Protect Duty: How prepared are UK councils?

With the security industry preparing for the pending ‘Protect Duty’ now formally known as the ‘Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill’ to come into action and a 140% increase in interest online for ‘Protect Duty 2022’1, we reveal just how prepared UK councils are for new measures to be implemented. 

Our new study2 delves into UK councils’ current and assigned spending for the upcoming ‘Protect Duty’ legislation. 

Why is the Protect Duty being brought into effect?

The planned government legislation under the name of ‘Protect Duty’, is aimed at increasing the protection of the UK’s publicly accessible locations against terrorist attacks and ensuring they are equipped to deal with all possible incidents. This new legislation will require additional security measures and perimeter protection for public venues, organisations, and public spaces. Find out more here

The new report’s findings are based on the insight we obtained through Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) sent to 426 UK councils. Of those contacted, 125 councils failed to respond, and 29 refused to provide the information. 

Which councils have started to prepare for Protect Duty?

According to our insight, only seven UK councils have spent or assigned budget to implement measures ahead of the ‘Protect Duty’ coming into action. These councils are: 

  1. Southend-on-Sea Council – £2,271,145.13

  2. Bath & North East Somerset Council – £782,000

  3. Salford City Council – £94,618

  4. Coventry City Council – £20,000

  5. London Borough of Greenwich – £1,094

  6. Darlington Borough Council – £1,000*

  7. Orkney Islands Council – £1,000^

The total value for all seven councils that have currently spent/assigned budget to the legislation is £3,170,857. Heald can reveal that Southend-on-Sea council is the most prepared for the upcoming legislation having assigned a budget of £2,271,145.13 to implement measures. 

Interestingly, 237 UK councils confirmed they have zero budget currently allocated to the upcoming legislation and will not assign a budget until the new law is confirmed by the government and clearer guidelines are shared. 

Commenting on the findings, Heald Managing Director and Co-Owner Debbie Heald MBE adds: “The new ‘Protect Duty’ legislation has been in the pipeline for quite some time now and has been discussed in parliament on numerous occasions. It’s surprising to see how few councils have started to assign and spend budgets on the pending measures.

“Our initial information is that commercial entities are preparing ahead of the legislation; it is, however, concerning that so few councils are planning to implement these measures unless it becomes law. It is undoubtedly a public duty to protect our citizens.

“Protect Duty will have a significant impact on councils and the work that needs to be done in many towns and cities, so planning ahead and looking at what measures can and should be implemented to keep individuals safe is essential.

“We would really encourage all those responsible to begin looking into what the pending law means for them and what they could begin to do now to prevent delays in getting these measures in place in the future.” 

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  1. Google trends insight for the term ‘Protect Duty 2022’ correct as of 16th August 2022. Based on searches over the past 12 months. 

  2. Data gathered from Freedom of Information requests submitted by Heald LTD to 426 UK councils in April 2022 

      * Estimated cost provided by the council 

       ^ Council stated “This has not been recorded, but is not thought to be in excess of £1000”.


Published: 31st August 2022

Updated: 30th November 2023

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