National events strategy review: business and regulatory impact assessment - partial

Partial business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA) for the consultation to help shape the review of Scotland's national events strategy.

2. Purpose and Intended Effect

2.1 Background

The scope of the national events strategy review is to undertake a comprehensive review and update of Scotland’s events strategy to ensure it remains fit-for-purpose for an extended term from 2025 to 2035, enabling the continued successful development and delivery of world-class business, sporting and cultural events, and retaining Scotland’s global sector status as a world-leading events destination. The Scottish events sector, Scottish Government and VisitScotland are working together with trade unions and local authorities on the review.

Scotland’s national event strategy, Scotland the Perfect Stage[1], was first published in 2008 in response to Scotland’s burgeoning potential to be a global leader in the events industry. It was reviewed and updated to cover the period 2015 to 2025. There was a renewed focus on five key impact areas including Economic, Brand Identity & Reputation, Media & Profile, Social & Cultural and Sustainability.

2.2 Objective

Although Scotland has had many successes under the current strategy, the event sector has recently endured a period of unprecedented disruption. This presents a number of challenges and potential opportunities for the sector in Scotland. A key objective of the updated strategy is to provide strategic focus for all involved in any aspect of planning, securing, supporting and delivering events of all sizes in Scotland through to the end of 2035. The review provides everyone with a role in Scotland’s world-class event industry the chance to shape the sector’s updated strategy.

The National Events Strategy has the potential to positively impact on all of the National Outcomes set out in the National Performance Framework[2]. However there are particular opportunities around national outcomes focusing on: economy, fair work and business, international, communities, culture and environment.

The national events strategy review process will consider future strategic outcomes in areas such as:

  • Wellbeing Economy. Extending the social and cultural benefits of events. Tackling inequality and improving accessibility – both in terms of fair work practices, and audience and community experience. The impact of events on audiences in generating civic pride and community engagement. Enhancing Scotland’s place on the world stage by hosting major international events, while holding true to our ‘homegrown” signature principles.
  • Transition to Net Zero. The Scottish Government has set climate change ambitions to become a net zero greenhouse gas emitting nation by 2045[3]. It has also committed to doing this in a way that is just and fair for all people across Scotland. These are ambitious targets and require a collective effort from all corners of society to play their part in achievement. This includes governments, businesses, organisations, communities and households. There is an opportunity for the events sector to be at the forefront of developments in this area. Environmental sustainability could act as a lever to attract events to Scotland. Home-grown world class events taking the lead and setting a new standard for sustainability.
  • Skilled workforce and Fair Work practices. Developing, and maintaining globally significant talent. Attracting talent to and developing skills within the event sector workforce. This includes good quality, fair and flexible jobs that align with the dimensions of Fair Work (effective voice, security, respect, opportunity and fulfilment). Building an attractive employment offer. Instilling confidence in the security of the industry as key elements in promoting the sector as a great place to work. Ensuring workers have an effective voice in influencing workplace practice and decisions.
  • Measurability and sharing good practice. Building a strong narrative across the range of interests and outcomes. Better evidencing and demonstrating the benefits and impacts of events to Scotland and across key policy areas. Measuring not only economic aspects and tourism, but also community and cultural impacts, child poverty and net zero. This work will be critical to ensuring that we are able to measure and monitor relevant impacts accurately and consistently across the sector throughout the term.

2.3 Rationale for Government Intervention

Scotland’s event sector generated significant economic activity pre-pandemic. This included event-related visitor spend, including from tourism. In addition, the sector generated a wide range of vital social and cultural benefits. Based on the Annual Business Survey 2018, the events industry had an estimated turnover of £1,927 million in 2018 (0.8% of Scotland’s non-financial business economy turnover in 2018). The industry also generated an estimated Gross Value Added of £978 million in 2018 (1.0% of Scotland’s non-financial business economy Gross Value Added in 2018).

The current strategy looks to utilise and develop the assets that make Scotland a perfect stage for events with a focus. These are: our People, our Cultural Identity and Heritage, our Natural Environment, our Built Facilities; and our Signature Events. Also, to develop and deliver a portfolio of events that provide world leading authentic experiences for Scotland’s residents and visitors.

Under the current strategy Scotland has successfully developed a strong and dynamic events industry. This includes a world-class portfolio of business, sporting, and cultural events. These deliver against the key impact areas and generate valuable international profile for Scotland.

The term of the current strategy is nearing conclusion. Scottish Ministers’ Programme for Government is committed to another review. This will update and strategy and extend its term to the end of 2035.

The impact of COVID-19, exit from the EU, and increasing climate change concerns have all significantly disrupted the event industry in recent years. This has fundamentally changed the environment in which the sector operates.

For example:

  • COVID-19 – an international survey of the event sector from December 2021[4] showed that:
    • 45% of companies had taken on debt;
    • the number of businesses that turned over less than £50,000 had grown by 56%;
    • 95% of manufacturers were experiencing component shortages; and
    • 70% of non-manufacturing companies were experiencing a delay in finished goods.
  • Climate change – UK festivals generate 25,800 tonnes of waste, 22,876 tonnes of CO2 and use 185 million litres of water annually[5]. Festival-goers produce 2kg of waste per person per day. This is nearly twice as much as is produced per person per day from household waste[6]. There is an industry-wide pledge to halve the negative environmental impacts of festivals by 2025. In addition, the industry aims to achieve a 23% reduction in relative emissions per audience day from energy, waste, and water. This is mainly driven by diverting waste from landfill. Despite these goals total music festival carbon emissions from energy, waste, and water on-site have risen over the past five years. This has been driven by a nearly 50% increase in audience numbers[7].

The updated strategy will provide strategic focus for all involved in the planning, securing and delivery of events of all sizes in Scotland. It will bring together all parts of the public, private and third sector that play a role in Scotland’s world-class event industry. It will also drive progress and safeguarding Scotland’s global status as the perfect stage for events.



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