Memorandum from the Royal Borough of Kensington
In the main, as the Emergency Planning Officer
for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, I welcome the
proposals contained in the draft Bill. I await the detail that
is to follow in the drafting of regulations and guidance before
resting totally content.
I have concerns, as highlighted in the answers
to the questions posed, as to the arrangements within London and
the financial implications but feel sure that the consultation
over the drafting of the regulations will allow an opportunity
to explore these concerns.
I have responded to the questions as shown below.
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?
The definition, as it stands, does not include
an element of scale and could therefore apply to a relatively
minor road traffic accident or small fire. In the document issued
by the Cabinet Office "Dealing with Disaster" the definition
of a major emergency includes the following ". . . on such
a scale that the effects cannot be dealt with by the emergency
services, local authorities and other organisations as part of
their normal day to day activities". The inclusion of this
phrase would make the definition more relevant to Civil Protection.
Q2. Do you agree that the obligations imposed
on 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 explanation given in the consultation document
should provide for a suitable framework. Much will depend on the
regulations and guidance issued under the Bill when enacted.
Q3. Do you agree that the membership of Categories
1 and 2 is right? If not, which organisations should be added,
moved or removed?
It is believed that Category 1 should include
the Primary Care Trusts and that Category 2 should include bus
and coach operators.
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.
It will be easier to answer this question when
the details of the regulations and guidance are known. There will
be the possibility of amending regulations and guidance, which
will allow the required flexibility.
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
It is assumed that in London the Local Resilience
Forum will be at borough level and the London Resilience Forum
dealing with the regional. If this is the case the burden placed
on the small number of utility companies to meet at 33 Local Resilience
Forums would prove to be onerous. It would be more effective if
they were to meet with a smaller number of boroughs such as those
in the existing Mutual Aid Groups.
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?
It is agreed that it is not possible to be specific
at this stage about the potential regulatory impact. Much will
depend on the regulations and guidance drafted under the proposed
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?
Those consulted prior to the drafting of the
legislation expressed reservations as to the moving of funding
to the Revenue Support Grant. Those views are supported.
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.
Funding is sufficient to support current civil
protection activity. However, this may change if further activity
is required when the regulations and guidance are published.
Q9. Do you agree that performance should
be audited through existing mechanisms? If not, what mechanism
would you like to see established?
It is agreed that auditing locally and by the
NAO should continue.
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?
It is agreed there is a need for a person to
be identified in the planning stages of civil protection to act
as a focal point for both planning and operational response.
Q11. Do you agree with the principle of applying
special legislative measures on a regional basis? Please explain
This is agreed, many incidents in recent years,
such as flooding, have been of a wide local nature and would require
emergency powers to be limited to that area and not the whole
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 threats to its security resulting from war or 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 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 of 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, acting on the advice of Ministers? If not, is
delay acceptable or is there another alternative mechanism?
Yes agree. A delay is not acceptable, it is
essential that in the event of Emergency Powers being needed there
are no delays.
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.
QQ18 to 22. Ask questions which relate to
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland only.
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?
The make up of local government in London demands
that the local authority arrangements be different. The London
Resilience Forum is an established body and seems to function
efficiently. The question of local resilience forums needs more
clarification. As stated in the answer to Q5 the burden placed
on utilities to attend 33 local resilience forums will be onerous.
Each London borough currently meets with its own emergency services
and NHS Trusts and plans for Local resilience. In order to include
the utilities and others in Category 2 use should be made of the
existing five Mutual Aid Groups in London. It is believed that
if the Groups were put on to a legal footing they would provide
a practical solution, allowing the co-operation envisaged in the
Emergency Planning Officer