The Safety Advisory Group (SAG) is a multi-agency forum that reviews and advises on safety for public events that take place in Merton.
Which events should be submitted to the SAG
You should submit your event to the SAG if it is to be held outdoors and:
- there will be more than 500 attendees, or
- it is a high-risk event, such as one with dangerous activities.
During the coronavirus pandemic, public events of all sizes should be submitted to the SAG, even if there will be fewer than 500 attendees.
The scope of the type of public events the SAG can cover is wide ranging but includes firework displays, carnivals, parades, music festivals and other events of a similar nature.
Tell us about a proposed event
If you are interested in holding a public event in Merton please complete and submit the Safety Advisory Group Event Form well in advance of your proposed event.
Safety Advisory Group Event Form
Please email your completed form to
The amount of notice you need to give depends on the size of your event:
- community events, or events of fewer than 500 people – 6 weeks' notice
- events of more than 500 people – 3 weeks' notice
- large events of 5,000 people or more – 6 weeks' notice
Event management plan
A vital part of the organisation of an event is preparing an event plan which will outline all the elements of your event. The event plan should cover areas such as:
- roles and responsibilities
- details of the event
- risk assessment
- site safety
- crowd management
- transport management
- welfare plan
- medical plan
- emergency plan
- communications plan
Whilst an event plan can take many formats, the council and SAG would like all event organisers to present a standardised version of their plan for consideration, and in order to do this we ask that
all event organisers consider using the Template Event Management Plan which includes helpful guidance notes as well as ensuring that all the necessary information is provided.
Template Event Management Plan
The size and timescale of your event and the activities planned to take place all determine how detailed your event management plan will need to be. For advice and guidance on how to create an effective event plan and manage your time, resources and finances effectively visit these websites:
Another important part of your event planning will be preparing a risk assessment. The risk assessment helps you to identify any hazards that could cause harm, assess the risks that arise from those hazards and decide on measures to eliminate or control these risks.
It is advisable to prepare a written risk assessment, no matter how small your event, so that this can be shared with those involved in planning and running the event. The Health and Safety Executive provides useful advice for
running an event safely.
What happens next
Depending on the nature and scale of the event you are proposing to hold, you may be asked to provide more information, or be invited to a SAG meeting to discuss the specifics of your proposal in more detail.
The following will be considered in assessing the risk presented and level of assistance that should be offered:
- Whether the event is public
- The experience of the event organiser
- The type of event
- The ability of the event to adhere to restrictions and guidelines relating to COVID-19
- If the event has been held previously
- Any special or unusual activities
- The location of the event
- The level of risk posed by the event
- The numbers of people attending
Anyone who organises an event, regardless of whether it is managed by an individual, volunteers or professional event staff, has a responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of anyone who may be affected in any way by the event. It is the responsibility of the event organiser to ensure that he or she is aware of, and complies with all the legislation relevant to the activity being undertaken.
During the COVID-19 pandemic a greater number of events will be reviewed by the SAG through full or partial (micro) SAGs which will include the relevant partner agencies. This approach is being taken to ensure that:
- the risks to public safety and health resulting from viral infection are properly considered, and
- that the council and its partners are satisfied that the event organisers have properly considered how to comply with government guidance on COVID-19
The role of the SAG
The SAG seeks to:
- promote high levels of safety and welfare at events by giving advice and guidance
- promote good practice in safety and welfare planning for events
- ensure events have a minimal adverse impact on the community
SAG meetings are chaired by the council, and membership includes various council service areas such as Environmental Health, Health and Safety, Licensing, Emergency Planning, Traffic Management and contractor agencies alongside external agencies such as emergency services, Transport for London and British Transport Police.
SAGs do not have legal powers or responsibilities and are not empowered to approve or prohibit events from taking place. They provide independent advice to event organisers, who retain legal responsibility for ensuring a safe event. Partner organisations forming the SAG may have enforcement powers which could be used to require event organisers to comply with their legal obligations and will consider using these if necessary.
We fully support community events taking place in the borough, and can provide specialist advice to help ensure the safe running of your event.
For advice on holding an event in an open space owned by Merton Council, please email email@example.com. For advice on events in all other locations please email RSP@merton.gov.uk.
The SAG is not an enforcement body, however some of the partner agencies such as the police, fire brigade and environmental health will have specific powers which could be invoked if they have particular concerns regarding your event which cannot be addressed informally through the SAG process.
In July 2020 the government introduced
Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No 3) Regulations 2020 giving new powers to local authorities, enabling them to act more quickly in response to outbreaks where speed is paramount. These Regulations give Local Authorities powers to stop events where there is considered to be a serious and imminent threat to public health due to COVID-19 and the action is deemed to be proportionate. These powers can be used to stop specific events from taking or introducing a blanket ban on an activity, potentially at very late notice.