Dot the i’s and cross the t’s

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OK, here goes, we’re going to talk about all the sexy stuff in event planning – the health & safety, event management plans, policies, procedures, licences, permits, permissions, authorisations, surveys, risk assessments, method statements, evacuation procedures, site plans, etc. Is anyone still with me?

For those who like things to be methodical and in order, this is the blog for you.

You really need a good mix of logistical focussed planners on your team as well as creative types to make a festival or event happen. Our bible, that we use to plan all of our events, is the Purple Guide which provides indispensable advice and guidance on all areas of event planning. Produced by the Events Industry Forum with support from the HSE, it’s an online guide which means it’s updated regularly. I’d advise anyone to subscribe to this and refer to it regularly.

The Purple Guide will walk you through putting together an Event Management Plan, an essential document. We use one of these for any size of event – from a small afternoon gathering for 20 people in the woods up to a weekend camping festival for thousands. It helps to clarify all your information in one place, give clear and concise advice for everyone in the team and, if you need to apply for a licence for the event, it will help form the basis of that application. This is a live document that is updated throughout the planning process. It gives an overview of the whole event, specifics of when and where logistics are placed on site, policies and procedures, risk assessments, schedules and up to date contact information.

Event Management Plan - Timber festival

The other place for advice and support is the local licencing authority. My top tip would be to introduce yourself and your event to them early in the planning stage. Each local authority is slightly different in terms of how much contact and information they will require. Depending on the size and nature of your event, you may need a temporary event notice or a premises licence and striking up a good relationship with the licensing dept can be invaluable. They have all the contacts for the other bodies you might need to liaise with such as fire, police, environmental health, highways, etc and they will know the local landscape inside out. They may invite you to a SAG (safety advisory group) meeting, which is an opportunity for you to present your plans and gain feedback from all the different agencies.

Licence - Timber festival

We’re now five months to go until Timber and we have our premises licence in place, draft site plans drawn up, ecological surveys undertaken and a timetable for SAG meetings set up. We’ll be redrafting and updating our information right up to the event and ensuring we circulate this to everyone who needs it. All of this means we can sleep easier in our beds at night knowing that the event will be safe and well managed.

By Sarah Bird, Wild Rumpus

Our Woodland Culture blog is supported by Making Local Woods Work, an exciting pilot project working to help support and grow woodland social enterprises across the UK.