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The Role of Local Authorities

Local authorities are responsible for permitting or prohibiting organised outdoor events from taking place in their local area.Decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to both the risks and the mitigations in place as well as the economic and social benefits that events offer to local communities.

Event organisers should consult with their local authority as early as possible when planning an event.The earlier this is done, the more time you are providing to secure agreement for your event to proceed and for any relevant licenses to be issued. 

Your local authority will review your risk assessment and can give you advice on how to manage your event whilst reducing risks to the local area. 

Find out if the local authority intends to convene a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) and how best to engage with this.  If a SAG is convened ask for the local Director of Public Health to be involved 

If no SAG is convened, contact the local Director of Public Health to discuss the event and whether any additional assurances are needed.Even when all necessary permissions are granted, the local authority can consider prohibiting, restricting or imposing requirements if they consider – often on the advice of the Director of Public Health - an event presents a serious and imminent threat to public health.   So, a good two-way channel of communication is essential.

Organised outdoor events should be permitted unless they pose a threat to public health, provided that they follow relevant guidance and adhere to all legal requirements.   This guidance has been written in full consultation with Public Health England.   If an authority decides that an event cannot take place, they should share their risk assessment with the event organiser so that their reasoning can be understood.

If local authorities are concerned about an event, they should discuss those concerns with the event organiser at the earliest possible opportunity and, wherever possible, advise what actions might be taken to mitigate any risks or concerns in order for the event to go ahead.

Further guidance has been produced for local authorities by DCMS in consultation with Public Health England.This guidance can be found at Appendix 4. 

If appropriate, the Government has powers under Schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 to close venues hosting large gatherings or prohibit certain events (or types of event) from taking place, and a power under regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2020 to restrict access to a public place.

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