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Event safety

What is a Safety Advisory Group?

Safety Advisory Groups (SAGs) are usually, but not exclusively, co-ordinated by a local authority and made up of representatives from the local authority, emergency services and other relevant bodies, the typical membership of a SAG is given below. They meet at regular intervals, or when necessary,  to review event applications and most SAGs will advise on public safety. They tend to be based on local authority boundaries but may be event or location specific, for example, Ipswich Town Football Club or Latitude Festival.

The role and purpose of a SAG is outlined in the Holding a public event leaflet (pdf, 4 MB)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a guide on the Role of a local authority Safety Advisory Group (SAG) (external website). This page also links to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Guidance.

SAGs do not have legal powers or responsibilities and are not empowered to approve or prohibit events from taking place. They provide advice to event organisers, who retain the legal responsibility for ensuring a safe event. (Individual representatives of organisations forming the SAG may have powers to require event organisers to comply with their legal obligations.)

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.

All Suffolk Local Authorities host a Safety Advisory Group (SAG), these are East Suffolk Council, West Suffolk Council, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council and Ipswich Borough Council . If an event will affect more than one district or borough then a Suffolk wide SAG is convened (Suffolk Event Safety Advisory Group (SESAG)

All the Safety Advisory Groups use the same Protocols and Procedures (see below). The protocols help to develop a consistent approach throughout Suffolk to reviewing the safety of events. They also provide a platform for the sharing of good practices in relation to public safety at events.

  1. Event control
  2. Public access and egress
  3. Car parking
  4. Stewards and security
  5. Emergency services access
  6. Medical provision
  7. Temporary structures (staging, marquees etc.)
  8. Fire safety
  9. Evacuation plan
  10. Noise control and waste management
  11. Facilities e.g. toilets
  12. Catering and refreshments

If you are organising a large event then you should start the detailed planning at least 6 months before the event.

Time Action
6 months prior Contact local SAG using the Event Notification Form
4 months prior Draft Event Management plan to SAG
3 months prior Submit any road closure applications
2 months prior Submit any premise licence application
21 working days prior Submit the event notification form to the appropriate SAG
  Attend a SAG meeting if required
Minimum 10 working days prior Submit any Temporary Event Notifications
Event day Final safety briefing and risk assessment

There is extensive guidance available from many sources relating to planning for specific types of events. Event organisers need to use all the appropriate guidance when planning an event but the best website to look at initially is the HSE event safety micro site (external web page) aimed at helping organisers run events safely.

A simple checklist gives a pointer for organisers to areas for further consideration using the relevant guidance or information available. (Checklist courtesy of Great Yarmouth Borough Council)

There is also an 'Organising a voluntary event: a ‘Can do’ guide' published by the Cabinet Office which gives a useful starting point for organising an event.

Links to some of the other local guidance available are given below, this list is not exhaustive and does not necessarily include all the available guidance for every type of event.

Inflatable amusement devices

Following the tragic fatality involving a child and an inflatable amusement device in Norfolk on Sunday 1st July 2018, and a further incident on an inflatable slide at Woking on 3rd November, where ten children were injured and taken to hospital, the HSE has published revised guidance for industry stakeholders and operators of inflatable equipment.

Fire safety

Risk Assessment documents are published by HM Government, click on the links below for documents covering various events:

Stewards / Security

Highways and traffic consideration

Apply to close a road for an event (external website)

Medical cover

Deciding on medical cover for your event - Ready reckoner (xls spreadsheet, 85KB)


Guidelines for the protection of children Suffolk

Safeguarding Children Board - Guidelines for the protection of children and vulnerable adults at organised events

Public safety

Advice on food safety, noise, construction of temporary structures, temporary event notifications and licences is provided by your local district or borough council. please check their website for further information.

Suffolk Volunteering Strategy

Community Action Suffolk finds suitable individuals to fill volunteering opportunities.

If you are planning an event in a specific district or borough please contact the appropriate area SAG co-ordinator using the Event Notification form which will allow the SAG to decide if they would wish to discuss the arrangements for your event.

West Suffolk

​01284 757400 


​ Commercial Environmental Health Team, West Suffolk Council, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3YU

East Suffolk

​0330 1620000


​ Food and Safety Team, East Suffolk Council, Riverside, 4 Canning Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0EQ.

Running an event safely (external website)

Babergh and Mid Suffolk

​ 01473 825719 (Babergh)

​01449 724685 / 724691 / 724684 / 724693 (Mid Suffolk)


​  Licensing Team, BMSDC, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX

​ Licensing large scale temporary events (external website)


​ 01473 433272


​ Sports and Leisure Operations Manager, Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House, 15 - 17 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2DE

If your event is to take place across more than area then please contact:

​01473 265316


​ JEPU, GFB3, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX

Police Contacts

Initially contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team

 If you have a specific question regarding the planning or management of an event then ​