Memorandum from Kirklees Metropolitan
With reference to your letter and enclosures
of 19 June 2003, the following comments on the proposals for a
new legal framework set out in the draft Bill and accompanying
documents are forwarded for attention.
In general the draft Civil Contingencies Bill
is welcomed. There are, however, a number of concerns, which are
summarised as follows:
(a) the omission of health service providers
from Schedule 1 Part 1 and Part 2 responders;
(b) the omission of bus operating companies
and/or transport authorities with bus operating responsibilities
from Category 2 responders;
(c) the failure to deal with the anomalous
situation whereby Metropolitan District Councils, the responding
agency in conjunction with the emergency services, from undertaking
contingency planning for COMAH off-site emergencies, REPPIR and
(d) the failure to provide additional funding
for local authorities despite the further resource implications
which are placed upon them in implementing the proposals;
(e) the exclusion of Central and Regional
Government from the provisions of the Bill;
(f) there is no power of arrest either
implicit in the penalty sections of Clause 21(4)(d) or provided
separately in the Bill.
The detailed responses to the questions posed
are as follows:
Q1. The definitions contained in Parts 1
and 2 appear to be comprehensive, encompassing emergencies which
have recently occurred. The power to extend the definition as
contained in Part 1 Clause 1(7), (8) and (9) does not appear to
have been replicated in Part 2 Clause 17.
Once a definition is agreed it is important
that all agencies involved in the Civil Contingencies process
are seen to be working to the same guidelines hence Dealing with
Disaster fourth Edition should similarly reflect the revised definition.
Q2. In principle the obligations placed
on Category 1 responders to plan for risk assessments, preventing,
reducing, controlling and mitigating the effects of a wider range
of emergencies are in accord with best practice. However, there
is a confusing mix of statutory duties and regulation making powers.
The requirement for local authorities to undertake business continuity
planning in the community has resource implications.
The continuing anomaly whereby all District
Councils, with the exception of Metropolitan Districts, undertaking
contingency planning for off-site COMAH, REPPIR and Pipelines
incidents has been perpetuated, or even deferred to LRFs (Consultation
Document, Chapter 3, Paragraphs 28 and 31) when the Regulatory
powers to rectify the situation will exist under Clause 2 (2)
and (3). The situation should be addressed before the Fire Service
review legislative changes occur when FCDAs may change to Fire
and Rescue Services.
Q3. With the exception of ambulance services,
no provision has been made for any health service agency in either
Schedule 1 Part 1 or Part 2. It is recommended that Primary Care
Trusts (PCTs) should become Category 1 responders and Category
2 should include at least the Health Protection Agency and Hospital
In addition Category 2 responders should include
major bus operating companies and/or transport authorities. Similarly
aircraft operating companies need to be considered for inclusion
in Category 2.
In recognising the lead government role and
the failures during recent national emergencies, it is surprising
that government departments have "responsibilities to plan,
prepare, train and exercise" yet are not to be included in
the Bill. Lead government departments should be identified within
Parts 1 and 2 of Schedule 1.
Similarly, other than the power to appoint Regional
and Emergency Co-ordinators, there is no statutory duty on the
new Regional administrative tier to undertake any of the functions
applied to Category 1 and Category 2 Responders.
Q4. There are extensive regulation making
powers, however, these are permissive powers with no timescale
or indication as to a consultation process prior to implementation.
The detail contained within the regulations will indicate whether
or not the correct balance is to be achieved.
Q5. "Local Resilience Forums"
already exist under a different name in some areas. It should
not be necessary to impose countrywide conditions that may be
inappropriate to particular areas on the basis of one size/shape
fits all. Where existing arrangements co-terminus with police
force boundaries already exist and work well, then they should
Q6. The RIA identifies the Government's
commitment to enhancing the co-ordination of local responder organisation.
The preferred Option 2 obliges Category 1 organisations to carry
out the full spectrum of civil protection activities and goes
into detail about the benefits and costs for businesses and organisations
other than local authorities, yet the consultation document Chapter
3, paragraph 35 indicates that the current level of funding is
sufficient to support the basic responsibilities for local authorities
despite some local authorities having found it to be necessary
to fund the activity above the level of grant (RIA Paragraph 64).
The RIA concentrates on costs for Category 2 responders and is
dismissive of the additional costs particularly to the emergency
services and local authorities.
Q8. The present funding arrangements are
insufficient for local authorities to undertake the additional
duties being proposed under the Bill. In 1992-93 a sum of £22
million was allocated for contingency planning by local authorities.
This figure was successively reduced until 1998 and has only recently
been increased to the present £19 million. None of these
funds are identified for the response to an emergency. The additional
duties on local authorities proposed in the Bill have a resource
implication despite the opportunity to charge external businesses
for promoting business continuity planning in their area.
Q9. It is agreed that existing mechanisms
will ensure consistency of performance. Local authorities are
subject to CPA and Best Value regimes. Cabinet office guidance,
standards and performance indicators provide a foundation for
local performance monitoring. Any additional tier will undoubtedly
divert necessary funding away from the key issues.
Q10. In principle the appointment of a Regional
Nominated Co-ordinator is agreed along with the terms and employment
conditions for co-ordinating a particular emergency. It will be
necessary to have contingency arrangements available to ensure
a rapid and effective appointment is made at any time immediately
following the imposition of emergency powers.
Q11. The declaration of a regional state
of emergency with the special legislative measures is a sensible
approach to dealing with sub UK emergency events.
Q14. Yes. Regional applications can be scaled
up to multi-regional applications for cross boundary events.
Q18.-Q23. Are appropriate for responses
from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and London Authorities.
Director of Environment and Transportation
1 August 2003