Safer Places of Worship

Organised Events

A place of worship has a duty of care to protect anyone who is affected by their activities. If your church wants to hold an event there are a number of considerations that need to be undertaken to ensure that the event runs smoothly and safely.

  • It is important to contact your insurance provider if you are planning an event that could be classed as safety critical or hazardous, they will advise whether there is sufficient liability cover for the event.
  • If the event involves a road to be closed, liaising with the Local Authority and highways authorities at least 12 weeks before the event takes place will allow plenty of time for planning to take place.
  • If the event is located on any land that is owned by a local authority permission will be needed
  • Carrying out a detailed risk assessment, will assist in identifying what the hazards and safety issues could be and detail how the church can minimise the identified risks.
  • If you are using a third party event organiser ensuring that they have adequate insurance cover and establishing responsibilities between them and the church will ensure that each party knows who is responsible for what.
  • Some events require a licence. Example of when you may require a licence:
    • sale of alcohol;
    • provision of live music or recorded music;
    • theatrical events;
    • film;
    • gambling;
    • sport.
  • First aid facilities should be considered. For large events this can be provided by external organisations such as the Red Cross or St John’s ambulance. For smaller events a trained first aider should be available. An accident book should be on site to record all accidents.
  • Organisers must ensure that they have an evacuation procedure in the event of a fire occurring, even if the event is outside.
  • If the expected attendance is more than 100 a public address system will assist in communicating with attendees and relaying information in the event of an emergency.
  • If the event is significant it is the organisers’ responsibility to inform the police and fire brigade.
  • It is important to ensure that the event is supervised adequately you may wish to employ marshals to supervise any large events.
  • If you are using any professional caterers at the event, it is important to ensure that they are registered under the Food safety act and with their Local Authority Environmental Health Department. It is also important to ensure that they are health and safety compliant.
  • Marquees or temporary structures should be fit for purpose and erected by a reputable supplier, with separate insurance in place.
    Visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/event-safety/temporary-demountable-structures.htm

For more information on events visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/event-safety/index.htm


Events in public places

Organising an event in a public place requires careful planning. The below are suggested considerations that may assist in organising and running an event:


  • Churches are advised to consider the number of people participating and watching the event and ensure that the event is sufficiently marshalled.
  • All routes should be checked before and a full risk assessment undertaken.
  • If any money is being collected at the event you must be granted a local authority permit.
  • Barriers are recommended to keep participants separate from traffic where possible. When using barriers, cones etc the safety of street works and road works code of practice guidance must be followed.

    To view the guidance please visit
    www.gov.uk/government/publications/safety-at-street-works-and-road-works
  • It is important to carry out a full risk assessment to identify any potential risks. You will need to take into account the numbers expected and the type of visitor
  • Procedures should be planned and consideration needs to be given for any unexpected emergency. This is important as this could involve the urgent movement of a large number of people.
  • Whilst the event is being undertaken it is important to constantly monitor the situation and identify any problems quickly.
  • It is advisable to work with the Police and other emergency services in advance of any event as they may wish to assert control over aspects of the event for purposes of public order management.