Event Safety Advisory Group (ESAG)
Safety Advisory Groups (SAGs) were recommended as a result of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster and are now recognised as a fundamental core planning forum for safety planning at all sports stadia (including Wrexham Football Club). Using the same principles, SAGs (also known as Event Safety Advisory Groups (ESAGs)) are now often set up for major public events such as outdoor concerts.
Role of the ESAG
The role of the ESAG is separate from the operational management of the event. It is the event organiser/management team that will be ultimately responsible for health and safety planning and implementation. The ESAG functions in an advisory capacity. It provides independent advice to event organisers, who retain the legal responsibility for ensuring a safe event.
Wrexham County Borough Council and its partners North Wales Police, North Wales Fire Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service have established an Event Safety Advisory Group (ESAG) to provide guidance and support to organisers of events in Wrexham.
ESAG's aim is to welcome and encourage events to the County Borough of Wrexham, whilst ensuring that they take place safely and successfully. Through consultation and joint working between the Council and its partners, its aim is to standardise the approach to all organised events which are open to the public and are staged in a public place, on a public highway or on private land within the Council boundaries.
ESAG has no powers to stop an event taking place but can make recommendations to improve the safety and event management. (But see FOOTNOTE at the end of this section).
ESAG's remit includes outdoor events which require a premises licence or a temporary event notice under the Licensing Act 2003 such as music festivals and other large scale events such as firework displays, carnivals, sporting events etc.
Wrexham County Borough Council is committed to promoting high standards of safety at public events through a variety of means including participation by officers of the Council in Safety Advisory Groups.
For more information on the role, structure and purpose of the Wrexham ESAG please follow the Terms of Reference document.
Advantages of an ESAG approach
One of the important roles that an ESAG can perform is to bring all relevant partners and parties together to plan and prepare for the event in a co-ordinated way.
The responsibility for the management of the event still remains with the event organiser and therefore the ESAG needs to be working closely with the event organiser's management team. Members of the ESAG are likely to have good local knowledge on a range of issues and event organisers can often benefit from such insight.
The ESAGs can:
- Promote high levels of safety and welfare at events by giving advice and guidance. (The promotion of safer events contributes to safer and stronger communities)
- Advise on minimising any adverse impact or inconvenience to local residents, businesses and the general public
- Encourage wellbeing, health and welfare of the community
- Focus resources using risk assessment and facilitate proportionate advice and regulation
- Enable effective planning to facilitate less intensive monitoring and inspection
- Support businesses and organisers through having a single point of contact for the event and consistent professional advice and guidance
- Increase good publicity and encourage more business and visitor engagement through safer events
- Share good practice
In addition, the ESAG can hopefully help provide organisations that have limited experience in event management with some reassurance that they are on the right track.
Timely submission of plans and other event documents enables the ESAG members to consider and offer comment on the content using an audit style approach. In some cases members of the ESAG will deem it appropriate to draw attention to any potential deficiencies, shortcomings or omissions, particularly where they consider urgent action or improvement is warranted. The aim is to provide organisers with feedback on event proposals at an early stage so that there is ample time remaining to address any significant areas of concern raised.
Please note that individual representatives of organisations forming the ESAG may have powers to require event organisers to comply with their legal obligations. (e.g. Police, Fire Service, Health & Safety etc.)
Also, in circumstances where members of the ESAG (if convened) or the Police are sufficiently concerned that an event will compromise public safety then a written 'Notification of multi agency actions in relation to an organised event' can be issued to the event organiser. The decision to issue such a communication would not be taken lightly and would explain the nature of the concerns about public safety. (For an example see Appendix A of Guidance on Public Safety Policy (external link))
Where agreement cannot be reached following such a communication on actions to address concerns about public safety then members of the ESAG may decide to withdraw their support for an event.
N.B. The issuing of such communications may have adverse insurance implications for the event organiser. In extreme circumstances the Council or the Police could seek a High Court injunction to prevent an event going ahead.