Memorandum from Bristol City Council |
CHAPTER 2 RESILIENCE,
The Council supports the principles and overall
thrust of the bill as set out in this chapter. The concept of
resilience and the requirement for risk assessments both independently
and through an integrated approach is right if we are to move
forward in future civil protection duties.
These will however require Local Authority's
to widen their approach and duties expected of a larger number
of staff than is currently involved, particularly when one embraces
the definition of emergency and the expectant duties that fall
from that duty.
Q1. Is the definition of emergency the right
In principle we agree but raise the following
points: (3)(a)(ii) fuel oils
This should include any oils, which
may cause pollution or have an environmental impact.
Other substances or derivatives,
which, by virtue of their size or presence in quantity could cause
"water" should include
all water; both riverine, estuarial and sea.
CHAPTER 3 ROLES
As with Chapter 1 we agree with the generic
principles and thrust of the proposed bill.
We accept the need that outdated legislation
needs replacing. In addition we acknowledge the need to identify
clear roles for all responder organisations. However, this is
a new duty on the majority of those identified as Category 2 responders,
which will have costs attached and which we do not believe is
adequately addressed in the Regulatory Impact Assessments.
We agree that the obligations imposed on Category
1 and Category 2 responders offer the potential for more operationally
effective and financially efficient planning. Ultimately, it depends
on the nature of the relationships between the responder organisations
as will be set up through the Local Resilience Forums.
Turning to one specific aspect of this section,
we note that Category 1 responders will be required to "prevent"
emergencies. It is difficult to see, at this time, how a Unitary
Authority, usually acting in support of the emergency services
can routinely "prevent" emergencies. The Bill Team has
assured us that the responsibility to "prevent" rests
where there is currently a function and there is no function on
Emergency Planning Services of local authorities, although other
departments, such as Highways, may have such a role. On the basis
of this assurance, and provided that the Bill clarifies the situation,
we foresee no significant adverse impact of the proposal. We also
note that a new duty to promote business continuity will rest
on local authorities; we agree with this recommendation, recognising
that this is an essential part of resilience capability. Once
again, this new function will require additional central Government
funding which we are not yet in a position to assess.
Q3. Membership of categories 1 and 2?
It is clear from our perspective that there
are agencies that should be considered at Category 1 responders:
Elements of the NHS need to be included here
and we suggest that acute and primary care trusts and the Health
Protection Agency. This may include the NRPB, although we note
that they may become part of the HPA in due course.
Port Police Companies (we have one in our area).
Highways Agency, given the future role in supporting
The below should be included here:
National Blood Transfusion Service.
Major pipeline operators.
It is noted in the draft bill that "Transport"
is covered and there are three specific definitions but ferry
operators are not mentioned, unless the "harbour authority"
covers this area. If so it is not clear. Is there a need to include
bus and coach companies, given the capabilities programme and
There is no inclusion of the roles and responsibilities
of national government in the draft bill. Whilst we understand
that it is perhaps unusual in English Law for statutory responsibilities
to be placed on central government departments, we believe that
history has shown that the lead government department concept
has not worked in practice and that civil protection is too important
an area of public life for statutory responsibilities not to be
imposed on any of the agencies which have key roles in contributing
to creating a robust culture of resilience in the United Kingdom.
Q4. Do you agree the bill gives Government
the right balance of regulation making powers to meet its aims
of consistency and flexibility? If not explain how they should
be expanded or constrained.
Whilst we agree that the balance is correct,
safeguards need to be incorporated to ensure there is adequate
consultation during drafting of any Regulations that will be applied
to this bill.
Q5. Do you agree that consistent arrangements
for multi-agency working should be established, through the creation
of Local Resilience Forums? If not, how else should consistency
We have established multi-agency working in
this locality and the proposal will further strengthen that relationship.
Q6. Do you agree that the regulatory Impact
Assessment accurately reflects the costs and benefits of the bill
proposals? If not, how should it be changed?
We accept that they are the best assessments,
which can currently be developed by the Bill team, but we are
not convinced that they accurately reflect the true costs that
will be required to undertake the full range of duties within
We know that there will be additional costs
involved through a greater emphasis on multi-agency planning and
exercising, as well as in the area of business continuity, but
we cannot accurately quantify this at this time. A full resource
requirement assessment must be undertaken, taking into account
the higher commitment required to take civil protection far beyond
what is currently expected.
Q7. Do you agree that funding for Category
1 local authorities should be transferred from specific grant
(Civil Defence Grant) to Revenue Support Grant? If not, why should
specific grant be retained?
We supported the proposal to transfer funding
to the Revenue Support Grant. However, there remains a danger
that unless an accurate financial baseline has been identified
by local authorities, then the level could be eroded over time.
Funding for civil contingencies must be ring-fenced in some way
and Emergency Planning must remain and be promoted as one cornerstone
of good local government.
We are not convinced that the current level
of funding, through the existing direct grant, supplemented by
additional funding from local authorities, will be sufficient
for the future. We know that there will be an increased duties
to exercise under multi-agency and regional aspects of the Bill
as well as within our own authority, and this will have a significant
impact. We will continue to keep resource provision firmly in
view and will undertake to try to identify where current funding
Q8. Do you agree that the level of funding
to support the bill is sufficient? If not, explain why you believe
it is too high or low?
The current level of funding of £19 million
is not sufficient to support the proposed activity imposed upon
local authorities by the Civil Contingencies Bill. The government
has long insisted that the Civil Defence Grant is only a contribution
to local emergency planning, and that local authorities are expected
to supplement the grant in order to fulfil their emergency planning
duties. Consequently local authorities have had to use money that
would otherwise have been spent on Education or other local services
in order to ensure emergency planning is adequately resourced.
In truth, therefore, the actual cost of current arrangements greatly
exceeds the current level of central government funding. This
has been clearly identified within the recent LGA survey, conducted
by an independent agency, of top-tier emergency planning authorities.
There is a clear expansion of duties being imposed
on local authorities, which, if they are to be achieved to a set
standard and expectation will require a resource input.
The additional administrative requirements to
establish groups, time spent in preparation of agendas, minutes,
records to satisfy audit inspections.
In addition to fulfil the Governments Capability
programme, from a local authority perspective will require additional
resources. Current plans fail to deal with large numbers of the
public produced by the mass decontamination process is an example.
To put this into perspective, the costs of setting up the mass
decontamination system exceeded £50 million, yet local authorities
were not consulted about the impact n their resources in supporting
and managing the consequences of the system, or what funding is
required to plan and prepare for this scenario. This would entail
the provision of clothing, money and then accommodation for many
thousands. Just the planning to obtain this and the arrangements
to establish the ability for the provision of such items requires
extra work. No thought has been given to what equipment Local
Authorities have or may need to invest in to be able to support
the demands made on them by mass evacuations/fatalities.
The recent Home Office Guidance for Local Authorities
on CBRN outlines extra issues to be considered, planned and arrangements
in hand to execute. All of which are "new" duties or
requirements to what is already being achieved.
Q9. Do you agree that the performance should
be audited through existing mechanisms? If not, what mechanism
would you like to see established?
In terms of local authorities we would expect
the Audit Commission to audit the service under the Comprehensive
Performance Assessment process. We are, however, concerned that
if auditing takes place under the existing Comprehensive Performance
Assessment that the weighting for, what would be modest expenditure
by local authority standards, would mean that there would be only
a little incentive to improve emergency planning performance.
We would therefore expect that the weighting attached to civil
protection should also take into account the absolutely huge costs
to local authorities of responding to emergencies and the potentially
huge costs that will occur if local authorities are not adequately
There is also concern that existing audit processes
may not address the qualitative issues that need to be addressed
in emergency planning. There needs to be an audit regime that
is able to measure capacity and competence that is not readily
quantified. We would therefore expect to see personnel performing
audits on behalf of the existing bodies to include appropriately
qualified or experienced staff.
In addition the bill focuses on "multi-agency
working" and this must form part of the auditing process,
requiring an integrated approach by the inspecting regimes.
CHAPTER 4 A NEW
Q10. Do you agree with the role of Regional
Nominated Co-ordinator? If not, who should take responsibility
at the regional level, and with what responsibilities?
Yes. In principal, the appointment of a RNC
during a regional crisis would be expected given the emerging
regional structure. It will, firstly, ensure that the communications
link between central government and local multi-agency commands
is greatly improved, a single reporting centre will reduce demands
at a time of a crisis, and, secondly, provide the embracing leadership
necessary for regional emergencies.
However, while we understand the Government's
wish to mirror central arrangements for crisis management, ie
different lead Government Departments for different types of emergency,
we support the Select Defence Committee's concerns that the RNC
will be selected with a greater emphasis upon specialist knowledge
rather than leadership skills and crisis management experience.
We agree that specialist knowledge is required, but it should
be in an advisory role to the RNC.
The lessons learned from FMD and the fuel crisis
demand that any individual appointed has real authority, and is
a respected and credible lead individual.
We note that the consultation document refers
in paragraph 18 to suggest that the RNC "could include the
direction of resources to pursue national and regional priorities".
If this is to be the case, it must be met by appropriate funding.
How will this relate to the Bellwin rules and any subsequent claims?
If the RNC declares certain action should be taken that is beyond
the local resource level, even given partnership working, is there
an implied guarantee that Bellwinor something elsewill
Q11. Do you agree with the principle of applying
special legislative measures on a regional basis? Please explain
We agree with the principle of applying special
legislative measures on a regional basis. It may be desirable
to consider applying special legislative measure on an area smaller
than a region. Particularly, in the event of an outbreak of a
disease (whether animal or human), a whole region may not be affected,
but special measures may be required. The Bill should allow this
flexibility provided the appropriate checks and balances are built
into these measures.
CHAPTER 5 STRONG
Q12. Do you agree that the current emergency
powers framework is outdated and needs replaced? If you do not
think it should be replaced, please explain why.
Q13. Do you agree that the circumstances
in which special legislative measures may be taken should be widened
from limited threats to public welfare to include threats to the
environment, to the political, administrative and economic stability
if the UK and threats to security resulting from war and terrorism?
If not, how would you like to see the circumstances narrowed or
Q14. Do you agree that the use of special
legislative measures should be possible on a sub-UK basis? If
not, please explain.
Q15. Do you agree that the authority to declare
the special legislative measures are necessary should remain with
the Queen as Head of State, acting on the advice of Ministers?
If not, who should it sit with?
Q16. Do you agree that in the event the process
of making a Royal Proclamation would cause a delay which might
result in significant damage or harm, a Secretary of State should
be able to make the declaration in the place of The Queen as Head
of State, action on the advice of Ministers? If not, is delay
acceptable or is there another alternative mechanism?
No, this would entail constitutional change
and we do now perceive this is necessary within this bill.
Q17. Do you agree that emergency regulations
should be related as primary legislation for the purposes of the
Human Rights Act? If not, please explain why.
No. We do not believe that there should be provision
to treat specialist legislative measures as primary legislation
for the purposes of the Human Rights Act.
We have not commented on Chapter 6 as we feel
this is a matter for those devolved administrations.
Although we acknowledge that London is unique
in being the capital, we would point out that Bristol is a Regional
capital, which, together with the many organisations who have
now re-located their Headquarters here, also means that we have
a "resilience requirement", not dissimilar to London.
Consequently there are some similarities. We are in the process
of building local "business forums" across the City
Centre to enable a wide range of stakeholders to be involved in
the process of resilience and business continuity. In addition
we are also developing and hope to launch this autumn a "warning
and informing" capability across our City Centre businesses