Risk assessment - Members' parties along the visitor route

This assessment applies to Members' sponsored tours along the Visitor Route.

  1. Persons potentially at risk. Visitors unfamiliar with the layout of the Route.

  2. General. The general assessment of risk on tours is low.

  3. Route. The Visitor Route ("Line of Route") through the Palace of Westminster is a clearly defined series of rooms and corridors of varying sizes, similar to those in a stately home. As working areas of Parliament they are all large enough to hold at least several dozen people comfortably.

  4. Accessibility. The route does include some stairs at its beginning and end. Nearby lifts are available for mobility impaired visitors, who are escorted when using these. Wheelchairs are available on request. There are no specific hazards for those with visual impairment.

  5. Tours. Each tour group is limited to a maximum of 20 persons and is led by a guide, who ensures that the group stays together at all times. Guides are familiar with the layout of the building and emergency procedures and are responsible for the care of their groups in any emergency. Tours last approximately 75-90 minutes.

  6. Ingress/egress. The route is punctuated by lobbies and other intersections, affording multiple easily accessible egress points (eg in emergency).

  7. Security. When in use the route is always covered by security staff at multiple locations. On entering the building all visitors pass through airport style security equipment. The overall security state is monitored constantly.

  8. Fire. Fire standards have been agreed with the relevant authorities. Extinguishers and other fire fighting systems are positioned throughout the palace. Dedicated fire officers patrol regularly.

  9. Rest and refreshment. There is little opportunity to sit and rest along the route. Refreshments and toilets are available at the start and end of the route.

  10. Accidents/First Aid. First aid and/or ambulances may be summoned by staff via the permanently staffed Security Control Room. A practice nurse is on site and the palace is equipped with defibrillators.

  11. General hazards. Those associated with everyday slips and trips etc (eg stairs). Risk of injury low; nature of injury likely minor.

  12. Specific hazards. Few. There is a busy road directly outside but groups can muster safely within the base of the Victoria Tower, which is gated from the road. There is no handrail on the Sovereign's Staircase at the start of the tour but alternative lift provision is available.

Accessibility information

To help plan your visit we have produced a video ‘How to access the Houses of Parliament’.

Security information

Big Ben

To ensure that Parliament remains a safe and accessible place for those who work within and visit Parliament, we have implemented a number of security measures.