Events not only add vibrancy to an area for both residents and visitors, they can enable local councils to achieve longer-term strategic goals such as urban regeneration, community benefits, and place promotion.
When it comes to staging large scale events, it is the local council’s responsibility to control risks through rigorous planning and consultation with local stakeholders. An incident caused or handled badly due to inadequate risk assessment, or a flawed event plan can spell disaster for the council’s reputation. Major disturbance or disruption to local residents and businesses also needs to be carefully controlled.
But developing and implementing a solid event safety and community engagement plan is no small task. Council officers, safety advisory groups and other stakeholders need to communicate and share information easily, sometimes across council or agency boundaries. The fact that event planning is a fluid process adds yet another layer of complexity. Keeping everyone up to date with constantly evolving plans makes considerable demands on resources.
A method of online collaboration between multiple parties is the obvious solution.
Customer feedback leads development
The need to find an appropriate cloud-based event application management solution was high on the agenda of the London Events Forum (LEF). This group was formed in 2013 by several London councils who had already worked together to deliver events around the 2012 London Olympics. Many were already using a cloud based system called FilmApp to handle film permits, so the company behind FilmApp (Apply4 Technology) were approached to see if a new system (EventApp) could be created.
ITC Contracts Manager for Folkestone and Hythe council, Steve Makin, was also on the lookout for software to help deliver his strategy which relied on a cloud-based approach to event planning. Steve first encountered EventApp at a meeting of the LEF where Apply4 Technology were discussing future development plans.
How does the software aid collaboration?
Folkestone and Hythe needed the system to have sophisticated collaboration tools, so that stakeholders (such as the emergency services) could ask questions directly to event organisers, without the council having to relay messages back and forth. Tools to handle every action and message were required, along with the ability to retain a full audit trail. Credit card payment processes, document management and calendar functions were also essential.
Flexible payment terms
Folkestone and Hythe had another problem, the subscription fees that were being charged to busy London councils were more than a small district council in Kent could afford. In response Apply4 Technology developed a flexible payment plan whereby the amount paid relates directly to the amount of events running through the system.
EventApp in Kent
EventApp is now being used in many councils in the UK and USA. In Kent, Folkestone & Hythe, Maidstone, Swale, Sevenoaks, Bromley and Tunbridge Wells are up and running with other neighbouring councils about to start. On a more strategic level the system helps Kent county council to oversee and evaluate potential future demands on the county’s essential services.
Feedback about the software has been very positive. Steve Makin, Folkestone and Hythe’s ITC Contracts Manager has told us that the software “has been a great success and is enabling officers within the council to keep track of multiple applications with ease.”
Kent County Council’s Community Safety Manager Terry Hughes says that they are using the software to unify the way that their SAGs work together. “Numerous people from multiple agencies can view relevant documents and contact the right people directly, taking care of much of the organisation and coordination between partners.”
Andy Pavord is the Chairman and Founder of Apply4 Technology