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SAGE and safety at outdoor events

If you are organising a major event, or one which involves unusual activities, we strongly recommend consulting the Safety Advisory Group for Events (SAGE), a group of experts who can advise on possible risks, and how to make your event as safe as possible.

Select a topic below to find out more about who is involved, and how the process works.

The expertise of the SAGE team

The Safety Advisory Group for Events (SAGE) is made up of representatives from council teams and our partner agencies. The following four bodies have permanent representatives on SAGE:

  • Bath & North East Somerset Council
  • Avon and Somerset Police
  • Avon Fire and Rescue
  • South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Representatives from some of our other service teams may be recruited to the SAGE team temporarily to assess your event. These may include the following:

  • Corporate Health and Safety
  • Emergency Management Unit
  • Environmental Protection
  • Licensing
  • Food Safety
  • Building Control
  • Traffic and Safety
  • Transportation and Highways
  • Parking Services
  • Neighbourhood Services
  • Property and Legal Services
  • Planning Services
  • Health and Safety at Work

We may invite other organisations, if your planned event may have an impact on them. For example, this might include the following: 

  • St John Ambulance/Red Cross or other medical provider
  • The Football Licensing Authority
  • The owner of the property on which your event will take place

The types of events SAGE supports

Major events and events with unusual activity will be required to have a Safety Advisory Group meeting via face to face or video call. This means events which involve 500 or more people (including participants and spectators), 
However, all events will be circulated to the SAGE via Event App.

The legal status of SAGE

SAGE exists to support you as an event organiser to deliver a safe and well organised event. The team will assess event management plans and advise you if there are risks that you have not considered, such as fire or crowd management. 

You do not have a legal obligation to consult SAGE. However, we strongly recommend that you use this service, and if you don't, then you may be open to criticism if anything goes wrong.

Although SAGE does not have its own enforcement powers, some individual members can stop an event, if they have serious concerns about it. For example, in certain circumstances, the Fire Brigade can serve a notice prohibiting the use of the event site.

If your event is planned in one of our public parks or on the highway, SAGE can recommend that we revoke the land use agreement or permission for a road closure.

How SAGE consultation works

SAGE deals with events on a case by case basis, but the process usually works as follows:

  • You submit an application to the Council
  • The Events Office will  arrange a SAGE meeting with you. This will normally be around 6 weeks before the event takes place.
  • 8 weeks prior to your event, you will need to upload your event documentation to Event App. This include an Event Management Plan, risk Assessment, Insurance Certificate and Site Plan. 
  • Your documents will be reviewed by the Events Office in order to get them ‘SAGE ready’. Once ready, the documents will be circulated to the Safety Advisory Group. 
  • At the meeting, you will need to give a summary of the event, and highlight key parts of your Event Management Plan which deal with risk assessment and safety provision. The members of SAGE will then ask questions, and give advice on their area of expertise.
  • The Events Office is responsible for noting down any agreements and outstanding actions that have come from the meeting (for example, testing fire safety equipment, or hiring a member of on-site medical staff). You will get a copy of these commitments after the meeting, with an agreed timescale to organise them.

Preparing for a meeting with SAGE

You can invite any of your consultants or contractors who might be able to help answer questions, such as the Site Manager, Health and Safety Advisor or Head of Security.

You will need to have your Event Management Plan, Risk Assessment and Site Plan submitted to us 8 weeks prior to your event or 2 weeks prior to the meeting. It’s your responsibility to write the plan; view our guidance on writing an event management plan or use our plan template to help you. Individual members of SAGE will review your plan and attend the meeting to answer any questions you may have.

SAGE is there to support you to run a safe event. They will help to identify any issues you may have overlooked - they are not trying to catch you out!

If you need to contact SAGE, you can do this by emailing the Events team, or by calling 01225 39 60 56.