Ask us – Managing the risks of the Christmas party

We’ve got our works Christmas party next week and someone has told me I should send a letter to staff setting out some ground rules.  I don’t want to undermine the fun of the party, it’s been a busy year, but I am conscious that I do have some liabilities.  What should I include in a letter?

You are quite right that you have responsibilities for the behaviour of staff at the party.  Even if the party is out of working hours, the reason for the party is work and therefore the organisation has a vicarious responsibility for the attendees.  It would be a good idea to communicate your expectations with your employees.

It’s a last opportunity ahead of the party to explain the range of food and drink options (so that diverse needs are catered for), set the standards of staff behaviour expected and identify ways in which you plan to deal with any issues.

Things to include in a letter could be:

  • Food options and last requests for special dietary needs
  • Behaviour requirements and advice that any misconduct (give some examples) will be addressed via the company disciplinary procedure
  • Alcohol consumption advice – confirm that soft drinks will be available
  • Responsibility of all staff for their own health and safety and that of their colleagues/other guests
  • Any transport arrangements and instruction not to drink and drive.  Offer to provide local taxi company details and/or hotel details
  • Appointed points of contact at the event to whom problems can be escalated to
  • Expected attendance the day after the party – and requirement to book annual leave in advance if required

Whilst these points are quite formal, they are an effective way of helping manage your risk.  You could top and tail it with festive wishes and recognition of the hard work that has gone into the year.

If you would like us to draft a letter for you, please get in touch and we’ll personalise it to your needs.

Hope it’s a great party!


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