While the government has removed the COVID-19 restrictions, the pandemic is not over, and various elements of event organisation still need to be considered when planning your specific event to help prevent and reduce the spread of infection.
See Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19 and the Reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, in the workplace- Guidance - GOV.UK
Whilst legal restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 infection have been lifted, we all need to use our personal judgement to help protect ourselves, our families, friends and communities, especially whilst the prevalence of COVID-19 in Southampton remains high.
Government advice for event organisers recommends five principles:
1. Maximising ventilation of any inside spaces.
2. Enhanced cleaning throughout the event, especially surfaces that people touch a lot
3. Hand hygiene made easy and accessible.
4. Create a face-covering friendly culture. Create an environment and culture which is respectful of people’s choices and is permissive for people to wear face coverings if they so wish, recognising individuals are best placed to understand their own circumstances and perceptions of risk
5. Advising people only to attend if feeling well.
Southampton City Council's Public Health team also recommends the following additions:
1. Your event risk assessment should include consideration of the risks from and spread of infection from respiratory infections such as COVID-19.
2. Communicate and train: tell workers and customers how to visit safely. Events and activities should operate in a way that instils confidence in everyone that they are as safe as possible.
3. Encourage wearing face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, when rates of transmission are high.
4. Encourage and enable good hand and respiratory hygiene.
5. When infection rates are high, think about ways to limit mixing between people by minimising the number, proximity and duration of contacts.
6. Encourage all eligible groups to get vaccinated.
These principles will be reviewed on a regular basis in light of prevailing infection rates in the city and changes to government guidance.
It is important to recognise that as we continue to operate within the Living with COVID Strategy, as an event organiser, you are responsible for the safety of staff and visitors at your event under the Health & Safety at Work Act. Existing health and safety legislation means employers are required by law to protect their employees from harm, and may wish to maintain proportionate measures to reduce risk.
Find out the latest information on daily COVID 19 updates in Southampton from the Data Observatory website
Contain Outbreak Management Fund - Funding support for event organisers has been extended until the end of September 2022.
Stay up to date with COVID 19 information on the Southampton City Council website
For all event applications, see the event application process information below and note that this process can take up to 12 weeks.
Southampton - The Ideal Location for Events and Promotional Activities
From small scale community events to large one-off national and international events, Southampton really is the ideal city for your next event. The city boasts more than 50 parks and green spaces and some of these are located right in the heart of the city centre.
Southampton’s Guildhall Square is well known as the Cultural Quarter of the City and the space itself plays host to many events, installations and exhibitions.
Above Bar Pedestrian Precinct, Bargate Monument and Guildhall Square are popular locations for promotions and experiential marketing activities.
It is useful to send Southampton City Council’s Events Team an email and briefly describe what it is you would like to do, where you would like to do it and when.
They will then do a quick check to make sure that your proposed event or promotion does not clash with something else that is happening in the city at the same time and that the location you would like to hold your event is available and suitable.
Image: ABP Marathon
How much notice do you need?
Ideally, contact the Events Team about your event as soon as possible as the more notice they have, the more chance there is of being able to overcome any potential problems which may arise.
As a general rule, a minimum 12 weeks’ notice is required. Applications received within this period may not be able to be considered and processed in time, and large-scale or complex events may require even more notice.
Image: Let's Ride Southampton
Event and Promotions Application Form
If the location you would like to use is available and suitable to organise your event or promotion, you will be asked to complete and submit an Event and Promotions Application form to firstname.lastname@example.org
The form is designed for all types of events and promotions, so please complete as much information as possible that is relevant to your event, you can always attach supporting information. If you have any questions or are unsure about anything, contact the Events Team for assistance. It is advisable to keep a copy of your completed application form together with the terms and conditions for your own records.
Image: Let's Rock Southampton
As well as completing and submitting the application form, you also need to submit -
What happens next
Once your completed application and documentation has been received, it will be distributed to the Southampton’s Events Safety Advisory Group (ESAG).
This group consists of representatives from the Police, Fire, South Central Ambulance Service, Public Health as well as other relevant Council departments such as Licensing and Highways.
Other agencies are also consulted as necessary depending on the nature of the event.
Image: Southampton Mela Festival
Event applications will be considered on a case by case basis. Documentation submitted will be assessed on the type of event, the COVID-19 mitigations and what is happening in the local area at the time (for example community prevalence, variants of concern and hospital capacity) in order to determine whether there is a significant threat to public health. Please note that any submissions that do not detail how they align with the relevant government guidance will be rejected.
If your application successfully passes through the ESAG, you will be sent confirmation from Southampton City Council’s Events Team.
Image: The Grid Experience
It is appreciated that it has been a difficult time for event organisers but there remains the risk that restrictions may be reinstated in future and that any events planned are subject to postponement / cancellation even if it has been given permission. Southampton City Council may decide to do this in accordance with its event applications terms and conditions or if it is:
Responding to a serious and imminent threat to public health;
Necessary to prevent, protect against, control or provide a public health response in relation to the incidence or spread of COVID-19; and
The measures taken are a proportionate way to achieve that purpose.
How much does it cost?
The cost of holding an event or promotion in Southampton varies depending on the location, the duration and nature of the event. Costs can be discussed with you on your initial application.
Costs for a promotional site in the city centre or Guildhall Square vary, depending on the location, size and duration. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Charity / Fundraising Events
If you are organising a charitable collection as part of your event, you will need to apply for a Street Collection permit from the council's Licensing Team. Find out more about a Street Collection permit.
Do you need a Temporary Events Notice or Premises Licence?
Your application is also sent to the City Council’s Licensing team who will assess whether your proposed event / promotion will require a Licence under the Licensing Act (2003) e.g. Temporary Events Notice (TENs) or a Premises Licence. If your event / promotion does require a licence, please remember that it will be your responsibility to obtain this at your own expense. This is in addition to the fee payable for using the land for your event / promotion.
A TENs - depends on the licensable activities (sale or supply of alcohol, regulated entertainment* and late night refreshment) at a small event (no more than 499 people at any one time) for a short period of time. Find out more about TENs
A Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003 is required for any premises where any of the following take place: Sale of alcohol by retail / regulated entertainment* / the provision of hot food or hot drink between 23:00 and 05:00 on any day.
*Regulated entertainment is defined as:
- A performance of a play
- An exhibition of a film
- An indoor sporting event
- A boxing or wrestling entertainment
- A performance of live music
- Any playing of recorded music
- A performance of dance
- Anything similar to music or dancing
Find out more about a Premises Licence
Are you playing live or recorded music at your event?
Whether you’re staging music events or playing background music you may need TheMusicLicence. By obtaining TheMusicLicence you’ll be able to play PRS for Music and PPL music legally and enjoy its benefits whilst ensuring that its creators are fairly rewarded for their work.
Find out more about TheMusicLicence
Do you need to apply for a Temporary Road Closure?
A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) is used to temporarily restrict the movement of traffic or impose waiting restrictions on the public highway. In order to allow sufficient time for the legal process to be completed, Balfour Beatty require a minimum of 8 weeks advanced notice to arrange a TTRO.
Contact Balfour Beatty via email SouthamptonTMA@balfourbeatty.com or telephone 023 8079 8030
Find out more about applying for a TTRO
You will also need to appoint a Traffic Management Supplier to create a traffic management plan and to provide signage, road closure infrastructure and staff to implement the approved closures.
Do you need a Child Performance Licence?
If any children under the age of 16 are performing at your event, it is your responsibility as the Event Organiser to apply for the appropriate Child Performance Licence.
Find out more about Child Performance Licence
Bouncy castles: safety advice
These simple precautions can help you avoid serious accidents, whether you supply bouncy castles and inflatables, or you are hiring one for your event.
Find out more from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website
Promotional and Experiential Marketing Activities
There are several key locations that are used for promotional and experiential marketing activities or sampling. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and availability.
Unfortunately due to the holding powers which govern the use of the city's parks Southampton City Council are unable to give permission for private events or private parties. Please view this web link re parks information and do's and don'ts regarding BBQs.
If you require further information on holding an event or promotion in Southampton, please email email@example.com
Southampton City Council has a Green City Charter which aims to create a cleaner, green, healthier and more sustainable city.
In practical terms we are keen to ensure that the impact of your event on the environment is minimised.
We want you to consider all elements of your event which help to achieve this goal. Consideration should be given to all aspects of your event including using alternatives to single use plastics; not permitting plastic straws or plastic bags, making use of re-usable or compostable cups, avoiding mixed material packaging, using re-usable bungee or Velcro straps rather than plastic cable ties, reusable water bottles, providing recycling facilities, using bio-diesel generators where possible, encouraging visitors to travel to the event via public transport and using local suppliers and services where possible.
Contain Outbreak Management Fund - Support for Event Organisers
It is recognised that as an event organiser there have been additional pressures on you during the Covid-19 pandemic in ensuring your event is safe for visitors and staff. Extra measures are still likely to be needed at your event to help reduce and prevent the spread of infection.
Limited funding is available for public outdoor events taking place between 1 April 2022 and 30 September 2022, which is designed to help support you in providing additional measures as identified in your risk assessment to create a safer environment.
Events and Festivals Grant
This city council grant scheme is open from 6 May 2022 to 31 January 2023 for events taking place before 31 March 2023.
Grants are offered to support event organisers to hold events and festivals with more than 2,000 attendees across the city of Southampton.
Grants of between £250 and £5,000 are available to support up to 50% of the costs of events and festivals that are accessible to the general public.
Applications are welcome from non-profit organisations such as voluntary and community groups, social enterprises, faith organisations, schools, PTAs and ‘Friends of’ groups. For-profit businesses or sole traders (applications will be considered on a case by case basis).
Priority will be given to residents and organisations / businesses based in the City of Southampton.
More Grants for Events
Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants
This is an open access programme for arts, museums and libraries projects. The fund supports thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations.
Commercial services from Southampton City Council have reliable, professional services for event organisers in and around Southampton. They have extensive experience of delivering high quality services to residents in the city and can draw on that experience to deliver first-class services for your event including
Waste and recycling: incorporating provision of waste containers and waste disposal.
Cleansing: litter picking services and cleansing services during and after your event, jet washing and mechanical sweeping.
Advertising: including outdoor and digital advertising opportunities.
If you do not have experience of organising events, it is recommended that you consult The Purple Guide as it provides useful advice on organising safe events.
The Cabinet Office has also produced a helpful "Can Do" guide to organising and running voluntary and community events which you may find useful. You also may wish to contact the council’s Events Team for advice.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Events Team. firstname.lastname@example.org
Useful Documents and links
- Event and Promotions Application form
- Event Management Plan template this example can be adapted and can assist you in the whole planning process of your successful event.
- Emergency Planning EMP guidance
- HSE Risk Assessment guidance
- Fire Risk Assessment guidance - for open air events and venues
- Guidance : Voluntary and community events a 'can do' guide
- The Purple Guide - to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Other Events
- Events Support from Southampton City Council services
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - Guidance on running events safely
The HSE website will help organisers run events safely. Others may also find the website useful, eg contractors, health and safety advisers and workers at events. Good planning and organisation is essential to putting on an event that is both safe and enjoyable. For many events all that is required is to follow a basic series of steps.
HSE Guidance on running events safely
Venue and site design
Temporary demountable structures
Managing crowds safely
Using barriers at events
Falls from height
Amusements and attractions
Crowded Places Guidance
NaCTSO (National Counter Terrorism Security Office) is responsible for providing advice and guidance to government and industry to; protect crowded places throughout the UK from the terrorist threat, protect hazardous sites and prevent dangerous substances from being used for terrorist purposes, protect critical national infrastructure from terrorists.
The UK faces a real threat from terrorism and crowded places remain an attractive target. Crowded places include shopping centres, sports stadia, bars, pubs and clubs and event sites which are easily accessible to the public and attractive to terrorists.
For the latest up to date version of NaCTSO guidance, please visit www.protectuk.police.uk