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Home Office Circulars

There are a wide-ranging set of Government department (in particular the Home Office) Circulars which provide detail on the interpretation and application of primary legislation. They are useful, but often overlooked, pieces of guidance for enforcing authorities.

The most pertinent are around the 1975 to 1978 period and the 1986 to 1988 period, in respect of the 1975 and 1987 Acts. All are still relevant and are crucial to understanding application of the legislation, for example on the following:

  • Inspections of designated sports ground;
  • How to determine a regulated stand; and
  • Inspections of regulated stands.

Each of the Circulars are available in the download section.

As an overview, the purpose of each Circular is as follows:

Department of National Heritage Circular 16 November 1995 – purpose to remind local authorities about the powers and responsibilities under the 1975 Act to issue prohibition notices.

Home Office Circular 97/1988 – outlines the frequency and scope of the inspections of the regulated stands. It also reminds local authorities that section 34 of the Act applies to the whole of a sports ground which contains a regulated stand but that the extent of the inspection of any un-certificated parts of the ground should be determined by the local authority.

Home Office Circular 96/1988 – outlines the implementation of the regulated stands certification process.

Home Office Circular 19/1988 – outlines the implementation of Part 4: indoor sports licences of the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987

Home Office Circular 72/1987 – Outlines the scope of inspections of designated sports grounds.

Home Office Circular 71/1987 – relates to the implementation of Part 2 of the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987, including how these provisions impact the 1975 Act.

Home Office Circular 7/1986 – provides a reminder of the powers, duties and functions of local authorities under the 1975 Act, linking it to the Local Government Act 1985, outlines the requirement to consult fire authorities on a safety certificate application and defines a sports ground and a stadium.

Home Office Circular 5/1986 – outlines the findings of the Report into the Bradford fire disaster, and the new safety measures introduced in line with the Report’s recommendations, including the extension of the definition of designated grounds to include rugby union, rugby league and cricket.

Home Office Circular 54/1985 – outlines the recommendations arising from the interim report following the Bradford fire disaster including the requirements to consult the police on a safety certificate application and the inclusion of first-aid facilities in the safety certificate.

Home Office Circular 187/1976– advises on the procedure for dealing with special safety certificate applications.

Home Office Circular 130/1976 – outlines the procedure to follow regarding applications for general safety certificates.

Home Office Circular 150/1975 – outlines the implementation of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975, with specific reference to the findings of the Inquiry into Crowd Safety at Sports Grounds following the Ibrox Disaster in 1971.

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