Licensing - organising public events
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Whether you are organising a craft fair, a sports event or a music festival, it is important to ensure your event is fun, safe and legal. We can help you achieve this and make the process of organising an event easier.
From checking which licence you need, to whether you need a roads order, the guidance on this page will give you and your team a framework for planning your event in a structured way.
By inviting the public to your event, you have legal responsibilities to ensure that it does not cause danger or serious harm. With a little careful planning and by seeking advice, you can minimise these risks.
Find out how we can help with organising your event:
- Helping you plan your event
- Large or potentially high-risk events
- Events on council premises
- Events on the public road
- Helpful documents
Every event is different and it is impossible to produce guidance that covers every answer to every question.
This guidance does not cover events which take place in buildings such as public halls, town halls or schools. Such events are subject to separate procedures. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
If you do need a licence, let us know as soon as possible - we suggest contacting us at least 6 months before your event is due to take place. You should obtain written permission from the landowner/occupier before you proceed.
Please email a draft basic event safety plan to email@example.com as early as possible and this will be shared with Police Scotland and other agencies. This will save you from having to contact other agencies individually.
Once the plan has been reviewed, we will advise you of any additional details that are required, and whether a multi-agency Safety Advisory Group needs to be convened to discuss your application.
If you are organising a large or potentially high-risk event it is best to make contact us at least 12 months in advance to give us and other agencies plenty time to look at your plan in detail.
If your event is being held in council premises or on council ground eg a local park, then you should contact the council service responsible for that venue as early as possible to discuss your plans. Any delay in contact could jeopardise your event.
If your event is being held on the public road or may impact the public road, this guidance for organisers (pdf 573KB) will assist you with the permissions that you may need and the processes that you must follow.
We have a number of key documents relating to public entertainment licences that will help guide you through the process:
- Event checklist - find out if your event needs a licence (PDF 31.3kb)
- Public entertainment licence guidance notes (121kb)
- Basic event safety plan template (PDF 501kb)
- Basic event safety plan (word 62kb)
- General event guidance (PDF 286kb)
- Comprehensive event safety plan guidance (PDF 560kb)
- Risk assessment guidance (PDF 283kb)