THE Safety Advisory Group for the Boston area is aware of the many criticisms that have been made following the cancellation of the Christmas Market. It shares the frustration and disappointment.
The Safety Advisory Group (SAG) has identified some confusion and misconceptions and wants to explain what its role has been.
The SAG is not Boston Borough Council. It is a separate entity which sits under the Lincolnshire Event Safety Partnership (LESP). There are many Safety Advisory Groups across Lincolnshire, covering all the seven districts and specific larger events or venues.
Members of each group provide proportionate, timely and accurate guidance to event organisers and seek to facilitate a thriving, safe and supportive environment in which to do so; with the ultimate objective of successful events across the county and with foreseeable risks being addressed and kept to a minimum. Lincolnshire has a good reputation for safe events and the LESP model has been adopted in many other counties.
The Boston SAG includes representatives from Boston Borough Council, Lincolnshire County Council Highways, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire County Council Emergency Planning. Included in its terms of reference is to 'promote safety at public events.'
In the case of the Boston BID Christmas event, although it is inappropriate to give a detailed account of the challenges, we can say that the SAG could see how difficult it was for the new event manager (appointed by a committee of former BID members) to continue with the event, considering the shortfalls in the planning and lack of confirmed (financial) support. This culminated in foreseeable risks which would have been impossible to insure against and, if the event were to go ahead, may have led to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act, notwithstanding the risks to the attending public.
Safety Advisory Group members from all the relevant organisations highlighted the risks. The role of the SAG is to support the organiser by giving advice and guidance within their own areas of expertise. It is not for members of the SAG to cancel an event; that responsibility lies with the organiser having considered all relevant advice. There are also considerations such as permissions from licence holders and landowners, who can refuse permission for use of their licence or land for events where risks are evident.
Boston Borough Council
Lincolnshire County Council Highways
Lincolnshire County Council Emergency Planning
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue
East Midlands Ambulance Service