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How to put on a Corporate Event in London

If you’re planning to put on a corporate event in London, then the good news is that you’ve chosen one of the most exciting, vibrant and business friendly cities in the world. Replete with incredible venues, iconic landmarks and buildings, just being in London can set your event apart from competition outside of the capital.

The slightly less good news is that putting on an event in London is more expensive, competitive and poses more challenges than other cities. Planning well ahead is essential but with a good event agency on your side, there’s no need to panic (not yet anyway).

Here’s our handy London event guide to get you started.

Why Hold an Event in London?

London is one of the world’s most globalised cities and a powerful brand in its own right, strongly associated with its hugely influential financial and business services sectors. Despite the obvious uncertainty created by Brexit, business leaders from across the world continue to come in their droves to the city and the corporate event industry is booming.

In addition to the prestige of hosting a corporate event in London, there is a vast choice of fantastic venues – from historic through to purpose-built. The cachet and relevance of hosting a business event at the heart of the UK’s economy (the fifth biggest in the world), reflects the proximity of being at the heart of such a huge business hub. Many of the biggest global businesses in the world are headquartered in London, with a huge number of smaller but hugely influential businesses based here.

Throw into the mix the huge attractions the city has to offer in terms of its iconic sights and attractions as well as the superb accommodation, best-in-class suppliers and excellent public transport links and you’ve got a winning formula for success.

Budget and Finances

London events can be expensive, so it’s vital to manage your money well. Set a clear budget and liaise with contractors early on to get a sense of costs. You’ll need to consider licensing, insurance, equipment hire, venue hire, refreshments, speakers and entertainment, staffing and other items needed on the day. Define the income you expect to generate from the event, with different levels of attendance to reflect your confidence level.

Offset this against the costs, with a margin if you need the event to be profit-making. Work with your business finance team to define the financial administration processes, which could include opening up a stand-alone business account, tracking and receipting all transactions, keeping a petty cash box and keeping a detailed record of all income and expenditure.

Make sure you define how any financial loss from the event will be handled and how profit will be used. For a large corporate event, you will want to carefully record all this information and make it available to all stakeholders, helping to ensure everyone financially involved is up to speed and happy to invest in your next event.

Licencing and Permissions

Some London events will require licences and this will depend on what you are planning to do at the event. For most events, a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) or Premises Licence will be sufficient. Most venues already hold this so double check. The other most common license requirement is the Licensing Act 2003, which covers alcohol sales and late night refreshments.

Other licences include PRS for music and street collections. Speak to the venue to find out which licenses they hold and to get a sense as to what is likely to be required. You should also contact the local London borough council to find out more.

You may also need to get permission from the land owner if you’re looking to put on an outdoor London event. Public land is controlled through the relevant local authority and includes areas such as commons and parks. Contact the Parks and Green Spaces department to find out more. Private land must have permission granted by the private land owner. If it is difficult to track down the owner, try the Land Registry.

A Guide to London’s Boroughs

London’s ten boroughs, two royal boroughs and cities are:

You can find out more about the London borough councils and how they map across the city’s area boundaries by looking at the London Event Toolkit website.

Health and Safety

When you invite attendees to a corporate event, you are responsible for their safety, potentially along with the land or property owner and any professional events agency that you have commissioned to deliver or co-deliver the event. Your duty of care extends to areas that include fire risk, food hygiene and welfare and it’s essential to carry out a risk assessment beforehand with your London venue contact.

Every event should have a named and competent individual who will take on responsibility for health and safety at the event, and you must have processes and paperwork in place so that your local authority can review them if an incident does occur. You can find out more at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

With these areas covered as your starting point, you will be well on the way to planning an event to remember. You can then move on to sourcing a venue, writing requests for proposals, planning your event marketing and booking speakers and other suppliers.

Denise is Managing Director of Outsourced Events, a London based end-to-end event management agency working within the technology, associations, not-for-profit and professional services sectors

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