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Safety Advisory Groups

A SAG is an essential way of ensuring good liaison between stakeholders.

A Safety Advisory Group (SAG) exists to provide specialist advice to the local authority so it can discharge its functions under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 (1975 Act) and / or Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 .

In practice, it also provides the vital forum within which the local authority and other agencies may develop a corporate approach to safety at the sports grounds concerned, while each exercising its own responsibilities.

Although the SAG is not constituted to advise the ground management on sports ground safety, the management may nevertheless frequently benefit from the expertise within the SAG.  However, it cannot thereby transfer its responsibility for safety to the SAG or any of its members.  Moreover, it is the local authority, not the SAG, that issues the safety certificate, and which is responsible for advising and assisting the certificate holder where necessary.


In addition to appropriate members of local authority staff, the SAG should include representatives of the following:

  • Local authority, including building control, highways, environmental health and emergency planning
  • The sports ground being discussed – the certificate holder, safety officer and any other relevant representative as necessary, such as medical provider
  • Police
  • Fire service
  • Medical / ambulance service
  • Fan representative

The SGSA is not a formal member of a SAG. However our Inspectors can attend SAG meetings of football grounds within its regulatory oversight as independent advisers who are present at the invitation of the local authority.

It will be for the SAG chair to invite any other representative or group which may be relevant for issues at the time.

Agenda and minutes

An agenda should be developed ahead of the meeting. This may include standing items including, but not limited to:

  • Ground updates, such as events, alterations, installations, development work, etc
  • Stewarding
  • Medical arrangements
  • Incidents
  • Changes to the Operations Manual
  • Inspection reports
  • New or revised guidance
  • Security arrangements
  • Safety Certificate
  • Zone Ex

In addition, there may be set items for each organisation represented at the meeting to give an update or raise any current issues or questions.

Following a meeting, minutes should be produced and circulated to the group. The production of accurate minutes of the SAG meetings provides a vital audit trail and ensures that key discussions are recorded and actions are reviewed.

In addition, it is good practice to maintain an action log separate to the minutes, which allows each individual action to be followed through to completion and progress updates to be added.

It is also essential to record why the ground management has proposed, the SAG has supported, and / or the local authority has accepted any deviations from the recommendations of the Green Guide when setting the capacity of the sports ground. The onus will be on the local authority to demonstrate that it has acted reasonably.

Similarly, the minutes should record the reasons for any amendments to the terms and conditions in the safety certificate. In the absence of such information, the local authority could be vulnerable to an appeal by the certificate holder. Such minutes do not themselves constitute the amendment to the safety certificate. The local authority must formally issue a written amendment.

SAG minutes, along with any papers presented at the meeting, would be subject to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request. The Information Commissioner’s Office provides full details on the responsibilities of public bodies in relation to FoI.

Guide to Safety Certification

Our Guide to Safety Certification contains full information on SAG meetings.