Update from the National Association of Civic Officers.
View email in your browser



As we approach mid-October many of you will have designed your Remembrance Sunday and 11.11.11 commemorative events. You will have consulted, agonized, planned and re-planned according to local advice, custom, practice and perhaps pressure.

Hopefully the NACO Bulletin issued previously will have given you some ideas in the absence of specific guidance from the RBL, DCMS or DHCLG.

Limited information is now coming forth from those usual partners, though most of it puts the planning and decision making firmly in the domain of local authorities – in short, you!

If you are still waiting and watching, a key tip is to consult with your Director of Public Health – we all have one, either at County or Unitary level, so make sure you know who yours is and establish contact. Whatever your line manger, Chief Executive or Leader tells you, it must still pass the public health test and that will vary from area to area, dependent on the level of restrictions imposed by government.

Bear in mind too, that the advice/approval can change between now and mid November. Your plans must be flexible, most probably to shrink. It is highly unlikely that you will be told that restrictions will be eased, to enable thee large-scale events you have been delivering for years.

Whilst you may have planned small discreet ceremonies, including pre-recorded events, for streaming on the day, you must communicate plans to the public, well in advance, to deter public gatherings near memorials. The phrase ‘Remember from Home’ is gaining support from NACO members. This simple idea is not a government or RBL brand – indeed it seems to have its origins on the NACO Message Board, with much credit due to Elizabeth Olver at Plymouth and Elisa Adams at Newbury. We all have an opportunity to grow this phrase through our civic heads’ social media platforms.


Appendix 1

This is likely to be the most useful. It is a document issued by Hertfordshire County Council (thanks to Exec Member Jackie Cansick from Stevenage for sharing) and it contains useful guidance and advice and a number of useful links to specific information from government, the HSE, Association of Event Organisers, WHO, Eventbrite and UK Hospitality.

Further information on keeping workers and audiences safe has been published by the Event Industry Forum (link below).  The full document is available to everyone, but you do need to register to access. Registration is free. Just create a login and access the guidance.




Appendix 2

Issued by the RBL  - concentrates on Parades and is a stark warning to local branches, if they try to arrange any that involve road closures. These are clearly identified as a local authority responsibility, in terms of cost and liability. There is little in it to comfort civic officers!


Appendix 3

Also issued by the RBL – refers to the Festival of Remembrance and the Cenotaph event – these are very specific London events, but many of you may model your local events on them, so have a read.



Hopefully this newsletter, with all its appendices will prove useful as you do your usual great work to ensure that we remember safely and with dignity.


Phil O'Brien

Communications Officer, NACO

9 October 2020



Copy of a letter from the

Hertfordshire Health Protection Board


The Author of the following letter, Jim McManus, OCDS, CPsychol, FBPsS, CSci, FFPH, Chartered FCIPD, FRSB, Director of Public Health - Public Health Service
Hertfordshire County Council has said:


Please do feel free to reproduce the Remembrance Sunday letter (attached) in full or in part in your newsletter, and circulate in any way useful to you

You will also find the letter online here https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/news/news-archive/public-health-director-letter-on-rememberance-day-events

The Local Government Association has also produced a dedicated web page for Remembrance Sunday Resources https://www.local.gov.uk/local-remembrance-events


Remembering in Safety and Dignity: Remembrance Sunday Events 2020

I am writing to provide some advice and guidance on Remembrance Sunday events for November 2020, mindful that guidance is still awaited from national government which may supercede the contents of this letter. 

The Hertfordshire Approach

Government asked every Council to create a Local Outbreak Plan, with an officer Board, called the Health Protection Board, overseen by a Board of elected members.  In Hertfordshire the Elected Member Board is chaired by David Williams, Leader of the County Council, with Tim Hutchings the Executive Member for Public Health and Prevention as Deputy Chair, and comprises the leaders of the County Council, the District and Borough Councils and the Police and Crime Commissioner. The published outbreak plan can be found at this link  www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/outbreakplan but are live documents. The Health Protection Board is a multi-agency board of partners working together to reduce and manage outbreaks of infection.

The Elected Member Board agreed the creation of a countywide approach to events, within the framework of legislation and guidance.

The Hertfordshire approach, overseen by the Health Protection Board in partnership with all relevant agencies is in short:


  1. To enable events which are lawful and safe to proceed lawfully and safely, and ensure they are COVID-19 secure
  2. To ensure that events can remain dignified while being safe
  3. To use existing event notification systems to do this
  4. To require everyone organising an event to undertake a proper COVID risk assessment for any event to ensure any event which does happen to happen safely
  5. To prevent by consent and enforcement where necessary, events which are unlawful or unsafe


Public Acts of Remembrance

In line with this, it is our current intention to support local areas to enable some form of COVID-19 secure public act of remembrance to take place. The principles to enable this to take place are:


  1. The Health Protection Board and agencies will continue to do all we can to reduce and suppress spread of the virus, so while Hertfordshire is not under either any local or national restrictions, our working assumption is that public acts of remembrance compliant with the law and covid-secure principles can occur. More is said about this below.


  1. If we enter national or local restrictions, such acts may become unlawful and it would be wise for organisers to have a plan B


The Law on events

The law in force at the time of writing states that you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors, unless you have an exception

Exceptions include events organised under the auspices of a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body, or are part of the premises used for the operation of a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body. This includes public acts of worship.  Such exceptions only apply where the event has been rigorously risk assessed.

The effect of this is that exceptions can apply to Remembrance Sunday public acts of remembrance PROVIDED THAT


  1. they are organised either by public bodies such as Town or Parish Councils or District or Borough Councils, Charities such as the Royal British Legion or recognised places of worship.
  2. They are properly risk assessed
  3. In Hertfordshire they are notified to the District or Borough Council Environmental Health Dept in line with usual event notification processes AND include a covid-secure risk assessment


The Police have power to enforce events which do not meet these conditions and Local Authorities have powers to issue directions to events including prohibition, restriction or specific steps.


Events within the context of Public Worship

Events which take place within the context of public worship (i.e. a Rembrance event at the start of a public act of worship in a recognised place of worship or outdoors) or regular acts of worship which have a remembrance theme to them are lawful provided they follow the guidance on public worship.



The steps to take for your event

You should continue as usual to provide your event notification form with the addition of a covid risk assessment for the event and follow the guidance.  In order to help you do this I have provided a summary checklist of principles, and links to relevant documents, attached with this letter

I very much hope that we will not be in a situation of infection where events cannot take place safely. But in the event that the legislation changes or the levels of infection become so high that events are unlikely to happen safely, we will ensure we communicate with you.













Please note that due to COVID-19 pandemic all remembrance events must follow the guidelines and advice issued by the government or local authority and might need to be cancelled depending on the situation.




This update applies to branches in England and Wales and explains why road closures (known as TTMOs in England and TROs in Wales) at Remembrance parades must be left to a local authority to own and run. The Board of Trustees’ policy on road closures and TTMOs is that branches must never organise, pay for or deploy a TTMO.  That has been the policy for some time but, henceforth, there will be no exceptions granted to that policy.

Northern Ireland is not covered by this newsletter, as the Parades Commission governs street parades. Branches outside the UK who organise Remembrance parades are reminded that they must at all times comply with local rules and legislation.  


A serious road accident at a 2018 parade focused attention on how serious the consequences of a road traffic accident can be for the victims and those close to them. In this case, the accident left a supporter with life changing injuries. The accident also drew attention to the burden of cost such an accident can have, with claims for damages often running into the tens of millions of pounds. In this case, the Legion has benefitted from the support of its insurers. However, those insurers have made it clear that the approach to TTMOs must be more formal and, in future, all branches must adhere to the policy. 

To be clear, a parade on the public highway is not an essential element of a successful

Remembrance. This newsletter is focused on the parade and not the wider Remembrance event.

Legion Policy on Remembrance Parades

  1. Remembrance events should, wherever possible, be organised by a Civic Authority. All aspects of an event that is organised by a Civic Authority should remain the responsibility of that Civic Authority. Temporary Traffic Management Orders (“TTMOs”) may only be organised and deployed by the Civic Authority and on no account should TRBL staff or volunteers be deployed to manage traffic. 
  2. Where TRBL must be the Event organiser (because the Civic Authorities refuse) TRBL may take this role but there can be no street Parade, no road closure and, therefore, no need for a TTMO unless this aspect of the event is owned by a Civic Authority. Whilst the branch can be involved in determining a Parade route, it should not itself contract with a third party and may not take responsibility for the design, planning and deployment of a TTMO.
  3. On the day of the Parade, TRBL and its volunteers must not engage in the deployment, management or removal of any TTMO. This includes, for example, placing barriers, directing traffic or driving vehicles that are involved in the TTMO.







Some branches enjoy a long history of a parade being part of their Remembrance. A challenge we must all face is that if a civic authority will not step up and take ownership of the TTMO then the branch may not do it for them. This will mean that, in some cases, long-standing parades will cease to take place.  The Membership Council recognises how contentious this is, but in our increasingly litigious society, the Legion has been left with no choice but to take this stance. 

Please remember that a parade is not the Remembrance event. It is very common to have a Remembrance event that does not include a parade on the public highway.  A local authority in the home counties provides a useful example. Of the 25 Remembrance events that took place within their municipal boundary in 2019, only 8 involved a parade with road closure, with 17 static events centred on a church or memorial. The local authority is deliberately not named here as we do not want to infer that they intend to change this arrangement. The point is that a Remembrance event does not have to involve a parade and it is not unusual to run an event in this way.

Policy compliance

Please do not try and find a way around the policy or ignore the need for a TTMO. Parading on the public highway without a TTMO is illegal and undertaking this activity would breach the Legion Code of Practice. Equally, trying to arrange your own insurance is not allowed. The sheer complexity of health & safety law in this area is beyond the skills of most branch officers and must be left to organisations who can afford to employ people with the appropriate expertise.

Our insurance policy is based upon branches complying with the rules. Non-compliance will lead to significant problems with our insurer and substantial impact on the conditions of any future insurance.

Remembrance parades and relations with local authorities

Arranging Remembrance events and/or parades is a civic duty for local authorities – the Legion supports and attends those civic events, not the other way around. However, branches often take on a more significant role than merely being an attendee.  That role has, in many cases, come to be relied on by local authorities who are more than happy to pass some or all of their costs and duties to us. Notwithstanding the leading role that the Legion often plays, branches must always remember that arranging the event is a local authority’s civic duty. This year, the Director General has once again written to local authorities to remind them of their civic duty.

Local lobbying and reputational risk 

All branch officers and members represent the Legion, especially when they engage with third parties, such as local authorities. Whilst it may be tempting to lobby the council or individual councillors, please do so responsibly or not at all. Inappropriate contact or lobbying damages the

Legion’s reputation and its ability to divert local authority spending to support the needs of our beneficiaries. It is with regret that we must accept that many local authorities will simply be unable to afford to provide the support they have given us in the past. 





Amalgamating parades

Local authorities often support multiple Remembrance events. Members are asked to note the often-parlous state of local authority finances and to take a pragmatic and supportive approach if their own local authority withdraws support for a local parade, citing the existence of a larger parade nearby. Whilst recognising the long-standing history of many small Remembrance parades, affected branches may be left with two choices: 

i)          Become part of a larger scale parade; or ii)   Retain a local event but without an on-road parade. 

One or two larger events can provide an effective, visible and successful Remembrance. To be clear, attending a larger parade should never preclude the laying of wreaths locally, later the same day, but without the parade the local branch may be used to. 

There are branches whose memorial is sited in the middle of the road. We would hope that the location of these memorials will help to persuade the local authority to maintain its ownership of the road closure. However, if the local authority declines to own and run an appropriate traffic management order then the branch will need to consider an alternative approach. The Legion will not grant the branch a policy exception in these circumstances.


The aim of the Legion policy is twofold: to protect people from the trauma of traffic accidents and to avoid the Legion having to pay large sums of money in damages claimed by the victim. The effect of the policy is that no branch or officer has the authority to commit the Legion to liability of this kind. Put simply, TTMOs must be left to the experts.






Royal British Legion

7th September 2020 COVID-19 UPDATE 2020



The Royal British Legion has developed plans to ensure the Festival of Remembrance will go ahead this year and together with the BBC is creating a pre-recorded programme that will be broadcast on BBC One on Saturday 7th November.


In light of current government restrictions and social distancing guidelines we are unable to offer the opportunity for members, staff, volunteers or members of the public to attend the filming of the event. We recognise that this will be disappointing news for many, but it is a necessary step to comply with government rules and to protect the health and well-being of those who would be travelling to and attending the event whilst Coronavirus is still present.


We will be using the whole auditorium in order to film a socially distanced performance and the only representatives present are those who will be participating.




Is the Festival of

Remembrance taking place this year?


The Royal British Legion has developed plans to ensure the Festival of Remembrance will go ahead this year and together with the BBC is creating a pre-recorded programme that will be broadcast on BBC One on Saturday 7th November.


It will not be a live event and unfortunately no guests or audience members will be able to attend the recording.

How and why has the Legion come to this decision?

The Legion considered a wide range of options for this year’s Festival of Remembrance that were within the current guidelines.

The pre-recorded option was deemed the safest option by the Board of Trustees to ensure that a Festival of Remembrance can still take place this year.

We recognise that this will be disappointing news for many, but it is a necessary step to comply with government rules and to protect the health and well-being of those who would be travelling to and attending the event whilst Coronavirus is still present.


Will Legion Standard Bearers be invited to participate?

Whilst following government rules on social distancing we will be aiming to retain the important perennial elements that make the Festival the special occasion that it is, albeit on a much-reduced scale.


Legion Standard Bearers therefore will be represented by the

Union and the National Standards (to be paraded by the National Standard Bearer and the Deputy National Standard Bearer).


Will Legion Parade Marshals be required?

As we will only have 2 Standard Bearers present, there will be no requirement for any Parade Marshals.


We must actively look to reduce the number of people on site to comply with government rules so standard bearer’s instructions will be issued by the Garrison Sergeant Major.


How are others being chosen to take participate?


The Festival of Remembrance team will work closely with the BBC and the MoD to feature a host of participants who will fully represent the breadth of our Armed Forces community.


Participants will be contacted directly over the coming weeks as content plans develop.


Will Poppy Collectors and Legion Volunteers be invited to participate?

As above, The Legion will be aiming to retain the important perennial elements that make the Festival the special performance that it is, albeit on a much-reduced scale.


Participants will be contacted directly over the coming weeks as content plans develop.


What will happen if

Government guidelines ease or second lock down is put in place?


The Legion will continue to monitor Government rules and guidance to ensure that the Festival of Remembrance can be produced safely.


Unfortunately, due to time constraints, the current plan of a prerecorded Festival would not change should Government guidance ease by November.


Will the Festival of

Remembrance return to its usual format in 2021?

The Legion very much hopes that we will be able to deliver Festival of Remembrance 2021 as normal, however we will continue to monitor government guidelines.




Any further queries or comments should be directed to festival@britishlegion.org.uk  CENOTAPH CEREMONY


The annual National Service of Remembrance will be held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on Sunday 8 November.


To ensure the safety of all those who are participating and to comply with social distancing measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the overall number of people taking part in The Cenotaph Dispersal will be considerably lower than in previous years. The well-being of those who choose to participate is our priority, and we have been working with the Government and relevant Associations to ensure the march is able to go ahead safely and that, in the centenary year of the Cenotaph, as many members of the Armed Forces Veteran community as possible are represented.


Additionally, the Government have expressed a need to reduce the number of spectators at  this year’s National Service of Remembrance. It is expected that numbers will be heavily restricted, and access cannot be guaranteed. Please keep an eye on the Government’s website for further information.




Will the National Service of Remembrance be held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall?

The Legion has been working with DCMS, the MoD and others to define the planning parameters for the annual Remembrance Sunday event given the ongoing restrictions in place to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The Remembrance Sunday ceremony on Whitehall will take place, albeit in reduced and socially distanced form.


Will the Cenotaph Dispersal take place?

Yes - The Legion Team is currently restricting each Association to 8 representatives, in order to stay within our total capacity of approximately 2000.


Will the Royal British Legion be represented?

Yes - to ensure that the Legion’s Veteran membership is appropriately represented, MSOs will be allocated 2 nominations per County for this year’s Cenotaph Dispersal.

Members who are eligible to march should contact their local MSO should they wish to register their interest.


What are the eligibility criteria for Legion members wishing to take part?

Members wishing to take part in the Dispersal must meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Military or civilian men and women from the UK and the

Commonwealth who served the Crown on Military Operations

  • Wives, husbands or civil partners of those who died as a result of their service in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces


What will happen if

Government guidelines ease or second lock down is put in place?

The Legion will continue to monitor Government rules & guidance to ensure that the Cenotaph Dispersal can be produced safely.




We will be reviewing our current plans and will communicate again with all associations in mid-October and will adjust it our plans accordingly based on the latest Government guidelines.


Will public, family and friends be able to attend and watch the march past in London?

It is expected that restrictions will be in place for public viewing for Remembrance weekend.


Family and friends wishing to view the March Past are advised to check the latest guidance a week prior to Remembrance Sunday before making any arrangements.


The Legion recommends that members watch the event on television or support local Remembrance activity instead


Will I be able to watch the

National Service of

Remembrance and march past on TV?

Yes, the National Service of Remembrance and March Past will be broadcast live on BBC One on Sunday 8 November.

Will marching associations be able to lay a wreath?

In current plans, marching contingents will still be able to hand their wreaths over as they march past the Cenotaph.


How will the Legion ensure the march past is safe for participants?

The Legion will ensure the safety of those by following social distancing guidelines and increased sanitation of all communal areas e.g. toilets.


Participants will form up on Horse Guards Parade and proceed onto Whitehall. Markers and marshals will be in place to ensure social distancing on both.

Will participants need to wear a face mask?

As the March Past will be taking place outside, there is no current requirement to wear a face mask.


Marching Veterans will receive tickets and joining instructions closer to the time of the event in order to provide participants with the most up-to-date Government guidance.


Will there be parking available?


A very limited number of parking spaces will be available when individual Veterans register through their associations. Spaces will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.


Poppy Cabs

Poppy Cabs, the Remembrance Sunday Free Taxi service will yet again be available this year. They will be operating numerous

‘turn up and go’ hub locations which include:


  • Victory Services Club
  • Union Jack Club
  • Kings Cross (main line)
  • Liverpool Street
  • Paddington (main line)
  • Fenchurch Street
  • London Bridge


  • Victoria (main line)
  • Victoria Coach Station
  • Waterloo (main line)
  • Euston
  • Marylebone


For further information contact Mike Hughes (preferably by SMS or e-mail) on 07973 430022 or mike@mikehughes.org.uk.


Can Local Cenotaph Parades take place?

Responsibility for the delivery of local remembrance events rests with civic authorities. Branches are encouraged to assist in the organisation of local Remembrance parades and services if the local authorities decide it is safe to go ahead with them. All members must ensure that any form of support and assistance complies with the local or government restrictions and social distancing guidelines.


Will the Cenotaph Dispersal return to its usual format in 2021?

The Legion very much hope that we will be able to deliver The Cenotaph Dispersal in 2021 as normal, however we will continue to monitor government guidelines.


Any further queries or comments should be directed to cenotaph@britishlegion.org.uk 


Legion Centenary – Telling our story

The Legion’s centenary year in 2021 will mark a milestone in the history of the organisation, and it’s a real opportunity for us to showcase all that we do so well.  From its very beginnings in 1921 our members and branches have been at the heart of the Legion and that’s why we’re turning to you to kick start the centenary commemorations by Telling Our Story.


No one is better placed to tell the story of the Legion’s 100 years than its membership community.  We need you to delve into the history of your branches and share Legion related records, artefacts, membership experiences, personal stories and more.  This is your story. It’s about you, your branches, your community, your local adventures and connections.  To find our more and make a submission please visit the dedicated Telling Our Story resource area on the Legion Website.





[1] The police have powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notices) of £200, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £6,400 and penalties on organisers up to £10,000.





Visit the NACO Website
Copyright © 2020 National Association of Civic Officers, All rights reserved. Stop