Planning an event
Event organisers need to undertake detailed planning for all aspects of their event.
Financial plan or budget
The term ‘financial management’ refers to the planning, directing, monitoring, organising, and controlling of the monetary resources of an organisation in a manner to best contribute to helping an organisation accomplish its objectives.
Some key items to ensure are listed in your budget:
- Venue Hire
- Sport equipment
- Audio-visual Equipment
- Volunteer costs (meals & uniforms)
- Communications / promotions / advertising
- Photography / filming / livestreaming
There are various online accounting tools available to assist.
Your communications plan should consider the audiences and the message in both the pre-event phase and during the event.
Different strategies and communication methods can be appropriately used for these phases.
Who you want to attend or participate in your event will determine how you will market your event, what tools you will use, and the timelines for your marketing plan.
Your marketing plan should be clear about your objectives and how you'll achieve them. Set clear, realistic and measurable objectives, outline the strategies and steps to achieving them, provide a budget and allocate responsibilities and a timeline for each marketing activity.
Risk Management plan
Risk management is the process of systematically eliminating or minimising the adverse impact of all activities which may give rise to injurious or dangerous situations. This requires the development of a framework within which risk exposure can be monitored and controlled. Risk management is a tool by which persons involved in sport or an event can seek to meet their duties and thus avoid liability.
Risks which can be covered by a risk management program include:
- Legal risks – losses and costs arising from legal actions
- Physical risks – injuries to participants and the public
- Financial risks – increased insurance premiums, costs associated with injuries, loss of financial stability and asset value, replacement costs and earning capacity and increased external administrative costs
Risk management should be viewed as an ongoing process throughout the planning and implementation phases of your event and reflected in the policies and procedures developed.
Emergency management plan
An Emergency Management Plan (EMP) also known as an emergency Response Plan outlines how you will respond to an emergency at your event. It should be developed in consultation with the venue or land owner, NSW Police Force, Fire and Rescue or the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Ambulance.
Transport, traffic and pedestrian management plan
You are required to develop a transport management plan (TMP) if you anticipate that your event will impact on traffic, transport or pedestrians. Depending on the size of your event, preparation of a TMP can be a very complex exercise and require specialist expertise.
In development of your TMP it is essential that you consult with the local council, Police Force and Roads and Maritime Services.
Your event may need to be considered by your council’s local traffic committee. You should begin discussing your TMP with your local council at least six months before the event. Be sure to confirm when the committee meets, as it is often only monthly or less frequently. Larger-scale events may require a longer planning period.
The NSW Government Guide to Traffic and Transport Management for Special Events is an essential resource for event organisers that will impact on roads, traffic and transport.
Other resources relating to Traffic and Transport planning include:
- Road Occupancy Licence application – Non Development and Special Event
- Sample communications requirements for event organisers
Crowd management plan
It is vital to consider crowd management. Even an event with a small attendance can become crowded. If you are expecting large numbers of people it is strongly recommended you employ the services of a professional consultant to advise you on how to address crowd management issues, and on how to develop a crowd management plan.
A security guard service licensed for crowd control and with event experience can provide invaluable expertise to help manage potential risks at your event, and may be legally required.
Even for small events it is important to consider how cash will be managed on-site, how any infrastructure or equipment will be secured and who is responsible for access control onto the event site.
Alcohol management plan
To sell or supply alcohol at your event, you must obtain the appropriate liquor licence from Liquor and Gaming NSW. Of the seven licence categories available, the one most likely to be relevant for the purpose of an event is the limited licence.
Applications for a limited licence should be made, at the absolute minimum, 28 days before your event however it is recommended that you submit an application as soon as possible as interested people can lodge submissions in relation to a liquor licence application.
Waste management plan
Even small events can generate large amounts of waste. You may be required to submit a waste management plan as part of your application for event approval to your local council or landowner.
Work health and safety plan
You have a duty of care to provide a safe environment in which staff, volunteers, and contractors work. Safe Work NSW provides information on your legal obligations.
Aquatic activity operation plan
This plan is required for any activity requiring an Aquatic Licence. An aquatic licence may be required for organised activities on, or in, navigable waters, including:
- A race, competition or exhibition (whether or not vessels or equipment are involved) that’s conducted, organised or promoted in, or on, any navigable waters
- Any other activity (whether or not vessels or equipment are involved) that’s conducted, organised or promoted in, or on, any navigable waters that restricts the availability of those waters for normal use by the public.
Other documents to keep a record of
- Certificate of currency for public liability Insurance and details of other insurance policies
- Building or owner consent from landowner or venue manager
- Permits, approvals and licenses
- Legal contracts and agreements (including those made with suppliers etc.)
- Safe work statements from contractors
The NSW Event Starter Guide contains information which may assist the initial scoping and planning of your event. This includes key documentation and legislative requirements, industry best practice suggestions, links to useful resources and organisations you may need to contact.
It is important to consider the potential environmental and social impacts of your event. Promoting your event’s focus on sustainability may also help attract partners, sponsors and attendees.
The key areas for tackling the sustainability of an event are:
- energy use
- waste management
- water use
- carbon consciousness.
Engagement with Government
Depending on the scale of your event, you should identify which level of government you should engage with. If your event will impact on a single community, then you should engage with the local council. Many councils have a dedicated Events Officer who can assist you in the planning of your event in the local area and provide advice as to approvals and licenses required for your event.
If your event requires additional resources from state government agencies (NSW Police Force, NSW Ambulance, additional transport services etc.) then you should approach the relevant state government agencies.
In each case it is recommended that approach government as early as possible to ensure that the required approvals, licenses, and plans can be put in place.
User charges for Government resources
Major and special events often require significant Government resources over and above what would normally be allocated by an agency in providing a public service. Examples include police officers inside sporting venues, an ambulance on site at the horse races and road closures for fun runs.
A “user charge” is defined as a payment to a producer (in this case a government agency) for the acquisition of a particular good or service of direct benefit to the payee. In the examples above event organisers/promoters and select members of the community directly benefit from the public services supplied as opposed to the general community.
The imposition of an appropriate charge for these services assists Government in achieving an efficient, effective, and equitable use of scarce public resources.
There is a whole-of government policy for the application of some user charges (police, ambulance and traffic management) for selected major and special events. If you believe your event may be eligible for consideration of any reduction or wavier in user charges, you should discuss this directly with the relevant agencies in the first instance, to determine eligibility and application processes. Information from NSW Police Force or NSW Ambulance is available from their respective websites.
You should make early contact with any relevant agencies to request a quote or estimate of any user charges that will be payable for your event. All user charges should be factored into your event budget, even if you intend to request a reduction or waiver of any costs.