Church events

16 October 2018

Responsibilities, planning and frequently asked questions.

From services to concerts to fundraising events, churches are part of the fabric of their local communities. Most of the time, such activities represent little or no additional risk. However, larger events or unusual fundraising activities can present more significant ones. These will need to be properly managed to ensure people remain safe.

Managing health and safety at church events

Whatever the event, all that's required is to follow a series of basic tasks. These include focussing on: 
 
  • Planning for the event – the level of detail of this should be proportionate to the scale of the event and the degree of risk associated with it 
  • Planning for incidents and emergencies – so that you can respond promptly in an appropriate manner. Again, this will be dependent upon to the level of risk presented by any event 
  • Managing the event so that it runs safely – here you may need to ensure adequate co-ordination of the activities; provide training for employees and volunteers; monitor the precautions you have put into place and so on. 

Planning a church event

There are a number of things to consider when planning and hosting events. Watch our short video to learn more on how to reduce common risks.

FAQs

Yes. Your insurance automatically covers the PCC for any events you organise in the church or anywhere else. Typical church events like bring and buy sales, bazaars and flower festivals are all covered, but please do tell us if you are holding an event that could be dangerous, such as firework displays, clay pigeon shoots, rock climbing or abseiling. We can then give you more details about your cover.
If you’re holding an event at someone’s house, like an Open Gardens event or a prayer meeting, the homeowner won’t be covered. We recommend asking them to check if their own household insurance includes personal liability cover. Most normal household insurance policies do – and if they’re insured with Ecclesiastical they will certainly be covered.
Anyone using their own car on behalf of your church should check with their personal insurers to find out whether they are covered. The driver of the vehicle will be liable for anything that happens, so we recommend they let their own motor insurer know that they’re offering lifts to and from church.
Yes, your policy will cover you for any event you hold outside of the church, anywhere in the British Isles. We can even cover you abroad – call us on 0345 7773322 if you’d like to know more. Before any event we strongly recommend you carry out a risk assessment.
No, but it’s vital you check that the group hiring the building has its own public liability insurance that covers the event they are holding. If anyone is injured in the church due to negligence on the PCC’s behalf, you’ll be covered by your church policy, or by your church hall cover (if insured with us) if they’re injured in the church hall.
 
You should make sure that the buildings are well maintained so that they’re safe for people to use. Carry out a risk assessment of the building and the activities that are planned, and if you identify any risks make sure you take steps to minimise them. You should carry out risk assessments regularly so you can be sure they’re up to date. Make sure to write everything down, as this could be used to defend the PCC against any claim.
are fun, but people do get injured on them. Make sure everything is safe by checking our advice. It’s also a good idea to hire a bouncy castle from someone who sets it up and manages it for the whole event. Check the hirer has their own public liability insurance, and ask for full instructions on how to use the equipment safely. If you follow their instructions, your policy will cover you.
You might not need to, as your policy automatically covers hired equipment up to £2,500 for any single item and £10,000 for any event. If you need to arrange more cover than this, call us on 0345 7773322.
Your policy covers your bell ringers in the church and elsewhere, as long as they are acting for the PCC. It also covers visiting bell ringers if they are injured while they’re on the premises, and if the injury was due to the negligence of the PCC. It won’t cover them if they are responsible for injuring someone else, so it’s worth checking they have their own cover in place.
Unless the coffee shop means there will be a lot more cash held at the church, or you’ll be serving a lot of hot meals on a regular basis, you probably won’t need any extra cover. If you are preparing and serving food you must train staff and volunteers in basic food hygiene and let your local council know. They’ll tell you whether you need to register as a food service provider. You might also want to read our advice on preparing food safely.
The main reason tower tours are potentially very dangerous is that members of the public are being admitted to an area that they would not normally visit and are unfamiliar with. Towers were never designed to accommodate large numbers of people at the same time.
 
However, where it is decided to allow this on occasions such as Heritage Open Days this check list notes the main hazards and control measures that can be taken to reduce the risk.
If the event consists of low-risk activities, such as a bake sale, bric-a-brac and fête type stalls, then this would be considered as a normal church activity and therefore no additional premium would need to be charged. There may be occasions where events are of a hazardous nature such as clay pigeon shoots, rock climbing and abseiling.
 
Where you can confirm that these events are being organised under the full control of a competent specialist provider that has public liability in force, we would not normally charge an additional premium.
 
Please contact us if you are planning such an event and, most importantly, if you are thinking of organising it without the use of a specialist provider.