Support for Local Authorities – Policies and Procedures

Setting out the policies and procedures a local authority will follow in discharging its responsibilities under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 (1975 Act) and/or the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport 1987 Act (1987 Act) not only demonstrates that the authority owns and understands the key issues involved, but also provides the authority with the opportunity to set out its objectives and the roles of individual staff in delivering those objectives.

It provides for greater consistency and efficiency when staff or organisational changes result in responsibility for sports grounds safety being taken on by new staff, as well as ensuring that those delivering the service are aware of the performance standards.

To assist local authorities develop appropriate policies and procedures, or to review existing ones, the SGSA has produced guidance which explains what should be included in an authority’s policies and procedures for the issue and review of a safety certificate, for the monitoring of compliance with the terms and conditions of a safety certificate and for the enforcement of the 1975 and 1987 Acts. The guidance also includes examples of policies and procedures and can be accessed using the links below.

Check the regulations

About Designated Grounds

Under the provisions of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 the local authority is responsible for issuing and enforcing a safety certificate in respect of a sports ground designated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Licences issued by SGSA

The annual licence issued by the SGSA to each club specifies the areas of the ground to which spectators may be admitted. Read about the process and download the forms here.

Legislation related to Policing

Responsibility for the safety of spectators lies at all times with ground management. However, at certain sports grounds and for certain matches or events the presence of the police may be required to maintain public order. This page provides relevant information from legislation relating to policing in sports grounds.

Monitoring Local Authorities

The SGSA has published guidance on Safety Certification which provides a single source of reference on the principles and procedures governing the safety certification of sports grounds. The SGSA uses this document as a yardstick when keeping under review local authorities which come within its regulatory oversight.

All Seated Football Stadiums

Lord Justice Taylor’s Report of the Inquiry into the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster recommended that all grounds in the old First and Second Divisions of the Football League (now FA Premier League and Football League Championship) should be all-seated by August 1994. Lord Justice Taylor also recommended that clubs in the former Third and Fourth Divisions (the current Leagues 1 and 2) of the Football League should be all-seated by August 1999.

What is a Regulated Stand?

A regulated stand is any covered stand with accommodation for 500 or more spectators, whether seated or standing. A local authority is required to determine whether any, and if so which, of the stands at sports grounds within its area are regulated stands.

Tools and resources

Guide to Safety Certification

This guidance updates and supersedes the guidance on safety certification issued by the Football Licensing Authority (FLA) in 2001.

A Wider Definition of Safety – Local Authority Checklist

This document contains a series of questions that certifying authorities may wish to consider to check their progress in ensuring that the wider understanding of safety has been adopted by sports grounds to whom they issue safety certificates under the 1975 and 1987 Acts.

Safety Certificate Checklist

This checklist may be helpful for certifying authorities when checking safety certificates for possible changes as a result of the wider understanding of safety

Responses to the consultation on a Wider Definition of Safety

In February 2017, the SGSA issued a consultation that sought the views of stakeholders on the implications of a review of the term ‘safety’ in the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975. The responses to this consultation can be downloaded here.

Guidance

What is the Statement of Intent?

If there is to be a police presence in or at the sports ground, management should discuss with the police the division of responsibilities and functions between the two parties; for example, whether particular tasks are to be undertaken by stewards or by police officers, and who will assume responsibility in particular circumstances. The outcome of these discussions should be recorded in a written and signed statement of intent.

Safety for all at sports grounds

This guidance note describes the interactions between the different legislation in this area and the impacts on the safety management of a sports ground thereby protecting all those present, including spectators, staff, contractors and participants.

My club has been promoted; what do I need to know?

Information to help Football Conference clubs understand the requirements that will be placed upon them following promotion to the Football League and to provide links to sources of detailed information which will help them in planning how to meet those requirements.