Memorandum from Torbay Council
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?
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?
Operational effectivenessClearer obligations
should lead to greater operational effectiveness at the local
level, however the planning and response to emergencies takes
place at national, regional and local levels. Therefore statutory
obligations should be imposed not only on local responders, but
also on central government and regional bodies.
Financial efficiencyIt is not clear how
financial efficiency will be measured, and what the benchmarks
will be to measure against.
Q3. Do you agree that the membership of categories
1 and 2 is right? If not, which organisations should be added,
moved or removed?
The Bill should include express reference to
Unitary Authorities notwithstanding the fact they are technically
Category 1Should also include Primary
Care Trusts, Acute Hospital Trusts and the Health Protection Agency.
Category 2As Civil Contingency Reaction
Forces are being established, the Armed Forces should be included.
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.
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
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?
NoSee response to Q8 below.
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?
NoSpecific grant "ring fences"
funding for local authorities to undertake civil contingency planning.
If funding is transferred to RSG it must as a minimum be at the
current level of funding.
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.
NoWithout knowing what specific obligations
will be imposed it is difficult to comment, however a duty on
councils to plan for a wider range of emergencies will present
a challenge unless additional resources are provided.
Environmental aspects are included in the draft
Bill and funding must be sufficient to enable planning for the
response to incidents threatening the environment. As a coastal
authority the response to coastal pollution is a major concern
for Torbay. Attention should be drawn to the response to work
undertaken by the Local Government Association summarised in LGA
Circular 585/98 regarding the possible need for a statutory duty
for local authorities to plan the response to and undertake the
clean up of maritime pollution incidents.
If local authorities are to be required to promote
business continuity in the local business community, they will
need to have sufficient resources to develop and maintain their
own business continuity arrangements.
Q9. Do you agree that performance should
be audited through existing mechanisms? If not, what mechanism
would you like to see established?
NoExisting mechanisms for auditing vary
considerably but generally rely on local Performance Indicators.
Work was undertaken by the Emergency Planning
Society to develop quantitative, qualitative, uniform, national
Performance Indicators for local authorities to support Best Value
reviews, but this work was never completed.
Standards for Civil Protection provided a framework,
but did not provide any quantitative or qualitative measurements.
These were partially audited during the first year of implementation,
however results were not shared, and no further audit has been
Further work is required in this area, and should
include the development of some basic standards aligned with the
legislative requirements, regularly monitored and audited, to
enable comparative performance to be measured and examples of
best practice shared.
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?
NoA Regional Nominated Co-ordinator appointed
from a lead organisation might not have the broad overview and
leadership qualities required to fulfil such a role.
Regional Resilience Teams have now been established,
and the Head of these teams should undertake this role.
The role of Regional Resilience Teams should
also be included within the framework of the bill.
Q11. Do you agree with the principle of applying
special legislative measures on a regional basis? Please explain
YesThis should allow a more flexible
and appropriate response to emergencies contained within a specific
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.
Yesto provide a more flexible and appropriate
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 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, providing the "triple lock" safeguards
to prevent misuse contained within the consultation document is
included within the primary legislation.
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.
As stated in the consultation document, many
of the rights protected by the Human Rights Act may be suspended
when there is a public emergency that threatens the life of the
nation. Therefore emergency regulations should be treated as secondary
legislation and subject to injunction.
Questions 18 to 23
These relate specifically to arrangements for
Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London and have not been
considered in this response.
Emergency Planning Officer
13 August 2003