Street party guidelines to be made clearer

Published 20 January 2014  |  

(PA)

The Government has moved to simplify guidance on street parties so that neighbours can focus on having fun without having to worry about red tape

Despite official reports of almost 10,000 street parties across the UK in 2012, thanks to the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Government believes there might have been even more if the guidelines for how to organise one had been made easier to understand.

Research carried out by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that current guidelines were unclear and focused negatively on what was forbidden, rather than what was allowed.

A paper entitled "Focus on Enforcement Review of Volunteer Events" revealed that there were lots of misunderstandings and concerns about things like food hygiene certificates, entertainment licences, public liability insurance.

In response, the Government has launched a new interactive guide to dispel the myths of what is needed to organise large outdoor community events.

It is hoped this could contribute to a surge in community events over the coming year.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said: "We all want to build stronger communities. The idea that it is somehow impossible to run an event or throw a street party without getting through masses of red-tape is simply inaccurate.

"It is sad to think that events that can bring communities together don't happen because of concerns around something as simple as a home baked cake needing a food certificate and this guide busts these myths."

The government listed seven myths about organising a street party, as well as the facts that dispel them:

Myth: I cannot serve tea and coffee in the vicinity of children without a food safety certificate

Fact: You are not banned from sensibly serving hot drinks around children

Myth: I need a special certificate to sell homemade cakes at school fetes

Fact: You do not need a certificate to sell homemade cakes

Myth: I have to pay for local road closures

Fact: You can ask your local authority to justify any charge and often there is no charge

Myth: I need public liability insurance for running events

Fact: You are not required by law and signing a disclaimer can be adequate

Myth: I need a licence to run a bingo or a race night

Fact: You do not need this as long as your event is for "good causes"

Myth: I need a licence for live music

Fact: You do not generally need a licence for most local events which include music between 8am and 11pm.

Myth: If there is alcohol at my event I need a special licence

Fact: You don't need a licence unless alcohol is being sold.

Michael Fallon, Minister for Business and Enterprise, said: "Nobody should be discouraged from participating in the life of their community by needless bureaucracy.

"This new, clear and concise guidance responds directly to issues and concerns raised by the public. It is an important part of the government's drive to cut red tape and promote individual freedom, enterprise and responsibility."

All local authorities will soon receive a letter from Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd and Communities Minster Stephen Williams, introducing the new guidelines.

Mr Williams said: "Street parties are a great British tradition in celebrating events from royal jubilees to local children's birthdays, and an excellent way of getting neighbours and people of all different backgrounds out to meet each other."

"I want to keep this tradition alive and well, and with the simplified guidance published today the government is showing how easy it is to set up a local event."

Stephen Peck, operations director of the Scout Association, said: "Everyone benefits if people organising community events to raise money for good causes know that the government wants to work with them, not put obstacles in their way."

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