The new Protect Duty Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, following the Government consultation on whether there should be a new duty on those responsible for publicly accessible places to protect the public from risks such as terror attacks.
The need for a duty might sound obvious for those who attend public spaces, especially in light of events like the London Bridge attack and the Manchester Arena bombing, but such a duty does not currently exist directly in statute.
What counts as a publicly accessible place?
- The list is likely to be enormous - sports stadiums, music venues, pubs, nightclubs, shopping centres, schools, universities, hospitals, places of worship, transport hubs, open air venues, sports facilities, restaurants and cafes to name but a few.
- There is also talk of employers with more than 250 employees being required to look at their own venues – this means that a retail chain with only 2 or 3 employees in each venue might be required to uphold the Public Duty whereas an independent shop next door might not.
Who will the Protect Duty apply to?
- The duty is expected to apply to venues with a capacity of 100 or more and will apply to venues, businesses, organisations, local authorities, charities and individuals. It is likely that there will be proportionality requirements to reflect the size and resources of the organiser or venue, but we don’t know how those will translate until the draft Bill is published.
We will provide more information when the draft Bill is published but it is likely to generate some movement and noise in the insurance industry because liability and claims generally come hard on the heels of new responsibilities.