What is the BVEP, and what has it done during the Covid-19 pandemic?
You may have read a lot about the Business Visits and Events Partnership, often abbreviated as the BVEP, but do you actually know what they do?
The BVEP plays an important role in advocating for the events industry and, together with its association members, known as partners, lobbies and communicates directly with Government.
What is the BVEP?
The BVEP is an ‘umbrella organisation', representing other events industry trade associations to Government. It says its vision is to support sustainable growth for the UK’s events industry.
It represents all aspects of the events industry, including those operating within conferences, meetings, exhibitions, trade shows, festivals, music, and more.
Who is in charge?
Simon Hughes is the BVEP’s chair. Other people on the board include vice chairs Chris Skeith, CEO of the Association of Event Organisers, Nick Morgan, CEO of We Are The Fair and We Are Placemaking, and Caroline Jackson, an independent consultant, researcher and educator and has been at the forefront of events education in the UK.
Michael Hirst OBE, who is also chair of the Events Industry Board, serves as immediate past chair.
What are the BVEP’s objectives?
The BVEP cites its objectives as thus:
- Operate an umbrella organisation to represent, promote and further the interest of member organisations involved in the UK events industry
- Advance the interests, standing, quality, sustainability and growth of the events industry
- Seek greater collaboration across the events Industry sectors on common issues
- Forge close links with Government departments, including devolved Governments where possible via representation, that can influence favourable policies towards the industry. In particular, maintain strong relationships with key sponsoring government departments
- Seek a stronger link with the creative industries and other related sectors
- Encourage joint events
- Increase the focus on professionalism and skills development
Which Government departments does the BVEP work with?
The events industry primarily comes under the sponsorship of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and falls under the remit of the tourism minister, which in 2021 is Nigel Huddleston MP.
However, as the events industry plays a vital role in the economy, the BVEP will occasionally also meet with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and with the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Who else does the BVEP work with?
The BVEP also works closely with other recognised stakeholder and advocacy groups, including the Tourism Alliance, UK Events Industry Board, UK Hospitality, UK Inbound, The Tourism Industry Emergency Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events to coordinate and support wider lobbying activities.
The BVEP is regularly invited to attend APPG meetings.
What is One Industry One Voice?
The BVEP is the public-facing lead of One Industry One Voice (OIOV), a cross-industry movement to unite the wider events sector. It is a coalition of several events industry campaigns, including #WeCreateExperiences, #WeMakeEvents, #LetTheMusicPlay, #SaveLiveComedy, #SaveNightlife and #ProjectRecovery. Its purpose is to unite the sector and ensure everyone is quoting the correct figures to the media and Government, aligns other key messaging, and supports each other’s activities.
OIOV was born from a collaborative effort at a Mash Media crisis summit. The publisher arranged to bring a large part of the industry together to agree how to restore confidence in the sector. Rick Stainton, group executive director at creative agency Smyle, came up with the principle of OIOV, pitching it to a wide range of stakeholders. Stainton, BVEP and Mash Media led the initial charge in raising in excess of £50,000 to fund a PR campaign for the industry, with more than a hundred other businesses donating time and money to the cause.
Does the BVEP produce any reports?
Yes. BVEP oversees much research. The most important document is the UK Events Industry Report. Download the full report here.
What has the BVEP done during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the BVEP has been working with its partners and government departments to ensure the industry is up-to-date on current restrictions and guidelines and aware of what support packages have been made available.
It has also undertaken a programme of lobbying, through its Government Relations & Advocacy Group, to ensure that the industry is provided with a clear voice to government ministers and officials and that their needs and concerns are presented through regular evidence-based briefings.
These activities have been increased and expanded as the pandemic has taken its toll on the industry, and the need for urgent help has grown. While many of these activities may largely have gone unnoticed, it is important to outline the many actions that have and continue to be taken to support the events sector, especially as we begin the long-awaited journey towards recovery.
Key activities between November 2020 and January 2021
In the last quarter, the BVEP has undertaken a significant range of activities in support of the industry and its partner members.
- Meeting with partners to learn their concerns and key issues to enable collation of industry-wide policies and representations
- Attending regular meetings and carrying out both scheduled briefings with officials and ministers from DCMS and BEIS
- Holding direct meetings with the secretary of state and ministers from DCMS and ministers from BEIS
- In conjunction with government officials, collated an industry-wide survey to provide an overall picture of industry viability and status relating to support packages for submission to the Treasury
- Meeting with Treasury officials to explain industry concerns and request additional business support
- Meeting with the secretariat of the Culture Media & Sport Select Committee to ask that future enquiries should include, as appropriate, evidence from the events sector
- Meeting with Alex Sobell MP, shadow minister for tourism, to brief him on the issues confronting the Industry
- Attending meetings of the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group (TIER) and providing daily briefings to partners
- Developing a specific budget submission to Treasury in consultation with partners and DCMS which recommended nine key areas of financial support. Read more here.
- Providing a briefing from partners to the chair and officers of the newly reformed All- Party Parliamentary Group for Events
- Helping to re-establish the APPG for Events and working with its secretariat and advisors to create a series of sector specific policy recommendations for the Covid Recovery Commission
- Working with the Tourism Industry Council and Events Industry Board on responses to recovery planning. This will ensure the industry is included both as part of the Visitor Economy Recovery Plan and also has a separate plan tailored to its specific requirements
- Providing regular briefings to officials to highlight the challenge for supply chain business and freelancers and secure long term government support
- Lobbying for support for event organisers not located in rateable premises, in collaboration with other representative bodies across the visitor economy and working with the Local Government Association to ensure guidance reflects inclusion of these businesses
- Providing support and endorsement for the creation of a Climate Action Framework for the events industry
- Working with key partners to launch an industry wide commitment to diversity, equality and inclusivity. Read more here.
- Working on developing a research brief to prepare a report on the state of the industry post pandemic
- Responding to regular questions from partners and their members on Covid-19 and Brexit guidance issues and seeking clarification from government officials via the Cabinet Office
What are the nine budget requests the BVEP has submitted to the Treasury?
The BVEP and its members have asked the Government to consider the following support schemes to protect the UK events industry:
- Extension of existing schemes relating to business rates relief and furlough for 12 months
- Support to the events supply chain and freelancers
- Extension of VAT cut for 12 months
- An Event Recovery fund to sustain the cash flow of event businesses
- Capital allowances for improvements to venue premises to ameliorate social distancing costs
- Tax incentives for technology investment for online meetings and broadcast installations
- A Government backed insurance indemnity scheme to cover upfront investment costs in staging events
- Tax allowance for upfront production and start-up costs for new events
- Increase in the exemption for the annual staff parties
Who are the BVEP’s partners?
Members include all of the leading event trade bodies and membership organisations, destinations and lead government departments including DCMS, BEIS and DIT. Partners are:
- Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO)
- Association for Events Management Education (AEME)
- Business Travel Association (BTA)
- Association of Event Organisers (AEO)
- Association of Event Venues (AEV)
- Core Cities
- Event Suppliers and Services Association (ESSA)
- Event Marketing Association (EMA)
- Event & Visual Communication Association (EVCOM)
- Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA)
- International Association of Speakers Bureaus (ISAB)
- International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA)
- London & Partners
- Meet in Ireland
- Meetings Industry Association (mia)
- Meeting Professionals International UK and Ireland Chapter (MPI UK&I)
- National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA)
- Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)
- Production Services Association (PSA)
- Tourism Northern Ireland
- Unique Venues of London
- Visit Wales
- VisitScotland's Business Events
Can anyone join the BVEP?
No, BVEP membership is for official trade associations and other similar organisations. However, the BVEP is keen for as many individuals and businesses to join one of their partner associations, who in turn can submit data and information to them.