New policy to ensure public safety at major events

A new safety advisory policy was approved at today’s (Tuesday13 March) Cabinet meeting.  This policy establishes a multi-agency approach to ensure that organisers of events plan their activities in a manner that is safe for both participants and members of the public.

For a number of years, East Lothian Council has had processes in place to safeguard public safety at major events. Arrangements have also been in existence for smaller events that were brought to the council’s attention by event organisers. However, there had been no standard approach to event safety planning within Scottish local authorities with many managing the co-ordination of events in their area on an ad hoc basis.

"It’s extremely important though that the safety of competitors and spectators is considered and well managed". Cllr. John McMillan

Tragic incidents at Scottish car rally events led to CoSLA forming a Safety at Public Events Working Group, with representation from key professional networks and agencies including Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Event Scotland.  This group was to consider the development of a standard national approach to event safety. One of the main recommendations to arise from this work was for each local authority to formally establish a system for planning events which should be referred to as the Safety Advisory Group (SAG).

Cllr John McMillan, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said:

“Well planned and organised public events provide a variety of benefits for East Lothian. Sporting events such as triathlons, cycle races and road running inspire and encourage others to take on the challenge and raise considerable sums for a variety of charities. The larger events also often provide a boost to the local economy with competitors and spectators staying, eating and drinking in local establishments.”

“It’s extremely important though that the safety of competitors and spectators is considered and well managed through the planning process for each event. As well as safeguarding public safety, the East Lothian SAG process will also ensure that local communities are kept informed about forthcoming events and are able to raise any concerns about the possible impact of the event. I know from personal experience that our Community Councils are welcoming the new approach to organising significant events in our towns and villages as they are able to give invaluable local information about both the benefits and concerns for future events.”

Published: Tuesday, 13th March 2018