#4. The perceptions of licensing authorities and event safety professionals on crowd safety and legislation at outdoor events.
This chapter, slightly deviating from the structure of other articles, discusses the analysis of data obtained from the survey, relating to the fourth research objective:
"To analyse the perceptions of licensing authorities and event safety professionals in relation to legislation on crowd safety at outdoor events."
The data was analysed using SPSS and presented as descriptive as well as inferential statistics to understand if there are any connections to the themes that arose in the literature review and subsequently outlined in the methodology chapter. The themes include:
- Crowd safety today (current measures)
- Improving crowd safety (future measures)
The survey questions were designed to discover information relating to the four themes above. This chapter discusses the profile of respondents, categorises them into two groups and presents the data connected to each key theme.
Profile of Respondents
A total of 108 participants took part in the survey with the option of remaining anonymous. Less than a quarter of respondents are female and almost three quarters of respondents are male as shown in Table4‑1below. From the author’s experience of the approval process, this gender imbalance is present when working in consultancy, with local authorities and at Safety Advisory Group meetings.
The highest percentage of age range of respondents is 35-44 years. The mean age of respondents is 46 years, with the full age ranges listed in Table 4‑2 below. Over half of respondents are over 45 years of age.
The mean years of experience of respondents is 16 years, with years’ experience grouped in Table 4‑3 below. What is notable is that of all respondents, 60% have over 10 years of experience in their field.
When considering the event licensing and approval process, respondents fall into two categories of roles in the process: ‘Assessors’; who assess, challenge and approve an event plan; and ‘Presenters’; who prepare and present the plan to be approved or challenged. There were more Presenters who completed this survey than Assessors as shown in Table 4‑4 below. The respondents were categorised as the following social actors:
- Assessors; which include local authorities and other authorities.
- Presenters; which include:
- Organisers (event organisers etc.)
- Consultants (crowd safety advisors/consultants)
Almost half of respondents were consultants (Presenters) with 35% of Assessors completing the survey (see Table 4‑4). There was inequality in response rate. Upon reflection, it was challenging to secure more Assessor responses. Perhaps this was due to the COVID-19 pandemic where Presenters may have had more available time as events were cancelled and Assessors may have been occupied in the COVID-19 response due to mostly being associated with local authorities.
A Chi-Square Test (Appendix C) was conducted to identify the age range of those in each role. The results indicate that a high percentage of respondents who are 35-44 years old or 55+ years old are Consultants, and a high number of those ages 25-34 are Organisers. This is not surprising as the author assumes that consultancy arises from experience in organising events before change of career, and the Chi-Square test returned no significant difference.
The following table outlines the level of qualifications held by respondents. A considerable number of respondents hold a Level 6 and Level 7 RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework) qualification, meaning they hold at least a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree or higher. Considering that formal education within the events sector has developed within the last three decades (Backman, 2018), this response level was higher than expected by the author.
To understand if age of respondents impacted level of qualifications, the following chart (Figure 2) outlines age range versus education level. Throughout all age ranges, most respondents hold either a Level 6 or Level 7 more than a Level 5 or under, therefore level of education does not appear to be classified to any age range.
To understand any variances in role and gender, Table 4‑6 below identifies gender regarding role, identifying that half of male respondents are consultants and almost half of female respondents are organisers.
This was investigated further to understand any differences between age and gender. A Chi Square Test (Appendix D) was conducted and found a statistical difference (where p = 10.083, df = 4 and threshold = .05 returned a significance of .039.) This confirmed a relationship between gender and role within the events industry. It also matches the author’s experience of working in both local authority and event management; that the majority of consultants are males and majority of organisers are female.
The HSE (2020) definition on competency influenced the following range of questions, as having the appropriate ‘training, skills, experience and knowledge’ were used as key indicators. The questions thus reflected this definition to get an indication of their competency: