Information and Guides

Guides to help you manage risk

Guides for Village Halls and Community Buildings

Insurance Guide

It is important to make sure that your village hall or community building has the right insurance in place. This guide will help you understand the different types of cover, so you can select the right policy. Please note this guide is intended for village halls and community buildings.

Choosing the Right Insurance

Please note, this guide is intended for village halls and community buildings.

Why buy insurance

All committees managing village halls/ community buildings face risks.  Making sure you have the right insurance cover can be an appropriate way of protecting your village hall/community building against loss, damage or liability and give your committee peace of mind.

The right cover in 5 easy steps

How do you know you have the right levels of cover and that your assets are protected?  The following questions will help you decide whether you have the right cover in place.

  1. What are the worst things that can go wrong for your building or committee?
  2. What does your village hall need to protect?  e.g. building structure, contents of the building, outside equipment, money, activities of the committee, claims from injured  hall users
  3. Can you insure against these risks?
  4. How much can you comfortably allocate to protections against the risks? Is it worth spending this money to cover potential risks? (N.B. Employers Liability cover is a legal requirement if you have employees.)
  5. Have you provided your insurer with a complete list of your assets and activities, along with your assessment of the risks faced by the village hall/community building and committee?

Two types of loss

  1. Your committee’s own loss – this will mainly involve assets such as property or money.   If insured the committee should essentially be returned to the position they were in before the incident occurred.
  2. Third-party loss – this is an injury to a third party or damage to a third party’s property e.g. a visitor to a hall trips over a protruding floor tile breaking their arm, they feel the committee are responsible for their injury and make a claim for loss of income and pain and suffering.  Where a committee have responsibility there is potentially a legal liability.

Types of Cover

Once you have identified the risks you may face and the assets that need to be covered, you will need to select the appropriate insurance cover.  Below are details of the most common covers available.

All Risks

‘All risks’ means that any risk that the policy does not specifically exclude is automatically covered.   This provides a more comprehensive cover than is provided under the Material Damage section of the policy and is used to cover items such as audio-visual equipment or property used away from the premises.

Buildings and Contents – Material Damage

As its name suggests, this cover protects your hall and its contents from a variety of risks including fire, flood, malicious damage, theft or attempted theft and subsidence among others.

You have a responsibility to make sure the property and its contents are insured for the correct value – we will index link for buildings and contents inflation but this is no guarantee that the sums are adequate and would not take into account any improvements to the building or any new contents.

Business Interruption

If your hall is damaged by an insured peril under the Material Damage section of the policy and can’t be used, your committee could claim for any revenue lost. The sum insured needs to reflect the revenue the hall would lose over the period it may take to reinstate the premises.

Employers Liability

Under the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 you are legally required to take under Employers Liability Insurance if you employ staff.  The cover will protect the committee against claims from employees for injury, disease and illness(including death) caused by your organisation’s negligence or breach of duty.  A committee may be an unwitting employer in law – e.g. a volunteer who cleans the hall and is paid an honorarium can be technically classed as an employee.

Fidelity Guarantee ( Employee Dishonesty)

This provides cover against loss of money or property arising from fraud or dishonesty of employees or trustees.

Hirers Liability

This provides Public Liability cover for individuals and ad-hoc community organisations while they hire your hall.  It does only provide cover while the group/individual is within the boundaries of your property.  Many halls take out this cover as it is an economic way to provide insurance to those who would otherwise find it difficult/expensive to arrange public liability cover.

Libel and Slander

This cover can protect your committee against compensation claims for defamation which may arise as a result of public meetings, public statements or speeches, newsletters or meeting minutes.

Money Insurance

This covers cash and cheques in your custody, left on the hall premises, in the private residence of a committee member or during transit.

Personal Accident

This cover entitles the committee to claim a fixed benefit where a member of staff or committee member is disabled due to an accident or assault during their ‘work’ i.e. while they are carrying out a task for the committee.

Public Liability

This covers your legal liability to compensate people or organisations suffering loss or injury as a result of your committee’s negligence e.g. a hall user being injured due to the building not being maintained in a good condition.  This also covers claims made by people/organisations for loss or damage to material property caused as a result of your committee’s negligence.  The limit of indemnity on the Village Hall Plus Group policy is £10 million.

Trustees Indemnity

The insurance protects trustees (committee members) against personal liability claims when their committee or a third party make a claim against them for maladministration.  If a trustee or committee member acts responsibly they should not be liable for claims against them, however, this insurance can give peace of mind by protecting them personally.

Legal Expenses

This can provide cover for legal costs and compensation incurred in defending actions against your organisation.  Cover is available for Employment Disputes, Personal Injury, Legal Defence, Tax Protection and Contract Disputes.

Motor

All vehicles registered for road use and driven on a public road are required to be insured.  Your committee will therefore require motor insurance if they own a minibus, van, tractor etc. that is driven on a public road.

Managing Risk

By managing the risks your hall or building faces, you can make it a safer place for users and reduce your insurance costs. In this factsheet, we’ll give you some practical guidance on managing risks and suggest a simple risk assessment process for you to follow. Please note this guide is intended for village halls and community buildings.

Benefits of Managing Risk

Please note, this guide is intended for village halls and community buildings.

By managing the risks your village hall faces, you can make it a safer place for users and reduce your insurance costs. In this factsheet, we offer some practical guidance on managing risks and suggest a simple risk assessment process for you to follow.

Why is it important to manage your risks?

Managing risk helps you to prevent and defend against:

  •  injuries to trustees, volunteers or members of the public
  • insurance claims
  • prosecutions for breaches of health and safety legislation
  • financial loss
  • increased insurance premiums
  • loss of key staff
  • closure of the hall.

Assessing your risks A variety of health and safety legislation requires you to carry out risk assessments to formalise your risk management processes and show how you plan to control risks. While you will probably choose one or two specific people to be responsible for health and safety and related risks, it’s important for all committee members to understand and agree the risk management process and adopt a common view of risk.

The 4 Step Process

1. Identify all the different types of risk you face It is a good idea to think about the whole variety of risks your village hall may face. Examine every risk, no matter how small, because it could develop into something with serious consequences over time. Here are some categories to get you started:

  • Governance risks These include inappropriate organisational structures, difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified trustees and potential conflicts of interest. If governance related risks aren’t managed appropriately it may well result in the village hall simply not being able to operate at any level which may well have knock-on effect to all the other local organisations who use the hall.
  • Operational risks These include service quality, employment and health and safety issues and misappropriation. Failure to manage operational risks will often result in damage to the hall itself or injury to staff or members of the public which could involve serious injury (or even death) with the associated scrutiny of the legal profession, or perhaps even worse, the enforcement bodies such as the Health & Safety Executive.
  • Financial risks These include inaccuracy and (non)timeliness of financial information, inadequacy of reserves and cash flow, (uncertainty of funding of income sources and poor investment management). Financial management of village halls is not just the operating of an annual profit and loss account. Funds have to be continually raised and the running of local events have to be budgeted for to avoid unexpected calls on either revenue or reserves.
  • External risks These include adverse public perception and publicity. Any hall perceived as not being run for the benefit of the village may well suffer a lack of use (and associated income) as well as being seen as only for the benefit of a limited number of individuals, clubs or organisations.
  • Compliance risks These include potential breach of trust law, employment law and regulatory requirements of fundraising. The tasks of complying with all areas of legislation are ever increasing, (for example the Disability Discrimination Act), and a failure could result in fines, orders to comply, tribunals or even with withdrawal of status.

2. Assess the likelihood and impact of your risks Having identified each risk, measure its size by considering:

  • how often might the event realistically happen? (For example, is it likely to occur four times a year? Once every ten years? Probably never?)
  • what would be the result or impact if it did? (For example would it cause injury to people? Financial loss? And how major or minor would these be?)

3. Prioritise your risks according to the findings of your assessment

At this point you can prioritise your risks, using a combination of the answers to the two questions above. Some may warrant immediate action – for instance, a risk that’s likely to occur and which would have a major impact. Others may need you to take very simple steps to reduce risk significantly. You may also have some risks where you consider there are sufficient safeguards in place and no further action is needed. You may find it helpful to use a risk prioritisation matrix. This is a simple way to show the relative likelihoods and results of your risks visually, by plotting them on a chart. It can be used for all categories of risk, but health and safety risk assessments will need to be recorded separately as they are a legal requirement.

  • Using the risk matrix Once you’ve identified your risks and decided on their likelihood of occurring and their impact, you can plot them onto the risk matrix. The risks that appear in the red boxes are the ones most likely to be a barrier to your success and you should try to deal with these first.

4. Decide what steps you will take to improve the situation

When looking at managing your risks you could decide to:

  • control the risk – for example by ensuring that anyone using electrical equipment is properly trained
  • transfer the risk – for example, if you need to get the village hall floor polished and cleaned, it may make sense to get a professional to do it
  • live with the risk – for example, if you rely heavily on irregular voluntary donations, you’ll need to accept that you can’t make regular spending plans
  • use a combination of the above options. It’s essential to record in writing the risks and your consideration of them, and to ensure that all appropriate people are aware of them and the controls required.

Reviewing your risks

You should review your risks regularly, and whenever a new activity or process begins (for example when you have a new group of users that’s very different to existing groups, or you adopt different cleaning arrangements). To do this it’s important to keep all of your risk assessments on record, and use them as a check that appropriate actions have been taken. We recommended that you review your health & safety risk assessments annually – often there will be no change in activities or controls, so the date of assessment and next review will simply be updated.

The arrangements for other risk should also be reviewed. Risk assessments should be reviewed if a new activity is introduced or new equipment is brought into use, etc. and it may be necessary to carry out a new assessment from scratch, depending on the circumstances. The assessment will identify the necessary inspection frequency – we recommend monthly inspections in the case of facilities used by the public (quarterly for offices) but there is no set requirement.

Trustees

This guide is intended to inform, reduce risk and help trustees to decide on the best course of action with regard to the legal form of their organisation and the insurance cover required. Please note this guide is intended for village halls and community buildings.

Trustee Liability

Risk

The prosecution of trustees who have acted in good faith is a rare event. Hundreds of thousands of people have acted as trustees to charities and other civil society organisations for many decades without incident and where something has gone wrong, the law generally seeks to protect individual trustees from personal risk where they have acted in good faith and complied with their trustees’ duties. The table of liabilities that follows is intended to inform, reduce risk and help trustees to decide on the best course of action with regard to the legal form of their organisation and the insurance cover required.

Introduction

Charity trustees are the people who have the general control and management of a charity’s administration: in short, they are ultimately responsible for the charity. Charity trustees can have a number of names including governors, board members, directors and members of the management committee. Some charities may make a false distinction between trustees and other committee members but any individual engaged in the governance of the charity is de-facto a trustee, whether or not the Charity Commission has been notified of their appointment. Becoming a charity trustee for the first time can be both an exciting opportunity and a daunting prospect when it comes to understanding your duties and responsibilities. This guide is intended to be an illustrative summary of the potential personal liabilities associated with becoming the trustee of a charity, and the extent to which such liabilities might be covered by company incorporation and insurance. This is only a summary, and it deals with complex issues. If you have queries, we have signposted you to further reading or you could seek professional advice. There will be other organisational liabilities to consider when you are a trustee, but this guide does not consider these.

Types of personal liability

There are the following types of potential personal liability for the trustees of charities:

  • Liabilities to third parties that occur in the course of running the charity. Most charities will have legal relationships with third parties, such as funders, staff or suppliers and all legal relationships carry the risk of legal liability. The extent to which the trustees are personally liable in these circumstances will depend on the legal form of the charity;
  • All charity trustees are, in principle, also vulnerable to legal action instigated by the Charity Commission or the Attorney General (or the other trustees) in the case of a breach of trust. This action is not affected by the legal form of the charity;
  • Liabilities associated with the charity trading while it is insolvent or close to insolvency; and
  • There are a limited number of specific circumstances where a trustee could be found criminally liable.

Legal form

The potential liabilities of charity trustees to third parties depend to a great extent on the legal form of the charity. If you are thinking about becoming the trustee of a charity, one of the first questions you should be asking is “what is the charity’s legal form?”. All charities incur liabilities: they are referred to above as organisational liabilities.

Liabilities which might be expected to arise in the course of a charity’s everyday work might include debts to suppliers, staff wages, utility bills and so on. Some liabilities are unexpected: a claim from someone who has been injured on charity premises, for example, or a fine because the health and safety rules have been breached. What trustees will want to know is whether they can be made personally liable for those liabilities. The 3 answer depends to a very great extent on the legal form of the charity:

  • Incorporated legal forms A charitable company limited by guarantee, Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Royal Charter body or a community benefit society (Industrial and Provident Society, IPS) are all incorporated legal forms. This means that the charity has a “legal personality”. The charity can enter into legal relationships, such as relationships with staff, suppliers and the general public, in its own name. In most situations, if the charity is incorporated, it is the charity itself, rather than the members or the trustees, which is responsible for the charity’s debts or for any other liabilities which might arise from its legal relationships. This will generally be the case even if the charity has no funds to meet the liabilities: the charity will become insolvent but the trustees are usually protected from personal liability. There are some exceptions. First, where an incorporated charity is insolvent, the courts can, in principle, impose liability on the trustees in some circumstances. See more on this under “insolvency” below. It would be very rare indeed for a trustee to be made liable in this way. Second, in some specific situations trustees can be held responsible for some liabilities alongside the charity. These are outlined below: they are also rare and generally involve an element of fault on the part of the trustee concerned.
  • Unincorporated legal forms A trust or an unincorporated association are unincorporated legal forms. This means that the charity does not have its own legal personality. It is the trustees personally who enter into any legal relationships with third parties. The trustees are able to meet the charity’s liabilities using charity funds, so this is not usually a problem. The difficulty arises if the charity runs out of funds and is unable to meet its liabilities. Here the trustees are potentially exposed to personal liability for any outstanding liabilities. (It is possible for the trustees of an unincorporated charity to try to agree, when entering into a contract, that their liability will be limited to the level of the charity’s assets, but this is not always possible.) For this reason, many unincorporated charities often consider changing their legal status and become incorporated. If the charity is entering into contracts, employs staff or has premises then its trustees should seriously consider incorporation as an option. It is worth saying that if a community group is established relatively informally, and has not made an active application to register as an incorporated body of the kind described above, it will be unincorporated.

Insurance

Many of a charity’s unexpected liabilities can be met by insurance, taken out in the name of the charity. It is appropriate for any charity to consider what sort of insurance policies it needs: insurance against liability for damage to premises and equipment for example, or insurance against liability from members of the public using its premises. This type of insurance protects the charity. There is another type of insurance which can protect charity trustees personally. This is called trustee indemnity insurance. It is important to understand what this is. While the scope of the cover will depend on the terms of the individual policy, generally speaking, this type of insurance will cover breach of trust claims and wrongful trading and covers associated legal costs. It is very important for trustees of charitable trusts and unincorporated associations to note that this type of insurance does not cover their potential liability for debts to third parties, as described above. TI policies should cover trustees where they have acted wrongfully but not recklessly or dishonestly. Most Trustee Indemnity policies will also cover the legal fees of trustees who are under investigation or who have actions brought against them that are later dropped or ultimately unproven. Trustee indemnity insurance is regarded as a benefit to you, since it protects you personally rather than the charity. However it can usually be funded from charity resources, subject to certain safeguards.

Indemnity

Most charities are permitted to indemnify its trustees who have acted in good faith and in accordance with their duties. The indemnity can cover proceedings brought by third parties. In charitable companies, for example, under company law this indemnity will cover both legal costs and the financial costs of any adverse judgment. However it would not extend to the legal costs of unsuccessful defence of criminal proceedings, fines imposed in criminal proceedings, penalties imposed by regulatory bodies or situations where they have knowingly or deliberately acted wrongfully. Trustees may still be personally liable if the assets of the charity are not sufficient to meet the indemnity.

General Guides

Flood Risk

The risk from flooding is one faced by millions of properties in the UK. Whether from rivers and seas, or from more unpredictable surface water, floods can cause large scale damage and stress. This guide aims to give helpful tips and valuable guidance on what to do and who to contact for general advice to prepare for and respond to flooding.

Risk Guide - Flooding

Introduction

The risk from flooding is one faced by millions of households in the UK. Whether from rivers and seas, or from more unpredictable surface water, floods can cause large scale damage and stress.

Building on lessons learnt from recent flooding and storm surge damage during the winter of 2013/14, this guide aims to provide useful, straightforward advice to help our customers:

  • Prepare for a flood
  • What to do in the event of a flood,
  • and how to begin recovery.

This guide aims to give helpful tips and valuable guidance on what to do and who to contact for general advice. Making an insurance claim is a priority in these situations, and by following the recommended actions at the outset, your claim should be settled more easily.

Preparing for a Flood

Assessing your risk of flooding

Flood damage costs the UK an estimated £1.1bn per year. Over 5.2 million (one in six) properties in England are at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea, or surface water.

Some indicators of risk:

  • Your property is near the sea, river or stream.
  • Your home is in a hollow, or at the bottom of a hill where floodwater could collect.
  • Your/your neighbours’ drains have overflowed recently.

Whether and to what extent flood protection measures are necessary will depend on the degree of flood risk, and the vulnerability of your property and its occupants. As a minimum you should investigate the degree of risk to your property using the Environment Agency’s flood map. If your property lies within a blue shaded area the flood map will show the likelihood of flooding as ‘low risk’, ‘moderate risk’ or ‘significant risk’.

If your property does not lie in a blue shaded area, it is very important to note that this does not mean there is no flood risk. There may still be a risk of flooding from surface or ground water or a raised body of water not shown on the Environment Agency’s flood map.

Environment Agency Flood Map

Flood protection

Flood resistance is about keeping water out of a property whilst resilience focuses on limiting the damage once it’s in. However, for a flood deeper than one meter, customers should usually allow water to enter a property to prevent any structural damage caused by a build-up of water pressure outside. For complete peace of mind, we would recommend our customers consult specialist flood surveyors to advise on the most appropriate preventative measures. Any suggested defence solutions can normally be implemented with improvements and alterations to premises. Further guidance on the choice of products can be found at www.bluepages.org.uk/. We would advise that customers only fit BSI Kite mark accredited flood defence solutions.

Sign-up for flood warnings

Floodline Warnings Direct is a free service which sends you a direct message when flooding is expected that may affect your property. Flood warnings will give you time to prepare for flooding which could save you money and distress. You can choose to receive warnings by telephone, mobile, email, SMS text message or fax.

Floodline Warnings Direct

Floodline Warnings for Scotland

You can also sign up for Floodline Warnings by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or Typetalk 0845 602 6340.

What to do in the event of a flood

Make a Flood Plan Being prepared for an emergency will reduce the risk to you and the residents of the property and limit the damage to the property and its contents. We would suggest you compile a Business Continuity Plan that establishes the best emergency actions and identifies who does what when flooding looks set to strike.

The important facts about flood risk and the availability of flood warnings will guide your best action in an emergency. Evacuation is most appropriate where flooding is deep and flood warnings will give you time to move to a place of safety unaided. Identifying a safe refuge that is easily accessible by the emergency services, may be the best approach where rapid flooding occurs and safe evacuation is not possible.

Your Business Continuity Plan should clearly list the actions that need to be taken on receipt of a flood warning, such as how to set up any temporary flood protection devices, as well as giving a maintenance schedule to ensure the correct operation of devices in the future. The plan should take into account the possibility of flood protection devices failing or their design being exceeded.

Three levels of flood alert Flood warnings are vital to trigger the actions within the plan. The Environment Agency issues flood warnings for specific areas. There are three flood warning codes you should be aware of:

Flood Alert – Flooding of low-lying land and roads is expected.

Flood Warning – Flooding of homes and businesses is expected. Act now.

Severe Flood Warning – Act now! Severe flooding is expected with extreme danger to life and property.

To find out what you should do in the event of these warnings visit http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/guide/weather/ flood-warnings/what-does-this-mean.

How to begin recovery

After the flood has occurred We will arrange for a loss adjuster and/or other specialists to visit your property to assess the damage. They will project manage much of the clear up, so speak to them before carrying out any significant mitigation actions.

Making a claim

Depending on the level of flood damage you incur, we will undertake a number of the following actions where appropriate.

We will:

  • Confirm the level of cover you have for funding alternative accommodation and related costs.
  • Arrange for a loss adjuster and/or other specialists to visit your affected locations.
  • Arrange for a suitable specialist to design and install a drying and cleaning regime.
  • Instruct our specialists to make the necessary decisions regarding the extent of any stripping out work required; this will depend on the nature of the construction.
  • Arrange for repair work to get underway as soon as possible. For example, the replacement of kitchen units if they were damaged beyond repair.

Information that will help expedite your claim:

  • The time your property was flooded, how long the water was in the property and the depth it was flooded to – making a mark on the wall if you can.
  • Identify the members of your team who will be involved in managing the insurance claim restoration process.
  • If you have had emergency repairs done before you alerted us, keep the receipts to add to your claim. This also applies if we have advised you not to make emergency repairs.

Event Safety

Whether you are a village hall, community center or town/parish council, you may host regular or one-off events for the community. This guide contains useful information about what to do to help ensure your event is managed safely and what to do before, during and after the event.

Risk Guide - Managing Safety at Events

Before the event

Detailed planning is essential to ensure your event is safe and successful. The following should be considered at this stage:

Scale of the event

Identify the aims of the event. Are particular groups or types of people to be targeted, such as young children, teenagers, the elderly or people with disabilities? If so, additional stewards or specific facilities may be required to ensure adequate safety standards are maintained. Set a realistic number for maximum attendance. If it is appropriate, print numbered tickets to be sold or distributed through named contacts. Remember that one particular attraction (e.g. a pop star or band) may draw large numbers of visitors without tickets, so it will also be necessary to establish a crowd profile to assist with stewarding and crowd control.

Consider the time of year and the possible consequences of extreme weather conditions at an outside event. The nature of the event, potential noise levels and travel implications should also be taken into consideration when choosing the day of the week and time for the event. Ensure your event does not clash with any other major events in the area and that you have arranged adequate lighting if it is to take place in the evening.

Activities involved

Decide on the type of activities to be held. Will there be any specific hazards, such as animals or water sports? Will the activities require the use of any specialist equipment, such as bungee chords and safety harnesses? If so, does this equipment pose any specific hazards? Will a particular activity need barriers etc? Some equipment may require certificates of erection by a competent person.

Infrastructure, including transport

Consider how people will get to the venue, any car parking requirements and the potential impact of severe weather. Also consider the suitability of the venue and any existing hazards that may be on the site, such as water hazards and overhead power lines.

Legislative requirements

Give thought to the relevant health and safety, environmental and food safety legislation. Are there anypermissions, consents or licences required for the event, e.g. alcohol, public entertainment and road closures?

Risk assessment

Your risk assessment will be the key document to ensuring the safe planning of your event. It involves a careful examination of each attraction within an event and recording the significant findings. Follow these basic steps and try not to overcomplicate the assessment.

  • Look for the hazards
  • Decide who might be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risks and decide whether any existing precautions are adequate or whether more could be done
  • Record your findings
  • Review your assessment and revise as necessary

Roles and responsibilities

Identify specific responsibilities for all people involved with the event organisation. One person should be identified as the event manager and be responsible for liaison with other organisations, such as the local authority and the emergency services. One person, with suitable experience, should be given overall responsibility for health and safety and another person, coordination and supervision of stewards.

Liaison with other organisations

A variety of organisations will need to be liaised with including, the local authorities, highways authority, police, fire and ambulance services, first aid organisations, community groups and voluntary groups

Timings

Prepare a detailed timeline, including all key deadline dates. Consider any legislative timescales, for example, applications for road closures.

Event Safety Plan

Draw up and maintain a comprehensive event plan. This should include all your health and safety arrangements. Once you have resolved all the issues referred to below, keep records of the proposals as a formal plan for the event. This will help you when carrying out your risk assessments.

Catering

Establish whether catering will be carried out by the event organiser or contractors. If you intend to use contract caterers or mobile food units ensure that they are registered with their own local authority and can demonstrate that they are trained in food hygiene. Environmental health staff may wish to visit the site and inspect the caterers. Make adequate provision for all food traders to be supplied with potable water. It is a legal requirement for food premises to have a supply of potable water.

Temporary structures

Many events will require temporary structures, such as staging, tents, marquees and stalls. Decide where this equipment is to be obtained, who will erect it and what safety checks will be required. The location of any such structures should be identified on the site plan. Consider whether barriers will be required to protect the public against specific hazards, such as moving machinery, barbecues, vehicles and any other dangerous displays. In some cases, barriers will need to have specified safety loadings dependent upon the number of people likely to attend. Temporary structures should only be obtained from experienced suppliers.

Welfare arrangements

Toilet requirements should be based on an estimation of the number of attendees and the event duration. The provision of drinking water will also be necessary.

Provision for those with special needs

Specific arrangements should be made to ensure disabled visitors have adequate access, facilities, parking, specific viewing areas and can safely enjoy the event.

First aid and medical provision

A medical risk assessment should be carried out, taking into consideration such things as the activities, the numbers, types and age groups attending, access and egress, the site and structures. Provision of adequate numbers and types of resource (e.g. first aiders, ambulances and paramedics) should be based upon published guidance. Many organisations provide medical services, but you must ensure that the organisation you choose is competent, well trained and able to meet the demands of the event. Medical provision for the event should not rely upon the normal provision made by the statutory NHS Ambulance Service for use by the general public (i.e.“999” system).

Crowd control

The type of event and the numbers attending will determine the measures needed. Consider the number and positioning of barriers, stewarding and the provision of a public address system. The event risk assessment should identify the minimum number of stewards required. Stewards must be fully briefed on all aspects of the event and be able to effectively communicate with each other, their supervisor, the person responsible for health and safety, and the event manager. N.B. Only the police or a suitably qualified person will have the authority to regulate traffic on the public highway.

Lost and found children

Plan for a lost and found children’s point. This area should be supervised by appropriately trained people. Written procedure for handing over children to adults should be available.

Security

Depending upon the nature of the event, specific security arrangements may be necessary, such as securing property overnight. Cash collection should be planned to ensure this is kept to a minimum at collection points and that regular collections are made to a secure area. Following your risk assessment, stewards or helpers collecting cash may require money belts or other carrying facilities. Counting and banking arrangements should be given careful consideration.

On-site traffic

Contractors’ and/or performers’ vehicles and other traffic should be carefully managed to ensure segregation from pedestrians. It may be necessary to only permit vehicular access at specific times and not during the event itself. Separate entrances should be provided for vehicles and pedestrians, with specific arrangements for emergency vehicle access. Car parking facilities will be required at most events and these will have to be stewarded. Consider where such facilities should be situated.

Off-site traffic

Unplanned and uncontrolled access and egress to a site can result in a serious accident. Traffic control both inside and outside the site should be discussed with the council’s highway engineers and the police. Adequate signs and directions should be provided in prominent positions on the approaches to the entrances. If road closures, signs on the highway, traffic diversions and/or the placement of cones are required then an application must be made for a traffic regulation order and/or approval from the local authority. Road closures/diversions Any events that require a road closure or diversion may need to complete a road closure application, obtainable from the local authority. Applications should be sent a minimum of 12 weeks in advance of the event.

Public transport

Consult with the local authority traffic manager to establish if existing services will be adequate or whether a possible alteration of existing services is required.

Contractors

All contractors should be vetted to ensure they are competent to undertake the tasks required of them. Ask contractors for a copy of their safety policy and risk assessments, and satisfy yourself that they will perform the task safely. Always ask to see their public liability insurance certificate, which should provide a limit of indemnity of at least £5 million, and provide contractors with a copy of the event plan and arrange liaison meetings to ensure they will work within your specified parameters.

Performers

Ensure all performers have their own insurance and risk assessments; the same considerations will apply for contractors. Where amateur performers are being used, discuss your detailed requirements with them well in advance and ensure they will comply with your health and safety rules and event plan.

Facilities and utilities

Where electricity, gas or water is to be used, detailed arrangements must be made to ensure the facilities are safe. Portable gas supplies for cooking should be kept to a minimum in designated areas away from the general public. The same should apply to any fuel supply items, such as portable generators. Generators should be suitably fenced to prevent public access from public areas. All these arrangements should be clearly shown on the site plan.

Electrical safety

Consider the entire installation and seek expert advice or consider specialist contractors. If the event is outside, consider whether it could be run off a lower voltage via a transformer. Use a Residual Current Device (RCD) especially outside or in a damp or wet environment. This is particularly important for musical instruments, microphones, etc. You cannot use an RCD where a sudden loss of power could be dangerous, for example, on lighting systems or moving machinery. Use proper electrical connectors and avoid insulation tape or other temporary measures. Locate electrical leads safely to prevent tripping hazards. All portable electrical appliances (including extension leads etc.) should be tested for electrical safety and a record kept. Any hired equipment should come with a certificate of electrical safety.

Emergency lighting

At small events, torches may be sufficient, but large events will need standby or continuously operating generators. Ensure earthing rods are used where applicable.

Manual handling (lifting and carrying)

Assess the venue and the tasks involved in creating the event. What will need to be moved and how will you do it? Will there be awkward, heavy items such as beer barrels or marquees? Is the object to be moved heavy, slippery, and uneven in weight or shape? Think about its final location – is it up or down stairs? Does it need to fit into a tight space? Who is doing the work? Are there enough people? Their age, sex, strength and fitness should all be considered. Whenever possible use aids and equipment such as sack barrows to help with the task.

Adverse weather

Poor ground conditions will create an instant danger to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. In this instance, you should consider providing a four wheel drive vehicle or tractor to assist participants whose vehicles are affected and a wheel wash to prevent transfer of mud from the site to the highway. The employment of professional private contractors to undertake vehicle parking and on site management should be considered.

Contingency plans

Thought should be given to the implications on the event of extreme weather conditions. Will the event be cancelled? Could specialist matting be hired in at short notice? Or could the event be moved to an alternative inside venue? This will involve a lot of planning and may be too complex for anything other than the smallest of events. There could also be other scenarios, which should be planned for, such as dealing with a disappointed crowd if the main attraction has not turned up.

Clearing up

Arrangements may be required for waste disposal, rubbish clearance and recycling both during and after the event. Individuals should be designated specific responsibilities for emptying bins and clearing the site.

Site plan

A site plan should be drawn up identifying the position of all the intended attractions and facilities. Plan out and designate the entrance and exit points, circulation routes, vehicle access and emergency evacuation paths.

During the event – on the day

Final preparations – just prior to the event carry out a detailed safety check including:

Routes

Ensure clear access and exit routes and adequate circulation within the site. Pay particular attention to emergency routes.

Inspections

A walk-through inspection of the site should be carried out immediately prior to, during and after the event to identify any potential hazards and to check communications are working. You may want to carry out more than one inspection during the event. All defects should be noted and remedial action taken.

Siting

Make sure that all facilities and attractions are correctly sited in accordance with your site plan. Be certain that the first aid facilities, fire extinguishers and any cash collection boxes are in place. Check waste bins are in their correct locations.

Signage

Ensure adequate signage is displayed where necessary. This should include emergency exits, first aid points, fire points, information points, lost/found children points and other welfare facilities, such as toilets and drinking water. Remember that only previously approved signage may be used on the highway.

Vehicles

Check that all contractors’, performers’ and exhibitors’ vehicles have been removed from the site or parked in the designated area before the public are permitted to enter.

Structures

Ensure all staging, seating, marquees and lighting structures have been erected safely and that certification has been obtained from the relevant contractors as a record of this.

Barriers

Check that all barriers and other protection against hazards are securely in place and there is no risk of falling from staging or other facilities.

Stewards

Make sure that all staff have arrived and are in their correct location. Ensure all stewards are wearing the correct clothing for easy identification. Make sure the communication systems work.

Lighting

Check all lighting is working, including any emergency lighting.

Public information

Make sure the public address system is working and can be heard in all areas.

Briefing

Check that all stewards and staff have been fully briefed and understand their responsibilities.

After the event

Site condition

After the event, another inspection should be carried out to ensure nothing has been left on the site that could be hazardous to future users. This inspection should also identify any damage, which may have been caused during the event. If any structures are left overnight, ensure they are left in a safe condition and are safe from vandalism. If numerous structures are left, specific security arrangements may be required.

Accidents

If an accident occurs, the names and addresses of victims and witnesses should be obtained, photographs taken and a report made by the organisers. An accident form should be completed and a copy sent to the landowner. You will also need to advise your own insurance company. If any accident or dangerous occurrence is reported, action must be taken to prevent any further incidents taking place.

Debrief

After the event organise a debrief so that any lessons learnt can be noted. Review the risk assessment and make a note of improvements/changes that could be made for similar events organised in the future.

Winter Precautions

We recommend that property owners take precautions to minimise the risk of damage occurring to their properties this winter.  This guide contains information about how to implement simple risk management measures to protect your property in winter.

Risk Guide - Winter Precautions

Winter precautions to reduce the risk of property damage

We recommend that property owners take precautions to minimise the risk of damage occurring to their properties this winter. These involve taking simple and practical steps such as carrying out regular inspections and, where necessary, ensuring heating systems are kept on to avoid freezing. While freezing weather is almost certain to be the cause of some major losses this winter, in most cases only minor damage will occur. However, these minor incidents can interrupt the running of organisations costing the customer valuable time and money. In many cases these incidents can be avoided by implementing simple risk management measures.

  • Heating systems, particularly boilers, should be inspected and maintained under a full maintenance contract.
  • Frost thermostats should be fitted to ensure that boilers and heating systems automatically come on in cold periods. We would recommend a minimum temperature of 10 degrees celcius is maintained in very cold periods.
  • Heating systems should be left on to ensure the ambient temperature of the building is high enough to prevent the possibility of water pipes freezing. We would recommend a minimum temperature of 10 degrees celsius is maintained in very cold periods.
  • Inspections should be made to ensure that pipes and water tanks are adequately lagged. Particular attention should be given to roof spaces and areas where pipework could be exposed to low temperatures. This inspection should take place prior to the start of winter and all exposed pipework should be insulated.
  • Roof spaces should be inspected in late autumn to ensure insulation materials are in good condition and correctly installed.
  • Ensure that automatic sprinkler systems are fully maintained and that alternate systems are switched to air during winter months (November to May).
  • Ensure that heating is provided in the sprinkler valve room.
  • Where buildings are permanently unoccupied, we recommend that all water pipes, tanks and heating systems should be drained and water supplies disconnected. Where buildings are temporarily unoccupied, heating systems should be kept on.
  • Regular inspections should also be made to ensure the buildings are in good order. A risk assessment should be undertaken to establish the frequency of these inspections.
  • Any external water taps should be protected with insulation to protect them from frost.
  • Ensure plans of the building which highlight the location of stopcocks are available, so water can be quickly turned off in an emergency.
  • Implement maintenance contracts to ensure that gutters are cleared of fallen leaves and debris. This will reduce the risk of blockages and subsequent overflowing of water into the building.

Get a Quote or Find out More

For more information about insurance, please call us on 01380 732 809 or email: info@communityinsurance.co.uk. You can also request a free quote using the online form: