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The ECPR organises multiple events across Europe every year, traditionally hosted by Universities across their premises and other public buildings. As the organiser of the event, the ECPR has the responsibility for the health and safety and well-being of all participants whilst they are taking part in the academic and plenary programme. Beyond this, while participants are travelling and taking part in other social activities outside of the structure of the event or auspices of the ECPR, their health and safety is their own responsibility. The ECPR cannot be responsible for individuals’ welfare on these occasions, but it has put together some general advice and guidance particularly for those attending such an event for the first time.
When travelling or working abroad, participants must be aware of important differences that will influence their activities. The risks of foreign travel generally stem from the language barrier, the traveller’s unfamiliarity with the location, health risks, local customs, internal security or political instability, and transport infrastructure. Most first-time business travellers will think as tourists and not understand that business travel is different and has different risks.
Particularly if you are travelling abroad, consider finding a travel companion you already know well and trust, to share the journey with. If this is not possible, ensure someone at home knows of your travel plans and check in with them regularly throughout your trip. Try to schedule travel for arrival during the day, rather than late at night, when onward connections may be less available. Work your travel itinerary through from start to finish and try to identify contingency/alternative plans in the case of delays.
Whilst ECPR events are normally held within Europe, it is advisable to familiarise yourself with any significant cultural differences and the current political situation in that country at the time. The UK’s Foreign Office provides travel advice for UK citizens, the bulk of which would also be applicable to other nationalities also; check with your government for similar advice and guidance and any entry/Visa requirements well in advance.
Ensure that you have suitable insurance and make sure the insurer is aware of the reason for travelling. The policy should cover ‘routine’ travel risks, including flight problems, lost luggage, additional transport costs and medical emergencies (personal accident, local medical costs and repatriation). Insurance should also cover major international travel disruption caused by natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and bad weather, as well as civil and political unrest.
Take copies of your passport, insurance and travel documentation and keep a copy both with you and at home, where they can be accessed in the case of an emergency.
The ECPR often makes block bookings or negotiates preferable rates for participants at hotels close to the university and/or venue. It is advisable to take advantage of these bookings not only because of the price, but also because of optimum location, quality assurance and the fact that many other participants will be staying there too.
Before arrival familiarise yourself with the location of the hotel you are staying in, in relation to the university and public building the event will be taking place in. Links to local travel information can be found on the ECPR website.
The ECPR organises a number of plenary events and receptions as part of the event programme. Alcohol may be served at these events, sometimes with small amounts of food. In such social environments it can be easy to lose track of the amount you are drinking and how it is affecting your judgement, so participants should be mindful that they are in a foreign environment and be particularly aware of and responsible for their own safety. If at any time they feel concerned about their well-being, unwell or unable to return safely to their hotel they should inform a member of ECPR staff.
The ECPR cannot be responsible for any social events organised outside of the advertised plenary programme. Whilst networking is a key part of an event, participants should exercise at least the same vigilance with regards their health and safety as they would at home.
Should you need to seek medical help while you are at an ECPR event, advice and guidance can be sought either at your hotel (if out of event hours) or from a member of ECPR or local staff (if during event hours). ECPR staff can normally be found at the registration desk or the exhibition area – a list of staff in attendance with their photographs is printed in the event programme. Local staff are primarily represented by the student assistants in the red t-shirts who are located throughout all buildings in use by the event; all of whom can offer advice and guidance.
All participants are expected to adhere to the ECPR’s Code of Conduct. If you feel that someone has breached that you can make a complaint to either of the Persons of Trust. In extreme cases of misconduct where immediate guidance, advice or action may be required please contact a member of ECPR staff in the first instance. Key event personnel (Workshop Directors, Panel Chairs and Course Instructors and Teaching Assistants) can also provide initial guidance in the first instance if a member of staff cannot immediately be found.