Summary: It is the responsibility of the hirer to make sure public liability insurance is in place, especially if they are supervising the use of the castle, and not the supplier. The hall does not provide any insurance for the use of bouncy castles, and cannot accept any responsibility in the event of any accident.
Many village halls do not allow bouncy castles, and here’s why. What happens if a child has a fall and hits their head, possibly with long term injuries? Who is responsible for supervision, and whose insurance covers the accident? Public liability insurance is what is needed, provided by, either:
- the trustees of the Village Hall (the hall), or
- the supplier of the bouncy castle, or
- the hirer (i.e. the person who hires the hall and hires the bouncy castle).
The hall insurance doesn’t cover use of bouncy castles, mainly because there will be no-one from the hall present to supervise. The hall is only responsible for advising hirers that they must put appropriate arrangements in place.
Any responsible supplier of a bouncy castle must have insurance, but often their public liability insurance will only cover their own liabilities and so will only apply if they themselves are present to supervise the use of the castle.
The hirer must make sure that the supplier has insurance and find out what cover is provided if the castle is not being supervised by the supplier.
If the insurance cover for the hirer applies only when the castle is supervised by the supplier, then the hirer is responsible for insurance and for proper supervision. Proper supervision means supervision by an adult over 18. Letting teenagers supervise toddlers will not be allowed by any insurance.
Insurance for a one off event can be purchased. See details at end.
Because it’s complicated, you can see why many halls find it easier not to allow bouncy castles.
However, because Harwell Village Hall has plenty of space to allow bouncy castles, and because many hirers appreciate being able to have bouncy castles for their parties, the trustees have decided to allow bouncy castles under the following conditions:
When booking, the hirer must declare that they intend to have a bouncy castle. This declaration will imply a commitment to make sure that:
- The bouncy castle will be supervised at all times by an adult (over 18).
- Public liability insurance will be provided either by the supplier or the hirer.
Before the actual booking, the hirer must confirm that insurance is in place, and must be prepared to provide evidence for this.
The hall reserves the right to prohibit the use of the castle, or even to cancel the booking if appropriate evidence is not provided on request.
Please understand that these arrangements are being introduced so that the hall trustees and the hirers can be sure that proper insurance is in place enabling hirers to run a happy event, knowing that they are properly insured.
Supervision and Safety Instructions
These instructions have been provided by the Village Hall insurance company. Hirers are required to follow these instructions.
- The castle must be adequately secured;
- Soft matting covering hard surfaces must be placed adjacent to the front or open sides;
- There should be responsible adult supervision, paying close attention to the children at play at all times during its use;
- The number of children using the bouncy castle must be limited to the number recommended in the Hire Company’s safety instructions. There must be no overcrowding;
- A rota system for different age or size groups should be operated together with the observance of any age limit of users (it is suggested that children over 10 years of age should not use the equipment);
- All children must be made to remove footwear, hard or sharp objects such as jewellery, buckles, pens and other similar pocket contents.
- Eating while bouncing or performing acrobatics must not be allowed.
Additionally, the hirer should ensure that the Hire Company (the supplier):
- Fully complies with the Health and Safety Executive Guidance Note PM76 – “The Safe Operation of Inflatable Bouncing Devices” (this important guide deals with all aspects of safety);
- Employs suitably experienced and trained adult personnel, where the Company are responsible for setting up, operation and supervision of the bouncy castle;
- Provides written evidence of a current Public Liability Insurance Policy with a Limit of Indemnity of at least £5 million. This insurance is to cover the liability of the Hire Company. Note that this is unlikely to extend to cover the hirer of the equipment.
- Provides written instructions about the safe setting up, operation and supervision of the equipment, and that the name and address of the manufacturer or supplier is clearly marked upon it.
The company we were aware of who provided Day Cover for bouncy castles has ceased trading (March 2021). If you know of anyone who provides such a service, please let us know so we can list it here.
- Bouncy castle policy approved by Trustees on 17 Jan 2018
- Last section “Insurance” updated 20 Jul 2021