Risk Guidance Tool | University of Oxford

COVID-aware risk guidance tool for in-person student events, clubs, and societies (v.1.3)

This COVID-19-only risk guidance tool is intended to aid clubs, societies and informal social groups in organising their events during the COVID-19 pandemic, and developing formal risk guidance documents.  It should be used in conjunction with existing non-COVID-19 risk guidance sheets and will be needed until the pandemic is declared over even if national COVID-19 case numbers drop significantly. 

Users should check  the general planning section first and then consult the subsequent sections applying to their event/s. 

IMPORTANT — Before using, check that the manager or head of safety for the venue you intend to use (including outdoor venues) is content for you to hold your event there.  Not all venues will permit all event types yet.  Attendee numbers (including organisers and performers) must abide by national rules including cases where COVID-Secure businesses are permitted to expand numbers.

SOURCES OF SUPPORT

Student Union registration
Any club or society of Oxford University with 5 or more members and which is open to all can register with the Student Union to get access to extra support services including the useful SU Online Directory. Registration information can be found at https://www.oxfordsu/org/activities/clubs-and-societies/register.

Student Union training
All Oxford University students – whether in registered clubs or not - can also access the SU’s training courses and supporting information, including Risk Assessment Training, Socially Distanced Activities Training and a Risk Assessment Template which can be used while working through this Guidance Tool. OU students can access the training courses by logging in with their SSO at https://www.oxfordsu.org/support/training/ and do not need to register on the SU Online Directory. College societies can also seek support and advice from the safety personnel of their college.

Proctors' registration
Clubs or Societies of Oxford University which are able to comply with constitutional requirements can register with the Proctors. Information can be found at https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/life/clubs/clubs/register-club.

The first section below has definitions of key terms followed by a guide to general planning for organisers.

After that are eleven sections for specific types of event.  Where your event type crosses into multiple sections, include all of them in your risk assessment.

The suggestions for control measures (in italics) are intended to be guides, not all-encompassing lists.

Index of event types

  1. Speaker meetings, indoor films, other indoor audience events
  2. Indoor speaker plus participant discussions/seminars/debates – including committee meetings
  3. Outdoor audience events
  4. Workshops, classes, skills training, arts and crafts
  5. Food and drink supply and consumption including drinks parties, taster events, crewdates, etc
  6. Other social events (includes networking, quizzes, etc)
  7. Performing arts
  8. Sport
  9. Trips out of Oxford
  10. Worship
  11. Journalism (production)

Protests should be evaluated as comparable to indoor (#6) or outdoor (#3) social events, as should fundraising events.  Clubs and societies engaged in sport or performing arts please consider #5 and #6 for the club’s social events.  

See 'Risk guidance' to download risk guidance sheets for each event type.

Definitions and notes 

Control measures

The changes you make which reduce the adverse effects of the risk.

COVID-secure

A business which has fulfilled the government’s requirements to be COVID-Secure, which will involve multiple preventative measures against coronavirus.  Events and societies using those premises will need to abide by the same measures.

Fomites

Objects and surfaces which become contaminated with infectious viruses and which subsequently transmit those organisms to another person if not cleaned.

Fresh air ventilation

Effective ventilation against the virus needs outdoor fresh air to be drawn into the room frequently.  Fans or air conditioners which merely recirculate the stale air just spread the virus, they don’t reduce risk.  The only exception is ventilation systems which incorporate fine-mesh filters capable of removing viral particles (as on aircraft) but these are rare in the UK.

Hand sanitiser

While the virus can be killed by any type of soap or disinfectant if water is available, hand sanitising gel is more efficient for large groups where it is safer and more convenient than encouraging everyone to share hand-washing facilities.  Alcohol gel should be at least 60% alcohol to be effective (preferably 80%). Note that all cleaning materials used on IT equipment (computers, projectors, other electronics and electricals) must be IT-safe:most standard household cleaning materials will destroy sensitive equipment.)

Households

Within a University household, members are free to gather without social distancing if they choose.  (Their college may also allow them to gather in household groups at agreed times.)  Outside their college, household members should act as individuals and practise social distancing.   This will help reduce concerns that the local community may have on encountering groups of up to eight students. 

Licensable activity 

Any activity involving the sale or supply of alcohol, supply or sale of food or drink between 11pm and 5am, or regulated entertainment being put on for profit, such as theatre, films, indoor sporting events, live and recorded music, or dance.  See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/alcohol-licensing#licensable-activities for further information.

Maximum occupancy

The maximum allowed occupancy under COVID-19 regulations and guidelines.

Mitigation

The process of reducing the adverse effects of a real risk by introducing control measures.

Non-contact thermometers

Infra-red thermometers which can establish body temperature without touching skin.  Note that these are not reliable for finding COVID-19 cases, but they can be a useful behavioural nudge to attendees that COVID-19 safety is taken seriously by the venue, event or society organisers.

Open doors

Note that propping open doors for ventilation or to minimise surface contact can be very unsafe in terms of fire risk.  Doors kept open for a period (eg while an audience enters or exits) should be constantly supervised and an organiser made responsible for ensuring they are shut immediately afterwards.  Consult venues as to which doors can be left open during a meeting for ventilation.

TEN or Temporary Event Notice 

A council licence required by any event involving licensable activities if the venue at which they are being held either doesn’t have a suitable licence of its own or won’t allow the event to use it.  TENs must be requested a minimum of 10 full working days before the event, and Oxford City Council is issuing them for events which will comply with COVID-19 regulations.  For application information see https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20146/streets/35/temporary_event_notices.

Test and trace

The government scheme for finding COVID-19 cases, which is supported by an in-house Oxford University testing system.

Venue

Any venue, whether indoor/outdoor, college-owned, university-owned, or owned by a third party.  Venue owners may be liable.

General planning

STEP 1:  Consult your venue at a very early stage

Do not assume that a college, department, university venue or external venue is going to host an event without discussing the outline with them before you even create a risk assessment. 

Ask to see the venue’s own Risk Assessment – it may help you construct yours and will reassure you that the venue manager is taking their own proper precautions. 

Include the venue manager’s suggestions in your plans. Respect and obey their rules, even if these are more stringent than government restrictions.   

The venue may already have signage, preferred cleaning equipment, Test and Trace logging facilities, one-way routes and other mitigation measures which they want you to use. 

You may find that the venue, if owned by the University, is already following Oxford's H&S Guidance. These pages are intended for staff, not students, and some of the templates are behind a firewall students may not be able to access, but the general information is useful.

STEP 2:   Consider non-COVID-19 risks (fire, trip hazards, travel, injury, third-party liability),  as well.  These are not included in this document but can easily be added if you don’t already have a risk assessment for your club’s activities.

If your event involves licensable activities you should discuss with the venue manager whether it will be covered by their licence or whether you should apply for a Temporary Event Notice (see Definitions). 

STEP 3:  Think through your event’s stages, from pre-event planning to post-event clearing up.  If you will need to clear litter or clean rooms then anti-COVID-19 precautions must be taken during those stages as well as during the event itself.  Check which sections apply (note that some types of event will need more than one section) and delete those which don’t. Edit the risk assessment.

STEP 4:  Finalise your risk assessment, check it with the venue owner/manager, and make sure you are insured.

STEP 5:  Make sure all organisers have read the risk assessment and have taken responsibility for the areas they are in charge of. 

STEP 6:  If you are organising another event later on, have a wrap-up discussion afterwards, and see what you can learn from the first event so that you will do better another time.

STEP 7:  Ensure that the club/society and the venue know who each other’s points of contact will be in case COVID cases are diagnosed in some of your attendees after a face-to-face event (including a committee meeting).  Prompt contact after diagnoses will help avoid a large local spike in infections.

Risk guidance

Risk guidance for organisers’ own actions during event planning meetings

Download Risk Guidance pdf

1. Speaker meetings, indoor films, other indoor audience events

Download Risk Guidance pdf

2. Indoor speaker plus participant discussions/seminars/debates – including committee meetings

Download Risk Guidance pdf

3. Outdoor audience events

Download Risk Guidance pdf

4. Workshops, classes, skills training, arts and crafts

Download Risk Guidance pdf

5. Food and drink supply and consumption including drinks parties, taster events, crewdates, etc

Download Risk Guidance pdf

6. Other social events (includes networking, quizzes, etc)

Download Risk Guidance pdf

7. Performing arts

Download Risk Guidance pdf

8. Sport and exercise

Download Risk Guidance pdf

9. Trips out of Oxford

Download Risk Guidance pdf

10. Worship

Download Risk Guidance pdf

11. Journalism (production)

Download Risk Guidance pdf

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