Friday, 28th of November 2014

Ms. Niamh Redmond
Planning Section, Department of the Environment,
Community and Local Government, Custom House, Dublin 1

Ref: Submission regarding the review of the legislative framework for the licensing of outdoor music and entertainment events.

Dear Ms. Redmond,

Firstly I would like to take the opportunity to introduce the EIAI to you.  We are a group of practitioners and service providers in the event industry, with experience of the industry from within the public sector in terms of  the legislative approval process and project management of civic events, emergency planning,  event health and safety practice, programming, production and management service provision. We have come together to set up an Association that will provide a representative body for all sectors of the industry in the Republic of Ireland  in order to develop  and improve professionalism in the industry.  Our objectives are to:

  • Strengthen best practice
  • Cultivate leadership
  • Provide learning forums to improve event industry standards
  • Provide a communications network

A networking meeting was held earlier this year, attended by interested parties from across the industry.  At the meeting, the following were highlighted as key priorities to implement in order to achieve the above:

  • Develop, in collaboration with educational institutions, a qualification /accreditation / continuous professional development (CPD) system to establish a recognised professional standard for the industry.
  • Provision of a professional advisory group to provide professional oversight, mediation and advice for the industry and other associated private and public sectors.
  • Review current best practice and legislation and recommend improvements/amendments.
  • Provide an industry communication portal to support communication across the industry and with other public and private sector interests.
  • Provide a supporting network for the industry in respect to issues such as tendering, health and safety, consultation with public body regulators and enablers.

We also operate as a forum for the discussion and collaboration on issues of common interest to the industry.

We had commenced work on review of the legislation and are delighted that this opportunity has now arisen to put forward our submission for consideration and inclusion in the current review process.

Submitted by

Elaine O’Connor and Mary Weir

on behalf of the Event Industry Association of Ireland.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Planning and Development Regulations 2001 – 2013

182(1) In this Part, except where the context otherwise requires—

“application” means an application for a licence under section 231 of the Act;“applicant” means a person who applies for a licence;

“audience” means persons attending an event on a particular day, other than persons working or performing at the event, and shall include persons attending by invitation and, where an event comprises more than one performance at one or more locations at the venue on a particular day, the audience shall mean the total number of persons attending all such performances;

“code of practice” means a code of practice referred to in sections 232 and 268(2) of the Act;

“prescribed bodies” means –

(a) the relevant Chief Superintendent of An Garda Síochána,

(b) the Health Service Executive, or

(c) any county council, county borough corporation, borough corporation or urban district council (other than the local authority to whom the application is made), the area of which will be affected by the event;

“venue” means the site at which it is proposed to hold an event.

  • With regard to prescribed bodies we propose that “prescribed bodies” should be extended to include other relevant stakeholder groups and organisations.

183 Prescribed event – An event at which the audience comprises 5,000 or more people shall be an event prescribed for the purposes of section 230 of the Act.

We consider that the primary purpose of event legislation is to ensure the safe and proper management of events taking place, in order to protect attendees, participants and those working at the event. The setting of an audience attendance figure as the determinant, in addition to the nature of the event, is a very generalised method of establishing the necessity to apply for licensing in the context of event safety and management.

Setting a limit of an audience attendance of 5,000 has proven to cause event organisers to understate expected attendance at an event in order to avoid a licensing process. This can have a detrimental effect, for example in the case of a major incident, emergency services, such as the HSE, may not be aware that the event is even taking place and do not have the appropriate resources available in the area.  It can also affect the insurance for the event (where the attendance has been understated) which could have a negative effect on claims should an incident occur.

In addition to this our experience to date has been that, while the audience number may be under 5,000 the number of additional people on guest lists, volunteers and performers places organisers in a position where there are more than 5,000 people on site.  If the issue is the health and safety of persons at the event, should they not have to comply with event licensing regulation? We therefore suggest that the following be considered:

  • That event organisers enter into a pre-application consultation process (regardless of the scale of the event) where an initial application is risk assessed to evaluate if it also requires an event licensing process – regardless of the expected audience numbers. Examples of events with a high risk might include:
  • A weekend camping festival with 2,000 attendees,
  • Town Fete with a carnival in a rural area with 1,500 attendees,
  • Large religious gathering with 1,000 attendees,
  • Music concert on a main street with 4,000 attendees,
  • Sporting event with 10,000 participants and unknown number of spectators.
  • The impact of a major emergency at an event with less than 5,000
  • Anyone who wishes to initiate a gathering, of any scale should, at least, be required to submit some level of notification to the local authority so that, at the very least, other relevant statutory agencies could be notified.

185 (1)  Within the period of 2 weeks before applying for a licence, the applicant shall publish a notice of his or her intention to submit an application in one local and one national newspaper.

  • The prescribed method of newspaper notification to the public should be considered in this review. We would urge you to consider other additional methods of notification for interested parties e.g. local authority websites, community boards etc. This will ensure that businesses and residents can gain easier access to the relevant information.  This is particularly applicable for large-scale public events taking place in major urban areas.

186 (1)     An application must be made at least 10 weeks prior to the date for the holding of the event to which the application relates or, in the case of an application for a number of events at a venue in a period not exceeding one year, at least 10 weeks prior to the holding of the first event.

  • We suggest that a hierarchy of time frames or a longer time frame be examined and considered for applications depending on the event type, scale and audience size. Companies, organisations residents etc. affected by major events require sufficient advance notice and information on traffic and crowd management, access and egress in their area in order to make alternative arrangements and set in place necessary contingencies to deal with the various levels of disruption. This is particularly relevant for large scale events or events that involve severe traffic restrictions and road closures. Given the complexity of some events, 10 weeks would appear to be a very short time frame for the level of consultation and consideration of these types of events.

187 (1)  An  application shall –

(g) be accompanied by a draft plan for the management of the event prepared in accordance with the appropriate code or codes of practice and including—

          (i) the names and responsibilities of the event controller, the event safety officer      and their deputies,

          (ii) a draft site emergency plan,

          (iii) a draft traffic management plan,

          (iv) a draft safety strategy statement,

          (v) a draft environment monitoring programme for before, during and after the proposed event, and

          (vi) provision for the removal of structures and the carrying out of any works for the reinstatement of the venue subsequent to the event, for the full clean-up of the surrounding area, and for any remedial works arising from any damage caused to public property, facilities or amenities associated with the event,

  • Section (g) (i) – we would suggest the inclusion of a medical controller / similar as appropriate. We also suggest that, in addition to the names and responsibilities, key personnel should also identify their competence, status and authority in the application. It is the experience of some of our associates that an event controller or safety officer with experience in their respective roles for an event of 8,000 capacity does not necessarily have the experience or competency to progress to a similar role for a different event type or greater capacity, e.g. 70,000+.  In the Health, Safety, and Welfare at work legislation competency is considered as  “having regard to the task he or she is required to perform and taking account of the size or hazards of an undertaking or establishment in which he or she undertakes work, the person possesses sufficient training, experience and knowledge appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken”.
  • Section (g) – we would suggest the inclusion of a risk assessment and communications plan. In the context of what needs to be submitted regarding the draft plan for the management of an event we suggest that a standardised template with set order for the actual event management plan be implemented to enable easier assessment / review for all relevant stakeholders.
  • N.B. the above is also applicable to section 194

187 (2)  An  application shall – 6 copies of the application and accompanying documents, maps and drawings shall be submitted to the local authority.

  • We suggest the inclusion of a soft copy of all documentation for ease of distribution among statutory agencies and relevant stakeholders.

188 (1)  The local authority shall make the application, any accompanying documents, maps and drawings and any submission or observation made in relation to it, available for inspection during office hours at the offices of the local authority and such other places as it considers appropriate, for a period of 5 weeks from the date of receipt of the application.

  • We urge the implementation of this section with respect to section 185 (1) where there is a provision for inspection of documents at the offices of the local authority and other such areas as it considers appropriate. This should be adopted to enable the publishing of said documents and notifications on local authority websites.

192 (1) A local authority shall make a decision under section 231(3) of the Act in respect of an application not earlier than 5 weeks after receiving the application.

  • We suggest that consideration is given to the stipulation of a “no later than ” date regarding the decision to grant a licence. We acknowledge that a decision and the associated licence may be granted with a number of conditions, as is the case currently. We believe that this precedent should be used to enable the granting of licences well in advance of an event.

 

Planning and Development Act 2000

1. (4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3)(a), conditions subject to which a licence is granted may relate to all or any of the following—

(a) compliance with any guidelines or codes of practice issued by the Minister or any other Minister of the Government, or with any provisions of those guidelines or codes of practice;

  • Due to the outdated information and, in some cases, incorrect guidance provided in the current Code of Practice for Safety at Outdoor Pop Concerts and other musical events, we request that revocation of the current Codes of Practice be considered. Given the increase in the variety and nature of events that has emerged since the publication of the current Codes of Practice, a new Code of Practice is required.

We have expressed interest from individuals from across various sectors of the industry who are willing to work on a review/draft of a new Code of Practice in a similar process as recently carried out in the UK of the Purple Guide, that was carried out by the Event Industry Forum (http://www.eventsindustryforum.co.uk/).

We further submit that:

  • Some form of appeal process should be included in the legislation.
  • That a review of the definition of an event be carried out.
  • That there may be provision of exemptions for events that cannot be forward planned such as homecomings etc. However there may be an opportunity to provide in some way for such events by provision of an authority to draft a number of event plans for the venues/public spaces that are the most commonly used for such events. These “plans” could remain valid for a period of time and be subject to review at regular intervals as set out in the legislation.
  • The section of the plan that deals with the emergency planning element (emergency code words etc.) should be exempt from distribution / circulation and should be only shared with the prescribed bodies that require the information.
  • Consideration of the development of a central portal for submission of event applications similar to e-tenders, The Gathering website etc.
  • Consider an additional model of licensing as in, of venues, rather than the events at the venue.

For reference we refer you to the New York model (https://nyceventpermits.nyc.gov/) with the implementation of a  Nationwide Event Coordination and Management (inc. road closures). It is our belief that a similar system would be of huge benefit to both the event and tourism industry as it could provide accurate and easily accessible real-time information with regard to the majority of events taking place in Ireland for all interested parties.