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Local authority oversight

The SGSA oversees local authorities in their duties to sports grounds safety and safety certification

The SGSA is responsible, under the provisions of section 13 of the Football Spectators Act 1989 (the 1989 Act) for keeping under review the discharge by local authorities of their functions under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 (the 1975 Act).

The SGSA carries out its statutory review function by a combination of:

  • meetings with the certifying authority and other appropriate parties;
  • attendance at meetings of the safety advisory group;
  • monitoring of the safety certification procedures and records required to be kept under the terms and conditions of the safety certificate; and
  • sample checks and observations at the sports grounds concerned on match and non-match days.

Local authority audit

As part of discharging this local authority oversight duty, the SGSA carries out an audit which informs our ongoing level of involvement with individual local authorities and the football clubs they regulate under the Act. Effective oversight by the local authority is an essential part of keeping everyone safe in a sports ground and this audit process helps to support that.

The audit covers nine key areas of the local authority’s performance.

  • Compliance with actions from previous audit
  • Safe capacity
  • SAG governance and performance
  • Safety certification
  • Monitoring
  • Enforcement
  • Training and expertise
  • Business continuity and resilience planning
  • Confidence in LA discharge of duties and safety culture

Safety certificate conditions

Under the provisions of the 1989 Act, the SGSA must keep under review the discharge by local authorities of their safety certification functions under the 1975 Act.

Under section 13 (2) of the 1989 Act the SGSA may require a local authority to include in any safety certificate such terms and conditions as it may specify in its written notice. Before exercising this power, the SGSA must consult the local authority, the chief officer of police and, where these are not the local authority, the fire authority or the building authority.

As part of its oversight, the SGSA may also require the local authority to furnish it with such information relating to the discharge of its safety certification functions as it may require. SGSA inspectors may undertake such inspections of any ground as they consider necessary and may examine and take copies of the safety certificate and its schedules (including the relevant sections of the Operations Manual) and any records kept under the 1975 Act.