The importance of events… and how will they take place in 2021?

An interview with Andrew Wood, Bradford city council

Article by freelance writer Kaitlyn Hogg

It is no surprise that Covid-19 has changed everything we were once used to in our everyday lives. However, has the event’s industry suffered the most out of all others? 


We spoke to Bradford city council’s Emergency Planning Officer, Andrew Wood to discuss more about himself, the best elements of his job and if events are safe to take place during these tough times in which we are all currently living.

Andrew told us about his 38 years’ service in local government with Bradford Council. For 26 of those years he was involved in organising and managing events. For the last 4 years he has worked in the Emergency Planning team which in addition to planning for major incidents involves managing the Public Safety Liaison Group (PSLG). Therefore, instead of writing and submitting Event Management Plans as an event manager Andrew and other partners of PSLG are assessing and commenting on other event organisers plans. 

He also let us know about his favourite elements of the job, in which he stated “The work variety and being able to work collaboratively with colleagues and partners from West Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum. The Forum is made up of the region’s key emergency responders and specific supporting agencies and works to help communities prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and major incidents.”

“In regards to your questions on events being safe to take place, Drive in movies are probably the safest events at this current time due to the physical isolation from other people.  Any event attracting large crowds increases the risk of transmission and will involve massive resources for the careful managing of crowds. Consequently such events will be a challenge and unlikely to be commercially viable.”

“My advice to anyone wanting to stage an event amidst a global pandemic is to consider the wider implications and the consequences that event might have.”

We asked Andrew to tell us more about the system Bradford Council currently uses for events planning, and how it works. 

“Our role in relation to events is to administer the Public Safety Liaison Group (PSLG). This runs alongside the booking process. The PSLG is a multi agency group made up of representatives from the local authority e.g. Environmental Health, Licensing, Emergency Planning, Highways in addition to partners from the Emergency Services i.e.  Police, Fire and Ambulance. The PSLG provides a forum for discussing and advising on public safety at events. PSLG remit is to help organisers with the planning, and management of an event and to encourage cooperation and coordination between all relevant agencies. The PSLG is a non-statutory body and so does not have legal power or responsibility, and are not empowered to approve or prohibit events from taking place. Event organisers and others involved in the running of an event, retain the principal legal duties for ensuring public safety.”

How did you hear about Openbrolly, and was it important that you collaborated with them during the making of EventsMakr?

“I first heard of Openbrolly via Peter Vardy, Events and Licensing Manager of Calderdale Council. I have previously worked on large international and regional events with Peter who shares the same complexities and challenges of existing event permit systems. Peter’s experience with Openbrolly is through the Film industry. It was via Openbrolly’s Film Permit system that Peter thought it could be developed to suit the events application process.”

“Yes, it was a goal of mine to take part in the making of EventsMakr. The PSLG has a key function to share event information with multi-agency partners. Our aim is make systems more efficient and customer focused and that is exactly what Openbrolly is striving to do in regards to the creation of EventsMakr

So, what’s next for the events industry?

“Hopefully the return to some kind of normality and the efficient processing of event applications with EventsMakr.”

There’s no trying to deny that we all wish for everything to go back to how it was in the summer of 2019, but we will have to wait a little while longer…

See what EventsMakr can do for your events planning here.

Thank you for your time, Andrew! We can’t wait to see what events you go to safely this year.