6. Scottish Firms Impact Test
A substantive analysis of the Scottish Firms Impact Test will be provided in the final Business Regulatory Impact Assessment which will be developed after the 14 week public consultation period for further consultation and then published alongside the National Events Strategy 2025-2035 later in 2023.
It is estimated, based on the Inter-Departmental Business Register 2021 and 2020 Business Register and Employment Survey, that there are 3,725 Events Industry businesses in Scotland. Our aim is that all businesses affected by the National Events Strategy 2025-2035 will have the opportunity to engage in the public consultation and as many businesses as possible will be able to engage in the engagement workshop led by VisitScotland. A communications plan for the consultation has been developed to support these objectives.
Meantime, to ensure a strategy for and by the sector, short life Themed Groups have been established to draw on industry expertise to inform the strategy review. To underpin the working groups and support measurability each group has a number of umber of both unique and shared indicators.
The groups that have been identified are:
- Group 1: Economic benefit and financial sustainability
- Group 2: Skilled workforce and Fair Work practices
- Group 3: Net zero and environmental sustainability
- Group 4: Wellbeing and audience/community experience
Further information on these groups is provided at the consultation section of this Business Regulatory Impact Assessment.
Each of the Themed Groups was provided with a draft strategic proposition for their theme for consideration and also discussion paper in advance of their meetings. They were also provided with an information paper which set out the broader context and available data and evidence.
Headline feedback- particularly related to this Business Regulatory Impact Assessment- from the face-to-face discussions held with the Themed Groups set out above includes:
6.1 Financial and economic environment
- Cost of living crisis is impacting on staffing/workforce across all types of events, causing an increase in production costs, and affecting ticket sales income and the availability of suppliers. It could also harm a move toward more environmentally sustainable practices and solutions as these are often perceived as expensive.
- The more ‘costly’ employment practices in Scotland can compare unfavourably with the costs for hosting in some other countries – though this higher cost also comes with an existing infrastructure in place, people who are ready to work, a more skilled and diverse workforce, and the ability to get things done within required timeframes.
- The industry is still recovering from the significant impacts of COVID-19. Growth is therefore particularly important.
- The unprecedented challenges of the pandemic have also had an effect on the public sector and the funds available. There was a concern that this would mean the development and delivery of future events could no longer be supported, affecting delivery of the benefits that come from events. This could be especially detrimental where (non-revenue generating) ‘wellbeing activities’ are not economically viable so are not prioritised within current business models.
- The current financial and environmental context was also seen as having the potential to restrict Scotland’s ability to maintain its current competitive advantage in events in a competitive global market, damaging Scotland’s international reputation, especially when compared to other, emerging countries with greater resources which are seeking to attract events and the workforce to deliver them.
- BREXIT has also created challenges for the industry.
6.2 Excellent event experience
- There was a concern that potential for events cancelation was a threat to ticket buyer/attendee confidence – particularly in reference to lack of resource to meet commitments when ticket sales are softer than hoped for by the organiser. In general terms, the industry is not yet seeing audiences back to attending events at pre-Covid levels, although there are areas of very strong demand. While this might be due in part to a lack of confidence, the variability in attendance across different types of event suggested that it may in part be due to people having less disposable income. It was suggested that there is a new trend for tickets to be bought last minute which is problematic in terms of cash flow and planning.
- There are challenges in a lack of local specialised suppliers. Further, even when suitable local suppliers were available, existing procurement processes can make it difficult to make use of them if they are not part of the existing framework. This can be a barrier to maximising economic benefits for the region in which the event is taking place, and for reducing environmental impact.
6.3 Innovation and improvement
- Scotland’s event workforce, including an excellent supply chain, is a key strength and area for development. There were a number of challenges attached to this. Events in Scotland are competing for staffing and resources, not only with other destinations – including other parts of the UK – but with other sectors too.
- Transient and temporary nature for some of the event sector workforce can be very challenging.
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