The government is currently consulting on potential new legislation, the Protect Duty, which is about making publicly accessible buildings, and those who operate them, legally bound to assess and mitigate potential risks from terrorism.
The intention is to make the public realm safer and to prevent tragedies like the Manchester Arena attack. It is therefore intended to help the public feel safer when they attend events or activity in publicly accessible buildings and spaces.
But the current proposals could have a significant and unintended impact on community venues and the groups which operate in them:
- a capacity of 100+ is suggested as a criterion for falling under the legislation; this would cover churches, community halls, etc.
- venues may pass on requirements to hirers, especially if not staffed (e.g. church) or local authority owned (e.g. bandstands, halls)
- the supposedly low effort and cost requirements could place an unacceptable administrative and financial burden on groups and venues which may have no professional staff and already be struggling with resources, both in time and money
- no account is taken of flexible venues i.e. a community hall may have a capacity of 150, but be used only for smaller events
- community venues and community activity are not mentioned in the proposals. Given how significant both are for their local area, it would seem crucial that they are given consideration with a full impact assessment.
Making Music will be making a submission to this consultation, but if you run a music group you may want to respond directly to the government yourself on behalf of your music group.
Read our introduction and consultation notes to help you with your response (deadline Friday 2 July).