P and S Factors

The safe capacity of a sports ground should take account of both its:

  • physical condition (P factor); and
  • safety management (S factor).

Each of them is given a numerical value of between 0.0 and 1.0. These are used to determine the holding capacity, namely the number of spectators that can safely be accommodated in the area concerned, before the capacities of the entrances, exits and emergency exits are taken into account. Ground management should ensure they are assessed by a competent person with knowledge and understanding of the ground concerned, its operation and the general principles of safety. Calculating the safe capacity at sports grounds is explained in the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide),

Where any part or parts of a ground are covered by a safety certificate issued by the local authority ground management’s assessment of the (P) and (S) factors should be included with the capacity calculations when they are forwarded to the local authority for review and validation. Because each sports ground is different, the Green Guide (section 2.4) does not attempt to place specific values on any of the elements that are likely to be considered when assessing (P) and (S) factors.

This is because assessments should not aim to create a cumulative scoring system in which values for individual elements are simply added together. Instead, the assessment should reflect a considered and reasonable overall judgement of the physical condition and safety management of the area in question. An indication of the issues to be considered is set out in the Green Guide.

Safety Management published by the SGSA expands on the advice contained in the Green Guide and sets out the safety management systems and procedures which should be in place at sports grounds.

The (S) factor for any ground may therefore be determined by judging how far the ground management meets the recommendations contained in Safety Management. When assessing the (S) factor consideration should be given to the

  • club’s safety policy;
  • competency of the safety officer and his/her deputy;
  • quality of the stewarding;
  • safety systems and procedures in place; and
  • management of the spectator accommodation.

We have developed a list of indicative questions and worked examples to help determine the appropriate (P) and (S) factor.