Sarah Halfpenny Events

Case Study: CIRED for The IET

A 5-day, 1,500 attendee conference

It all starts with a brief

CIRED is the leading forum for the international electricity distribution community. The conference and exhibition together enables members of the community to come and hear from leading experts, update their knowledge, contribute and network with peers, specialists and practitioners.

This 5-day event comprises of a large exhibition, tutorials, lectures, round table discussions, poster tours, technical visits and a gala dinner.

I was bought in by the client 6 months before its delivery to take the operational lead of this complex event. Working alongside all key stakeholders, my role was to ensure that the delivery of every aspect of the conference and exhibition were delivered on time, within budget and to a high standard


Key objectives

The client wanted to deliver an event that provided the perfect environment for delegates to learn, contribute and patriciate and for exhibitors to network, update and do business. They also wanted to provide a variety of opportunities for people to connect and collaborate through meetings, tours, demonstrations and social activities.

The key objectives set out in the event brief that needed to be met were:


  • Attract 1,500 attendees from around the world
  • Deliver seamless academic programme of tutorials, lectures and discussions
  • Provide a first-class delegate experience from the point of registration
  • Make a profit!

Services that we provided

As part of this project, we engaged in the following work streams

Project Management

Supplier Management

Budget Management

On-Site Delivery


"Congratulations on coordinating CIRED 2017, you delivered a week-long truly world-class event at the SECC in Glasgow."
Tim Hamer - Director or Knowledge, The IET

The Planning

With such a large event, I had the support of the in-house event team to help plan and manage CIRED 2017. Once I had completed an event “health check”, I built an extensive project plan and event schedule which enabled me to outline key task, allocate them across the team, ensure workload was managed, deadlines met and individual skills and expertise applied where needed.

With so many work streams and stakeholders involved, keeping clear lines of communication open between all those involved was crucial. From planning the exhibition build, delegate registration system, room sets ups, AV, catering and security provisions, all elements had to be discussed, agreed and implemented.


The Big Build

The event preparation took place over the weekend with high vis jackets and walkie talkies in hand! The team saw over 100 exhibition stands delivered, built and dressed. Carpet laid, drapes hung, stages built, furniture in place, delegate registration area and bag collection point constructed.

On the Sunday evening, event staff arrived onsite for their briefing. This included a tour of the venue so they knew where every element of the event was taking place. The programme for each day was also presented and discussed to ensure the vital information was shared and understood. The final session was focused on the operation of the registration system to guarantee all delegates and participants where registered correctly.

With registration up and running, bag collection fully stocked, lanyards out and directional signage up, we were ready to meet and greet delegates on Monday morning.


"I have heard first hand excellent feedback from attendees and members about the high quality and value of the event for networking, knowledge sharing and updating."
Tim Hamer - Director or Knowledge, The IET

The Delivery

180 delegates took to the seminar rooms for the Tutorial sessions. In the afternoon, 600 guests then took their seats in the Auditorium for the Opening Forum signifying the official opening of the 24th CIRED. Guests then followed the Scottish pipers into the Exhibition hall which treated delegates and exhibitors to some traditional Scottish hospitality with themed canapes and whisky tasting all to the sounds of a ceilidh band.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday saw the bulk of the conference activity from main sessions, round table discussions and poster tours taking place throughout the day.

Wednesday evening was the highlight of the social calendar with the Gala Dinner at the Doubletree Hilton Glasgow Central. 572 guests enjoyed a drinks reception, 4 course meal including haggis, secret opera singers and traditional highland dancing.

Fridays programme was dedicated to off-site technical visits and tours including the UK’s largest onshore windfarm.


The Outcome

CIRED 2017 was on the scale of no other event. Every day provided delegates and exhibitors with an opportunity to learn, update their knowledge, connect with industry experts and network with peers. From tutorials, lectures, discussions, to the technical tours, demos and social functions, every aspect of the event had to be meticulously planned, scheduled and carefully delivered.

The statistics below say it all, it was big and the feedback was great!

  • A total of 1,914 attendees
  • 1,175 conference delegates from over 60 countries
  • 739 exhibitors
  • Excellent feedback from delegates, speakers and exhibitors
  • Made a profit…..YES!

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