Cllr Julie Banks gave an introduction to the policy. She said that the Corporate Health and Safety Team has a primary role to advise Corporate Management Team and Group Managers on all Health, Safety and Welfare matters.
This can be carried out by providing internal safety policies to advise management on complex areas of Health and Safety Legislation.
Members should note these policies are for internal use and advise DBC employees on how to manage risks associated with that activity.
Our Safety Consultants have put together these two policies following on from a review of safety arrangements and through discussions at CMT.
The Policies have been subject to internal scrutiny of both the Health, Safety and Resilience Committee and the Corporate Management Team. All relevant Council departments have been consulted.
These policies are not to be complied with by Council Business Tenants such as the community centres and leisure contractors. Members will be aware that they do have a duty as with all businesses to comply with the requirements of the Health and Safety legislation.
Russell Ham presented the report.
Cllr Birnie said that, even after his meeting with officers where he was assured that the policy would not apply to Community Centres he was still concerned with the impact that applying these rules could have on the viability of Community Centres as he felt the policy is ambiguous and contradictory. On page 41 an exception is set out that purports to exclude Community Centres. But, it then adds a rider unless the events fall under the process of the SAG – and he asked what is that process?
R Ham replied that the policy is not new. The form can be filled out if you are having an event and SAG (Safety Advisory Group) are not authorising but advising.
Cllr Birnie asked that when they advise of this, is that mandatory and if so, do the same time limits apply to Community Centres as to other applicants?
E Walker explained that notification is not mandatory unless it is a licensable event. They are able, like any other business, to go to SAG and to register for advice which will include Police, Fire. Licensing, Environmental Health etc.,
Cllr Birnie asked whether the six week time limit would apply.
E Walker replied that the timescales are in the policy as this is a multi-agency group and the parties would need to be available to attend the meetings.
Cllr Birnie pointed out that in page 40 1.3 – the policy applies to ALL events that are in DBC owned or managed buildings which of course Community Centres fall within, and 42 2A says the same – ALL events.
Cllr Beauchamp said that he went through SAG for the street market in the Old Town and found it helpful.
E Walker repeated that it was not mandatory but is there to support events.
Cllr Timmis brought up the festival that was held in Great Gaddesden and asked if they applied.
E Walker said that this went through licencing and was passed to SAG regarding issues around noise and licencing, not to approve but to pull together everyone. SAG is for guidance and support. E Walker added that any action taken would be under individual components of the group ie: Police, Licencing, Fire etc.,
Cllr Birnie said that he felt this is an ill-defined document and need cleaning up before it goes to council.
Cllr Hobson asked if SAG is additional advice to help with the Health and Safety law and added that she thought the wording needed some clarification but other than that she was happy.
E Walker confirmed that SAG is there to give additional assistance and support.
Cllr Beauchamp said that he was told it was mandatory (re the street market) and asked if that was no longer the case? Cllr Beauchamp said that clarity as to exactly what is and isn’t compulsory would be helpful.
E Walker replied that it could be that Environmental Health required that it go through DSAG. DSAG may contact you on behalf of a partner.
Cllr Birnie said that a clear statement that a submission to the SAG process was voluntary for Community Centres would address the concerns of their managers.
Cllr Stevens remarked that if Community Centres were hosting large scale events they should go through SAG as it was both helpful and good practice.
E Walker said that very few Community Centre events have as many as 500 attendees.
Cllr Birnie said that if it was specified it was voluntary in the document he would be happy to recommend.
E. Walker agreed that this would be the case.
The policy was agreed and endorsed.