Friday, 25 May 2012

Individualising your risk management plan

How do you find out what are the risks in planning and running an event? Well the worst thing to do is to ask only yourself - if you knew all the risks, you would already have them under control. A key component to a successful event is research, with it you can ascertain all sorts of useful information such as:

·        Has the event been run before? If so, what problems arose last time?
·        If it has not been run before, who has run one similar?
·        Can you phone them, email them or research it on the Net to find out what the risks were?
·        Are there any checklists on the Net that would assist you with this event?

These are the 5 factors any event organiser must take into account while planning an event:
  • Perils : These are natural causes of disaster – i.e. storms, floods, high winds, hail etc. These are sometimes predictable and preventable. Consult the weather bureau for probable trends
  • Hazards: These are predictable and preventable – i.e. loose cables, open manholes etc
  • Vulnerabilities:  - When the nature of the event opens up the organisers to risk through the nature of the event i.e. mass protest at economic summits or strikes during typical periods
  • Threats: - These refer to bombs, specific strikes or other threats against the event – these should be predictable and preventable.
The PESTLE system is also a good way to establish potential risks before they arise:
  • Political:  -  Does the event have national or local political impact? Could there be clashes between supporters?
  • Economic:  - Is this a good time to run such an event? Do supporters have the money to attend? What else could clash?
  • Social:  - Does the event affect any particular social group?
  • Technological: - Does the event rely heavily on technology? Is there guarantee of continual supply of power?
  • Legal: - Have all national, provincial and local laws been identified and obeyed?
  • Environmental: - What is the impact of the event on the environment? Have adequate plans for waste disposal, water usage and toilets been considered?
All events carry unique risks including large crowds, complex event activities, and an almost certain need for improvisation and last minute decisions which must be assessed in relation to your particular event. However improvisation and last minute decisions are what makes the job of an event organiser interesting and you will learn to take them in your stride.

We will discuss Risk analysis in our next piece, so stay tuned. Send enquries or questions to

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