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Report of the Action Group on Processions

The Action Group on Processions has made six recommendations to improve facilitation of processions for the Scottish Government, CoSLA and Police Scotland to consider.


The Action Group on Processions has set out six recommendations that it believes should be taken forward as a result of their work. These are presented to the Scottish Government, CoSLA and Police Scotland for consideration. If these recommendations are accepted, Action Group members would be happy to continue to work with all partners to develop and deliver these actions. The actions are:

  • Working in partnership with local authorities, a minimum standard for the provision of information on the notification process for public processions should be developed, to ensure that consistent information is included on all local authority websites. We recommend that this is modelled with one or more identified local authorities to provide a best practice example as a template for all local authorities.
  • Statutory agencies, including Police Scotland, Scottish Government and local authorities, should work together to make sure publicly presented information on processions is clear and compliant with human rights.
  • New training/briefing packages for local authority officials and elected members should be developed - or existing ones enhanced - to help inform and share good practice on the responsibility for, and the process of, facilitating peaceful public processions in Scotland and how the protection of human rights is central to this.
  • As part of the review and development of local authority websites, consideration should be given to making sure the need for transparency and confidentiality are addressed at all stages of the notification process.
  • Following assessment of the pilot, if successful, the Scottish Government should provide resource to extend a training programme for procession organisations to access and train stewards and marshals.
  • Consideration should be given to learning and sharing best practice across Scotland annually through a ‘light touch’ review mechanism.

Additionally, the Action Group felt that:

  • The notification process should make clear that processions do not require to be licensed and that in almost all circumstances those seeking to march will have their procession facilitated, even if some restrictions or conditions need to be placed on it.
  • The notification process is about enabling the local authority to better support a fundamental human right by facilitating the notified procession and taking steps to protect public order and public safety, as well as ensuring the human rights of those not participating in the procession are balanced with those of procession participants.
  • Any form of restriction on the human right to process must always be prescribed by law, necessary (that is, required to enable the authorities to meet their positive obligations to protect human rights) and proportionate (that is, it imposes the least possible restrictions to address any issues of concern).
  • The procedure for providing advance notification should not be onerous or overly bureaucratic. In particular, the information that is required should be kept to the minimum that is relevant to the aims of the notification process.
  • All public procession organisers should provide their own stewards, but it needs to be clear that there is no legal requirement to do this.
  • The provision of a risk assessment should not be a condition for a public procession, although this should be encouraged as good practice.
  • Late notifications of intent to hold a public procession should always be given due consideration.

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