Memorandum from Dudley Metropolitan Borough
Q1. Is the definition of emergency the right
one? If not, in what ways should it be tightened or expanded to
exclude certain classes of event or situation?
Needs to state "either natural or manmade".
Q2. Do you agree that the obligations imposed
on both Category 1 and 2 responders by or under the new framework
will ensure operationally effective and financially efficient
planning and response to emergencies at the local level? If not,
how should these obligations be increased or reduced?
The obligations placed upon Category 1 agencies,
whilst vague, are sufficient. However, the intention of planning
is not only a paper exercise. There is also a need to ensure that
the facilities and staffing are available to deal with a disaster,
and funding should take account of this.
Catwgory 2 agencies have a duty to share information
and for business continuity. There does not, therefore, place
any obligation on them with regards to partnership working or
attendance at exercises and meetings. The LRFs and RRFs could
therefore lack the necessary expertise of these agencies. Further,
the Bill does not place any duty on Category 2 agencies to assist
Category 1 agencies during an emergency.
Q3. Do you agree that the membership of the
Categories 1 and 2 is right? If not, which organisations should
be added, moved or removed?
Membership of Category 1 should also include:
Central Government; Scottish Assembly; Welsh
Assembly; Northern Ireland Assembly; Regions of England including
London; PCTs; HPAs; and Health Acute Trusts.
The inclusion of these is imperative in order
that the lead body in any disaster is aware of its legal responsibility
and the Bill should not allow for the opt out of responsibility
for any tier of government who may be taking the lead.
Membership of Category 2 should also include
the Highways Agency and consideration should be given to including
a commerce/business representative.
Q4. Do you agree that the Bill gives the
Government the right balance of regulation making powers to meet
its aims of consistency and flexibility? If not, please explain
how the powers should be expanded or constrained.
Agreed. It allows flexibility, recognises different
practises across the country and encourages initiatives.
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
Yes, and should include Category 1 and 2 agencies,
perhaps along the lines of the already established Local Strategic
Without sight of the regulations it is difficult
to comment, but the creation of multi-agency LRFs will not necessarily
mean consistency unless a definitive list of attendees and duties
is specified in the Bill.
Q6. Do you agree that the partial Regulatory
Impact Assessment accurately reflects the costs and benefits of
the Bill proposals? If not, how should it be changed?
The assessment does not reflect all costs which
would potentially be incurred by agencies and businesses listed
in Category 2. The costs would be totally dependent on the size
of the organisation and geographical area covered. Seven Trent
Water, as an example, covers seven metropolitan boroughs/cities
and seven counties (and part of an eighth). The costs to this
agency would significantly increase if they were to exercise with
all the Category 1 local authorities and emergency services on
their patch. There will also be more than one RRF/LRF for them
The partial Regulatory Impact Assessment should
therefore be reassessed.
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?
Funding for the Category 1 local authorities
should remain in the form of a grant, unless ring-fenced within
the RSG, to ensure that the finance could not be curtailed in
order to fund more pressing matters.
The grant currently enables Emergency Planning
Officers a certain amount of versatility without the restraints
of local government or political interferenceparticularly
in the areas of training volunteers or assisting voluntary organisations.
Q8. Do you agree that the level of funding
to support the Bill is sufficient? If not, please explain why
you believe it to be too high or too low.
The response to Question 6 outlines the burden
to private industry.
The level of funding to local authorities is
insufficient. The funding is sufficient to plan for emergencies
and to train and exercise, however in order to ensure the actions
of local authorities at the time of an emergency, as outlined
in section 2c of the Bill, additional finance needs to be forthcoming
in order to formulate agreements with agencies, adapt buildings
in readiness (such as temporary mortuaries), control centres,
dedicated 'phone lines etc.
Presently the staffing at rest centres, reception
centres etc, as well as the response in an incident, is often
on a volunteer basis, and these volunteers are in short supply.
Certain local authorities have to pay retainers or enter into
agreements with other agencies, which require funding.
The inclusion of promoting business continuity
within the Bill is applauded. In order to encourage local businesses
to pursue business continuity, any activity needs to be free to
those participating and of such quality that will require significant
levels of funding. The inclusion of risk assessment will also
incur considerable costs.
In order to ensure preparedness in all ways
for disaster, enhanced financial support is essential.
Q9. Do you agree that the performance should
be audited through existing mechanisms? If not, what mechanism
would you like to see established?
A NEW REGIONAL
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?
The Regional Tier has no obligations under this
Bill ie they are not a Category 1 or 2 responder therefore should
any obligation be placed upon them as Regional Nominated Co-ordinators
at all? Maybe this should be from an independent source. If disasters
are less, in a geographical sense, than Regional who will take
the lead, a Regional Co-ordinator, Category 1 Local Authority
or Chief Constable? Chapter 5 of the Consultation Document, paragraph
19, bullet point three takes up this matter and suggests that
the "triple lock" legislative measures should be declared
on the minimum geographical area. Within the legislation however
it would appear that the smallest geographical area is Regional.
The Bill does not in its context state that
the Regional Co-ordinator will be one of many persons in the same
vein as Lead Government Departmentsthis is a major omission
from the Bill.
Should leadership ability be on the knowledge
of the subject or capability to lead? Regional Nominated Co-ordinators/Emergency
Co-ordinators are not appointed until Special Legislative Measures
have been decided upon, this being at Level 3, however the Co-ordinator
is expected to chair Level 2 meeting.
This area of the legislation needs clarification.
Q11. Do you agree with the principle of applying
special legislative measures on a regional basis? Please explain
In order to have Special Legislative arrangements
applied on a Regional Basis, the Region surely should be listed
as a Category 1 responder.
Again, if the disaster were in a smaller geographical
area, on whom would these arrangements be bestowed? This should
be outlined with the Bill.
It would appear if the event were not national
then it can become Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or Regional
but will stop at that level. In order to avoid confusion this
needs to be decided. RRFs also have no membership list in this
legislation, there is therefore no obligation on Category 2 agencies
to attend and no indication as to the managerial level of any
Q12. Do you agree that the current emergency
powers framework is outdated and needs to be 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
of the UK and to threats to its security resulting from war or
terrorism? If not, how would you like to see the circumstances
narrowed or extended?
Q14. Do you agree that the use of special
legislative measures should be possible on a sub-UK basis? If
not, please explain.
Sub-UK yes, but Regions need including in the
Bill. The possibility of smaller than Regional should also be
considered. This should not, however, allow the Government to
abdicate overall responsibility.
Q15. Do you agree that authority to declare
that 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 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, acting on the advice of Ministers? If not, is delay
acceptable or is there another alternative mechanism?
Yes, with the provision that Royal Proclamation
is given as soon as practicable. Also the "triple lock"
mechanism should be written into the Bill.
Q17. Do you agree that emergency regulations
should be treated as primary legislation for the purposes of the
Human Rights Act? If not, please explain why.
Yes, there should be as few methods of redress
to the declaration of an emergency as possible.
Q18. Do you agree that the arrangements proposed
for Scotland strike the right balance between reflecting the devolution
settlement and enduring consistency across the UK? If not, what
changes are necessary?
Q19. Do you agree that the arrangements proposed
for Wales strike the right balance between reflecting the devolution
settlement and ensuring consistency across the UK? If not, what
changes are necessary?
Q20. Do you agree that the arrangements proposed
for Northern Ireland strike the right balance between reflecting
the devolution settlement and ensuring consistency across the
UK? If not, what changes are necessary?
Q21. Do you agree that the role and accountability
of the Emergency Co-ordinator in a devolved country should be
flexible to reflect different types of emergency? If not, what
alternative role should the Emergency Co-ordinator have?
The Bill does not state who or what reference
the Regional or Emergency Co-ordinator has, the fact that there
will be a choice of Regional Co-ordinator, dependent on the type
of emergency, should be included in the Bill. It could also be
argued that knowledge of a subject, from a lead agency point of
view, does not also mean leadership qualities.
Q22. Do you agree that the devolved administrations
should be able to declare that special legislative measures are
necessary, and take action accordingly? If not, please explain
No. The ability to declare should remain with
the Queen and in her absence the Secretary of State for the UK,
Her Majesty's Minister, who would utilise the "triple lock"
system. This would ensure continuity of decision for all areas/regions
of the UK.
Also the emergency regulations would need the
approval of both houses of Parliament within seven days. If both
houses have to consent then the ability to declare these powers
should remain at central government.
Q23. Do you agree that London should have
different arrangements for co-operation, and that the proposals
set out are the right way to deliver this? If not, what arrangements
should be put in place?
Again the different arrangements for London
are not mentioned in the Bill itself but in the consultation document,
we would agree that London should be treated as a region in its
own right and should have arrangements in force to combat threats
to address its unique place within the country.
With the emergence of the Civil Contingencies
Reaction Force the armed forces should certainly be asked to attend
the RRFs, and potentially the LRFs.
27 August 2003