28 September 2018
Responsibilities, planning and frequently asked questions.
From services to concerts to fundraising events, churches are part of the fabric of their local communities. Most of the time, such activities represent little or no additional risk. However, larger events or unusual fundraising activities can present more significant ones. These will need to be properly managed to ensure people remain safe.
Your responsibilities when organising and hosting an event
All entertainment events are subject to the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act and the regulations passed under it. There is a duty of care to ensure the safety of visitors to the church, hall or grounds. In addition:
- Licensing legislation may apply
The church can be involved at the following three levels:
This is the lowest level of involvement in an event where the Church has no control over its organisation and merely benefits from the proceeds raised. For example, an individual holding a coffee morning in their home for the benefit of the church.
Any individuals who organise such an event should check with their household insurers to ensure that their public liability cover would apply should anyone be injured on their premises. Most insurers are likely to accept such an activity if they are notified of it.
Here the Church arranges an event but uses the services of a specialist independent provider to manage all or part of the event. This would normally be the case where the event is of a hazardous nature. For example, fireworks display.
We would expect the Church to use a competent specialist provider in such circumstances and also to check that they have adequate public liability insurance in place.
In this situation, the Church has total control of the event including all activities. This is likely to be the case where the activities are of a non-hazardous nature and normally associated with a church
Managing health and safety at church events
Whatever the event, all that's required is to follow a series of basic tasks. These include focusing on:
- Planning for the event – the level of detail of this should be proportionate to the scale of the event and the degree of risk associated with it
- Planning for incidents and emergencies – so that you can respond promptly in an appropriate manner. Again, this will be dependent upon the level of risk presented by any event
- Managing the event so that it runs safely – here you may need to ensure adequate co-ordination of the activities; provide training for employees and volunteers; monitor the precautions you have put into place and so on.