Rally Authorisation

What is an Authorised Event?

An Authorised Events is an event where the Organiser has been granted ‘Authorisation’ in accordance with the Road Traffic Act (Off Road Events) Regulations of 1995 (SI 1995).

The NTET is an Authorising Body appointed under the Road Traffic Act (Off road events) Regulations of 1995 (SI 1995) as amended, to grant ‘Authorisation’ to traction engine rallies and similar events.

Authorisation applies where the Event Organiser has volunteered to operate the event in accordance with a recognised Code of Practice and affords protection to the drivers of vehicles which are being driven in close proximity to members of the public from prosecution relating to driving offences per the following extract from the Regulations:

The revised (1995) Section 13A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 provides that a person shall not be guilty of an offence under Sections 1, 2 or 3 of the 1988 Act by virtue of driving a vehicle in a public place other than a road if he shows that he was driving in accordance with an authorisation for a motoring event given under these Regulations.

The offences under Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the 1988 Act are:

  • a) causing death by dangerous driving;
  • b) dangerous driving;
  • c) careless and inconsiderate driving

N.B. These immunities apply to all authorised drivers of vehicles but will only be in force where the event is being conducted in accordance with the Authorising Body’s Code of Practice.

The NTET’s Authorisation Scheme – providing all-round protection

The NTET’s Event Authorisation Scheme was originally designed to deal exclusively with The Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995.  However, as our experienve grew that scope of ‘the scheme’ has been substantially widened to assist the event organiser in being compliant with the requirement of other regulations, including those listed below, and more besides.

  • a) The Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995
  • b) The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • c) Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
  • d) The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006
  • e) The Insurance Act 2015

The wider benefits of Authorisation include:

  • Provision of a Code of Practic covering all of the above legislation
  • Access to the ‘Purple Guide’, published and maintained by the Event Industry Forum (EIF)
  • Nationwide advertising on NTET publications and its website
  • Training events for Organisers and Safety Officers
  • Practical information and advice from experienced NTET members
  • Discounted Rally Insurance premiums from preferred insurers

Importantly, the NTET Rally Organisers Code of Practice has been commended by the HSE as an authorative set of guidelines which the organiser is required to apply in support of a safe and trouble free event.

NB: The Sept 2018 (Interim) version of the Rally Organisers Code of Practice is currently being updated.

To Be, or Not To Be – Authorised

The organiser of any event where machinery or equipment is operated or movement of vehicles takes place and the public are present and in close proximity needs to be compliant with the regulations listed above.

The organiser of any public event could be challenged by authority or by a court of law should the need arise.  The organisers of a ‘not-Authorised Event’ should seriously consider their ability or otherwise to demonstrate compliance with the five sets of regulations listed above.  Ignorance is not a defence in UK law and any event organiser must have in place procedures and safeguards aimed at protecting the public, the participants, contractors, landowners’ property and employees (including volunteers).

Devising the required controls and procedures, even for a small event, can be onerous and the organiser still may not be fully compliant.

The organiser of an ‘Authorised Event’ has the resource of the NTET’s Rally Organisers Code of Practice, the Event Industry Forums’  Purple Guide and also has access to the combined knowledge and expertise of the Rally Organisers Section members who include event organisers and Safety Officers.  Moreover, the drivers of vehicles moving around the event whilst the public are present are immune from prosecution for the three defined offences. 

It is particularly important to understand that driving licences and the roadworthiness or otherwise of the vehicles are not subject to scrutiny by authorities when driven off road and subsequently the organiser must have protective policies in place.  The Authorised Event Organiser is provided with template policies.

All of these facets combine to ensure that the event management is practical, comprehensive and fully compliant with legal requirements.

Organisers also have access to Insurance Schemes tailored to meet their specific requirements at an affordable cost

There is no compulsion in law to be an Authorised Event but knowing these facts, which would you want the event you attend or operate to be; ‘Authorised’ or ‘not-Authorised’?