For events on land owned or managed by Cheshire East Council

You should read the terms and conditions before you submit your application to hold an event on council land. We will ask you to confirm that you have read them to allow you to complete your application.

Tatton Park - all enquiries for the park should be made direct to the team at Tatton. For further information visit the Tatton Park web pages

Delivering “Covid Secure” events

A Covid-19 risk assessment must be completed and returned for all events. This should include all reasonably practicable steps that will be taken to ensure the event will be “Covid secure” including:

  • How social distancing will be maintained: access including queuing, circulation around site and egress
  • Cleaning protocols and procedures that will be implemented
  • Personal hygiene arrangements – provision of handwashing and/or sanitisation stations
  • Details of track and trace system(s) to be used
  • Other controls as appropriate

HSE guide: what to include in your Covid-19 risk assessment

Insurance and risk

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Event organisers and their contractors are required to hold relevant insurances including:

  • Public and products liability to a minimum of £5,000,000
  • Fairground operators are required to hold a minimum of £10,000,000 in public liability cover.
  • Employers liability to a minimum of £10,000,000  

Contractors might include:

  • entertainers
  • exhibitor
  • marquee hire
  • facilities providers such as power supply, water and toilets 
  • caterers

All documentation must be produced at least 8 weeks before the Event. Failure to comply may result in the Council refusing to grant permission for the holding of the event.

There are multiple acts and regulations that govern health and safety in events. Along with the moral reasons for ensuring that everyone at an event stays safe, there can be legal and finance consequences for serious breaches.

A key part of ensuring safety at your event is the risk assessment. This isn’t about simply giving everyone PPE! But assessing the actual risks posed and putting control measures into place that will mitigate the likelihood and/or consequences of the hazards.

Five steps of risk assessment:

  • Identify the hazard
  • Decide who might be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risks and decide on any precautions that need to be taken:
  • Record the findings and implement them. Findings should be  communicated to all relevant parties (staff, volunteers, contractors etc)
  • Review of assessment

Further information is available from our environmental health team and the Health and Safety Executive guide to risk assessment

Good management of fire safety at a temporary or permanent open-air event or venue will help to ensure that any fire safety matters that arise will always be addressed effectively. The identification of the ‘responsible person’ is imperative.

Organisers must ensure that an adequate fire risk assessment is in place for the event.  A fire risk assessment is an organised and methodical look at the event, the activities carried on there and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the event site. The aims of the fire risk assessment are:

  • To identify the fire hazards
  • To reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as reasonably practicable.
  • To decide what physical fire precautions and management arrangements policies are necessary to ensure the safety of people in your premises if a fire does start.

The fire risk assessment should include risk posed by all contractors including where applicable, caterers.

Event organisers should ensure that adequate portable firefighting equipment is available.

See Government information on fire risk assessments

Accidents and incidents

Event organisers must record the details of any accident, incident or near miss that occurs during an event and that a report is made to the venue owner within 24 hours of the event concluding.

Reports must include details such as, dates, times, full names and addresses involved, venue, activity, details of the incident, weather conditions, medical reports from First Aiders.

For all accidents or incidents that are RIDDOR reportable, details/reports must be given to the enforcement authority.



Catering facilities

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Event organisers should take steps to ensure that traders attending their events have the competency to do so.

As a minimum, organisers should:

  • Check that caterers are registered with local authority (this is a legal requirement)
  • Check traders “Scores on the doors” food rating via the food standards agency website
  • Ask questions about Training, experience and competence
  • You may want to ask about trade memberships such as the National Caterers Association (NCASS)

We recommend that you collect the following information for each trader:

  • Food management system (HACCP / SFBB)
  • Where appropriate obtain gas and electric safety certificates
  • Public, product and employer’s liability Insurances
  • Risk assessments
  • Details of portable firefighting equipment.

See additional food safety information food safety information from our Environmental Health team

You need a licence to sell alcohol.  You may need a Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice to sell alcohol. The event organiser needs to check the licensing arrangements with the venue owner for any event that is to sell alcohol.


Entertainment and trade

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You need a licence for 

  • live or recorded music
  • plays
  • films
  • boxing or wrestling
  • indoor sporting events
  • performance of dance by either artistes or the general public

Event organisers should check the licence conditions with the venue owner. You can apply to our Licensing team for an entertainment premises licence or temporary event notice.

Performers should have their own insurance and risk assessments.

For an event to include animals you must have a licence from DEFRA This specifies where the animals will be kept and the arrangements to be made to ensure their security. Animals should normally be penned in a separate area unless they are used to being close to people/petted. They should be protected from unwelcome attention and in particular from excited children who may not realise that their behaviour may cause distress to an animal. All animals should be provided with adequate food and drink and veterinary assistance should be readily available should this be required.

We as Cheshire East Council, do not permit circus animals or any wild performing animals on our land. We do not allow live gold fish as prizes at fairgrounds or other events on our land.

You may have a carnival or procession within a venue boundary without additional permissions. For your procession to go on the road or highway you will need to apply to our Highways team for a temporary road closure.

The Civil Aviation Authority have a register for drone operators.

You must contact the land owner to use a drone and request permission to film. To fly, take-off or land a drone on land owned or managed by Cheshire East Council you will need permission and a minimum public liability insurance cover of £5million.

If it is proposed to conduct a street collection only, with no stalls, attractions or other features present (in which case, this activity would be classed as a full public event) then an application should be made via the Cheshire East Licensing Department  

See our markets for further details

Car boot sales – these can be organised in different ways:

  1. (a) Pitches are rented to outside individuals and the organisers are not involved in selling;
  2. (b) The organisers are involved in selling.

There are two types of sellers at car boot sales:

  1. (a) Traders;
  2. (b) Private sellers.

Buyers have legal rights under consumer protection legislation when dealing with traders. A person may be considered by law to be a trader if:

  1. (a) The goods offered were bought specifically to sell;
  2. (b) The individual regularly sells goods at sales.

All goods should be correctly described and be safe. For further advice contact Cheshire East Trading Standards. 



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Whenever fairground rides or attractions form either part of an event or are the main “attraction” the following should be provided to Cheshire East Council.

  • Number of devices or attractions
  • Details of device controllers
  • ADIPS ID number and current DOC for each device
  • Showman’s 9/1 – guild membership
  • £1m Excess cover
  • Risk assessment for each device

All documentation can be submitted via the event application form or the document upload form on the application page. This should be done 12 weeks before the start of the event.

The Health and Safety Executive have guidance for operators of fairground equipment and inflatables.

Risk Management Partners have guidance on inflatables.

Where temporary structures are to be used organisers should take steps to ensure that contractors have appropriate skills, knowledge and experience.

Contractors should provide risk assessments and method statements (RAMS) along with proof of insurances (public, product and employers). RAMS should include actions to be taken in extreme weather conditions (e.g. high winds, rain, thunderstorms). 

As an organiser you must ensure that the roles and duties  Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) are fulfilled.  This includes ensuring that a construction phase plan should be completed for the build and take down periods of the event. Example of an event Construction phase plan.

It is recommended that marquee suppliers are members of the Made-Up Textiles Association Made-Up Textiles Association or other trade association.

All structures on site should be clearly identified on the site plan.

You must erect stalls and gazebos according to the manufactures instructions. The structure must be correctly anchored and adequately spaced and must comply with fire regulations.

You should identify the location of these structures on a site plan.

The event organiser should review the use of these structures in adverse weather conditions including wind and heavy rain or as a shelter from the sun.



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Public announcement systems can be a vital channel of communication with the audience. Your PA system should have an adequate output for your anticipated audience. Your announcers must have a script and vantage point or overview of all event activities.

You must test your PA system before the beginning of your event.

The event organiser and PA announcer should agree in advance of the event an emergency procedure for announcements about safety and major incidents. You may use coded announcements to alert security and stewards to take up agreed emergency positions.

Loud hailers

You should provide loud hailers at strategic points. They can be used as a back-up if the PA system fails.

The event organiser is responsible for the on-site communications with contractors, stewards, security, traders and event staff. Event briefings are advisable prior to, during and after the event. Stewards should be aware of their responsibilities in the briefing and the full emergency procedures for the event.

Methods of communication may be face to face meetings, mobile phones, mobile radios, event briefing notes and event management and emergency plans.

You can use appropriate floodlighting to supplement the venues on-site permanent facilities.

You must erect and test floodlights before the event begins.

You should position floodlights appropriately so the light work well, but don't impede the movement of the crowd. You must put barriers around floodlight structures and power supplies.

Event organisers should ensure that adequate welfare provision is provided from the event build, throughout the event to the take down.   

The requirements for the type, numbers, positioning, servicing and maintenance of sanitary facilities is based on a number of factors including: anticipated event attendance, audience profile and event duration.

Toilet facility requirements by gender

  • 1 toilet per 100 females
  • 1 toilet per 500 males, plus 1 urinal per 150 males

When an event has no history a ratio of 50:50 should be used to calculate toilet facilities.

Where possible hand washing facilities at a ratio of one per five toilets should be provided, with no less than one per ten toilets.  Suitable hand drying facilities should also be provided.

Calculator spreadsheet to help establish welfare requirements (xlsx, 31KB)

Consider whether water supplies and clean drinking water are required.  Ask the venue owner about the provision of mains water supplies. Consider the ecological impact in managing waste water.

Drinking water should be from a recognised and tested supply that is in regular use.

Provide any camping area on suitable ground within the defined event and incorporated as part of the event planning. The camping should be away from vehicle parking areas to avoid risks of cruising or joyriding, car fires or runaway vehicles.

Whilst campers are on site you must provide stewarding, medical facilities, water supply and fire safety measures.

Segregate vehicles from pedestrians. Impose speed limits on site. Permit vehicular access at specific times and not during the event itself.

Provide separate entrances for vehicles and pedestrians with specific arrangements for emergency vehicle access. Steward car parking facilities. Situate car parks in an appropriate location and allow access for people with disabilities from the car parks to the main attractions of your event.

If significant delays are likely on entry and exit then the Police and Cheshire East Highways Authority should be consulted.  A one-mile queue of traffic contains around 300 cars.

You need to apply to our highways team to :

  • close a road for an event
  • divert traffic for an event
  • restrict on-street parking for an event


Crowd control

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Crowd control is about more than knowing how many customers can safely enter and leave an event site. Consideration must be given to the site design and layout, information available before and during the event such as pre event FAQs, signage on site and stewards and management provision.

There should be safe and easy movement around all parts of the site. Remember that one particular attraction may draw large numbers of visitors. Consider the positioning of cones and appropriate barriers where required and provide a public address system if necessary. For the purposes of safe evacuation of the site in the case of an emergency, sufficient space must be available adjacent to the operation to accommodate all persons who may be on site at any time.

You can use barriers as a physical structure between crowds and structures or vehicles. You can use barriers to relieve and prevent the build up of audience pressures during queuing or in front of a stage.

Barriers can be:

  • crowd barriers - for crowd segregation, queuing, small music events
  • a-frame or rock and roll barriers - as used in front of a stage for large music events 
  • 'Herris' fencing - as used in construction

The event organiser should know where any barriers are sourced from, who will erect it and what safety checks are required. You should follow the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) and consider whether barriers will be required to protect the public against specific hazards for example moving machinery, erection of the equipment, barbecues, vehicles.

The event organiser is responsible for providing adequate security on site to protect equipment and people. Consider whether equipment is secure if it is to be left on site overnight or prior to the event or after the event. 

Your security should be an approved contractor from the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Licensable activities such as alcohol sales must have SIA registered personnel.

You should discuss security with the venue owner and your approved security provider.

Event stewards must be fully briefed on all aspects of the event including crowd control and emergency arrangements. They should be provided with written instructions, site plans and checklists. Stewards must be easily identified by the public and able to communicate effectively with each other, their supervisor, the person responsible for health and safety and the event organiser.

All stewards should be properly trained and competent. They need to be vigilant and be constantly on the alert for any hazards which could develop during the event. They may be required to guide vehicles around the site, clear exits and marshal the crowd.

Event organisers are responsible for the welfare and facilities of your stewards. At all day events, duty rotas will be required. You should consider providing

  • sanitary facilities for stewards
  • catering facilities for stewards
  • a rest area
  • ear defenders
  • torches for evening events
  • protective clothing - personal protective equipment (PPE)

Identify arrangements for the care of lost children until they are re-united with their parents/guardians/carers. Advertise the collection point clearly. Children should not be in the sole care of one individual. The individuals should be DBS checked (disclosure and barring service).

Take care to ensure that announcements do not refer to children specifically or give personal details, descriptions or names.

The event organiser is responsible for ensuring appropriate first aid assistance is provided for the duration of the event including the set-up and take down periods.

First aid requirements will be determined by a number of factors including:

  • Event type
  • Audience profile
  • Expected attendance
  • Duration of event

In all cases organisers should ensure that the impact on the ambulance service and local health services is minimised.

Calculator to help establish first aid requirements (MS Excel, 38KB)

Where electricity, gas or water is to be used, detailed arrangements must be put into place to ensure that the facilities are safe.

All portable electrical appliances including extension leads should be tested for electrical safety and a record kept, evidence of testing may be required. Any hired equipment should come with a certificate of electrical safety. Where events are taking place outside, residual current circuit breakers should be used and if possible the power supply stepped down to 110 volts. All cables will have to be safely channelled/routed to eliminate any electrical and tripping hazards. Any potential hazards due to extreme weather should also be assessed and appropriate controls put into place.

Portable gas supplies for cooking should be kept to a minimum in designated areas away from the general public. The same should apply to any fuel 10 supplies as required for portable generators and the like. Generators should be suitably fenced off to prevent access from public areas. All of these arrangements should be shown on the site plan.

Page last reviewed: 30 April 2024