Short Life Working Group on Facilitating Peaceful Assemblies: report

The Short Life Working Group on Peaceful Processions in Scotland has reviewed processions in Scotland. The report uses the comparison between Northern Ireland and Scotland as a basis to discuss how well the legislative framework and related processes are working in Scotland.

11. Strategic development, best practice and long-term institutional knowledge

11.1 One of the possible advantages of a better resourced process is that it can develop strategic approaches to problems that might be sustained over periods of time, particularly utilising outside resources for engagement, mediation and relationship building. In addition, it might allow for longer-term development of institutional knowledge and a sustained basis on which to develop best practice.

11.2 We were also struck that Council Officers across the Local Authorities in Scotland dealing with processions seemed not to have many opportunities to share and learn experiences and we suggest that a process of information sharing and good practice is developed. This may be something that COSLA could develop in the future.

11.3 We were unable to obtain statistics from across Scotland that would allow us to examine the number of parades upon which conditions had been imposed, the numbers of parades that had been restricted or those that had been processed without going to a Local Authority committee and those that did go to Committee. We think that it would be a useful process to collect such information to provide a record of change over time. This might also be managed by COSLA.

11.4 In terms of statistical data that ought to be gathered and collated, this should include at a minimum:

  • the annual number of processions notified in a Local Authority area;
  • the number of notified processions that the Local Authority regard as sensitive (because of their potential impact on other rights and freedoms);
  • the number of times a Processions committee is convened;
  • the number of decisions to impose conditions on processions and related protest meetings;
  • the nature of conditions imposed – such as restrictions on route, timing, number of participants, exclusion of specific participants, music, banners and flags etc.
  • the number of processions and protest meetings subject to a prohibition order.



Back to top