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Public events planning

Public agencies work together to support event organisers in Dorset to ensure their events are safe and secure.

Dorset has many successful public events, which makes it a great place to live and to visit. Most of these events are run by volunteers but there are also some large professional companies operating in the county on an annual basis.

The six borough and district councils in Dorset each have a Public Events, Safety Advisory Group (SAG) to ensure organisers of events and gatherings can work with recognised specialists from the public services to meet the safety and security responsibilities the organisers inherit for their event planning and delivery.

Supporting partner agencies and SAG members:

  • Dorset Police (Community Policing and Operations Planning)
  • Dorset County Council (Highways Management, Trading Standards and Emergency Planning)
  • Borough and district councils (Environmental Health, Emergency Planning, Licensing, Building Control, Outdoor Leisure)
  • Dorset Fire and Wiltshire and Rescue Service (Legislative Fire Safety Team)
  • Health Agencies (Public Health England)
  • South West Ambulance Service Trust
  • HM Coastguard

SAG members maintain an open and constructive approach to event safety and resilience. In some cases they will support the event by undertaking site visits during the building or delivery of an event. SAGs are also an excellent forum to organise emergency response exercises prior to the event.

Local authority SAGs exist to:

  • Promote high levels of safety and welfare at events by giving advice and guidance
  • Promote good practice in safety and welfare planning for events
  • Ensure events have a minimal adverse impact on the community

How the Safety Advisory Group helps guide event organisers

All large events in Dorset have existing relationships with their respective safety advisory groups, however if you are planning for a new event and are in search of guidance there are a number of tools available to read below. These tools help event organisers in documenting their procedures for both the "steady state" (normal operation) of the event as well as during an emergency (crisis state).

Event guidance tools

The Purple Guide (opens in a new window)

Example event emergency plan (pdf, 87kb) (opens in a new window)

Local small events guide (pdf, 803kb) (opens in a new window)

AIF Water Guidelines for Festivals 2013 update (pdf, 422kb) (opens in a new window)

West Dorset District Council Safety Advisory Group guidance for organisers of large events (pdf, 874kb) (opens in a new window)

Events on the highway

Bonfires & Fireworks Event Guidance (pdf, 325kb) (opens in a new window)

Understanding crowd behaviour (opens in a new window)

Guidance for planning street parties (opens in a new window)

Organising a voluntary event: a 'Can do' guide from Gov.uk (opens in a new window)

Licensing highway obstructions and private street works

Temporary event notices

Open Space Licences in Weymouth and Portland

Parks and Open Spaces in Christchurch

Purbeck Cycling Plan (pdf, 363kb) (opens in a new window)

British cycling event support and resources (opens in a new window)

Contacting your local SAG

If you intend to hold a festival or gathering in the foreseeable future it is recommended that you contact the SAG Chairperson in your area well in advance of your event and outline the event details such as its scale, target audience and the intended activities on site and proposed dates. A large scale event intended to host thousands of people can take over 12 months of planning from concept to the delivery stage (depending upon its complexity).

Contact details for all SAG area Chairs across Dorset:

Christchurch and East Dorset Safety Advisory Group

North Dorset Safety Advisory Group

Purbeck Safety Advisory Group

West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland Safety Advisory Group

Event planning in Bournemouth (opens in a new window)

Event planning in the Borough of Poole (opens in a new window)

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