The outcome of the SGSA’s consultation in 2017, means that local authorities should consider safety in its widest context as part of the regulatory responsibility to ensure reasonable safety at sports grounds.
Many local authorities are now considering the steps that need to be taken to ensure people are protected from any danger that could cause physical harm or injury and are reviewing safety certificates and ensuring they have effective oversight of CT, crowd disorder and anti-social behaviour for everyone in a sports ground.
The SGSA has produced guidance documents and FAQs, as well as checklists and templates and has been working with local authorities and sports grounds to provide support and guidance to help with integrating these additional elements.
It is for the local authority to decide the best approach that suits them.
Medway Council is leading by example and has shared the approach they are taking. Their plan includes;
Review the current certificate and identify what to include.
Produce a draft certificate using the template conditions produced by the SGSA and making amendments based on the guidance documents.
Meet with the club to discuss what additional elements were planned to be included in the certificate.
Request the club complete a revised Event Safety Policy, a Counter-Terrorism plan and a Crowd Disorder and Anti-Social Behaviour plan. Advise them to keep the plans straight forward and to work with the local police, CTSA and SecCos to document what is already being done and any future activity that is being planned.
Review the SAG Terms of Reference and propose a Part 2 SAG after the wider SAG to specifically discuss and document separately sensitive CT matters. This Part 2 SAG will generally be held with the Police, the sports ground and the local authority.
Following the initial meeting with the sports ground, they will convene a meeting in 3 months with all the relevant parties to review the new Event Safety Policy, Counter-Terrorism plan and a Crowd Disorder and Anti-Social plan.
Once all the new plans and policies are in place the Safety Certificate will be issued.
The aspiration is that a revised Safety Certificate will be in place for the 2018/19 season.
It is important to note that whilst Medway Council works to get the revised safety certificate in place for the new season, both the ground and the local authority are already progressing activity in all these areas.
To achieve this plan, Medway Council is working hard to ensure that a partnership approach is being maintained and that everyone is working together to achieve the best outcomes for the safety of people in the ground.
Geoff Dingsdale, Match Monitoring Officer at Medway Council, said: “The safety of the public is our top priority and we work closely with sports venues across Medway to ensure they are following safety guidelines. The SGSA’s guidelines are a helpful tool in providing advice to sports grounds and also help us monitor safety plans efficiently.
"We are fortunate that our local football club is proactive in implementing safety checks and takes responsibility for these issues on a weekly basis. We will continue to work closely with our partner agencies, as well as the club, to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time at sports events.”
Derbyshire County Council has adopted a difference approach.
SAG Chair, Simon Hobbs said “Following the SGSA consultation on a wider definition of safety and the need to consider anything that could cause physical harm or injury, it has been necessary to review safety certification and how our Safety Advisory Group works to ensure it includes the additional elements of counter-terrorism, crowd disorder and anti-social behaviour and consideration of everyone at a sports ground.”
Derbyshire County Council are developing an action plan for each of the 3 areas to be considered as part of the wider understanding. They set up 2 task and finish groups to develop action plans which will then be presented back to the SAG for approval and oversight.
The first group consisting of Council, Club and Police representatives will consider counter terrorism and anti-social behaviour.
The second group including the Club and Borough Council as well as County Council representatives will look at health and safety/ safety of all people issues.
The action plans will consider what approach to take, who should be represented at the SAG, and how best to support the SAG.
Alongside the task and finish groups, any amendments to safety certificates for designated grounds and regulated stands will also be considered.
The revised General Safety Certificates and associated documentation will then be reviewed by the SAG before the County Council re-issues in the summer.
For further information and SGSA guidance documents and FAQs, checklists and templates visit www.sgsa.org.uk