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Industry not prepared for security threats, finds Event Profs Panel

Lack of clarity around duty of care causing confusion over security according to QHotels’ industry group

Pictured: Christopher Whelan of PwC

The event industry is not fully prepared for security threats such as terrorism, according to the event organisers on QHotels’ Event Profs Panel. 

The panel had concerns over who was responsible for the security of delegates while at a venue attending an event, the security while delegates travel to attend an event and the procedures to be followed in case of an emergency during an event. 

Christopher Whelan, of PwC, said: “There is an assumption that care documents are in place, but we don’t ask venues. I’m not sure who is responsible if anything does happen.” 

The findings are part of the third report from the panel formed by QHotels to bring events professionals with less than five years’ experience together, to help shape the future of the industry. 

The panel also highlighted the increasing influence of compliance and how legislation has the potential to change the face of the industry. 

Jennie Joynt, of Hilti Group, said: “Compliance will seep in to most industries eventually and will be strongly policed. In the end we will all have to work out how we include it in events.” 

The panel found that legislation such as the Bribery Act is changing the face of events and could potentially push the industry towards smaller gatherings and more online communication.

QHotels’ director of marketing, Claire Rowland - who led the round table discussions - said: “We had some idea at the start of this project of what might be important to this next generation of bookers and expected technology, for example, to feature prominently. However, some of the panel’s concerns came as a surprise.  

“We didn’t predict that our panel members would want more clarity around their duty of care to event attendees, nor that compliance would be seen as such a challenge. Our panel members are the rising stars of the industry and they haven’t been afraid to address difficult subjects. It’s important that the industry listen and, where possible, take action. 

“We have learned a tremendous amount from the panel and we’re including those learnings in our plans for 2017 and the services and offers that we are developing. More importantly, we’re now planning our next panel where we can start to explore solutions to some of the issues raised and can continue to work with the members to deliver benefits for the wider industry.”

Also contributing to the roundtable discussions were agency and corporate events professionals from Absolute Corporate Events, First Choice Conference & Events, Donaldson Davis, Compleat Conference Company, ArrangeMY, Brief2Event, Gorkana and Porterhouse Medical. 

Findings and discussions from the events can be found in the Event Profs Panel Report, available on QHotels’ website:

  • Becky Dempsey of Primary 29/11/2016

    Totally agree with this. I don't think the events industry as a whole does enough when it comes to sharing best practice on crisis plans and procedures. Delegate safety is too much of an important issue for agency competitiveness to get in the way. We should be sharing more to create an industry standard.

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