Memorandum from Ceredigion County 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?
There should be clarity regarding the scale
of event that defines a serious threat. It is suggested that government
should adopt the phrase from Dealing with Disasteran event
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.
In light of the definition of emergency being
broadened, supporting regulations and guidance must clarify lead
organisations in relation to varying types of emergency.
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 Bill will only deliver if the regulations
define standards and performance management systems.
Government needs to recognise the requirement
for establishing guidance if it wishes to achieve its own goal
of National Standards.
Q3. Do you agree that the membership of categories
1 and 2 is right? If not, which organisations should be added,
moved or removed?
NHS Trusts, Local Health Boards and National
Public Health Service for Wales should all be added to Category
1. The Military needs also to be included when considering its
new civil contingencies initiative (possibly as Category 2).
Central and Regional Government are conspicuous
by their absence and should appear at Category 1 to strengthen
the lead department concept. The absence of Government Departments
contradicts the ethos of response through the Lead Department
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.
An assessment at this time is very difficult
in the absence of detail. What is crucial is the opportunity for
meaningful consultation regarding the Regulations.
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 would consistency
Very much agree that consistency needs to be
a primary aim and that arrangements accommodate multi-agency working.
The most likely wide scale solution would be to base Local Resilience
Forums on existing Multi Agency Strategic Groups established on
Police Force areas.
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 Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) does
not reflect the costs and benefits on Local Authorities arising
from the Bill.
Funding for Civil Contingencies needs to be
exposed for its inadequacy as the definition of emergency takes
Civil Protection well beyond its current scope. It is noted with
interest that the Commons Defence Committee stated that local
emergency planners will not be able to meet their new business
continuity responsibilities without increases in budgets.
Local Authorities have to date received nothing
to assist with the Resilience Agenda. There are great expectations
placed at our door, but no finance to address the significant
issues of responding to displaced people. There are no stockpiles
of equipment to assist the task as Central Government Stockpiles
for Civil Defence have all been dispersed.
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?
Whilst the LGA support funding via RSG the
real concern rests upon adequate funding finding itself to the
service. It would also be helpful to agree a transitional ring
fencing arrangement whilst fundamental changes are taking place.
Clarity is sought sooner rather than later
regarding funding distribution arrangement via the Welsh Assembly
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 existing funding level is inadequate to
meet current spending levels let alone addressing the additional
responsibilities proposed. The following represent some of the
No money for purchasing emergency
equipment required for the care of displaced/evacuated people.
The definition of Rest Centres in the CBRN Guidance has been extended
to suggest buildings are suitable for overnight accommodation.
Are you expecting the whole financial burden to fall on Local
Significant investments made for
Emergency Services and Hospitals for CBRN, but not a single penny
for Local Authorities. What about training implications and personal
Annual contract for a Temporary Mortuary
Service provider. Two options in the private sector at a cost.
This should be addressed at a national level by government.
Military Aid to the Civil Community
comes at a cost unless we can prove it to be life saving. This
represents double payment as the Military is financed through
the taxpayer. This should be regarded as a central resource that
will be deployed to assist the community in times of need.
Local Authorities are expected to
be a front line responder in the event of Coastal Oil Pollution.
Whilst government earns significant revenue from taxing fuel it
makes no provision for planning training and exercising for responders
to coastal oil pollution when problems arise from the transportation
of oil products.
Q9. Do you agree that performance should
be audited through existing mechanisms? If not, what mechanisms
would you like to see established?
Audit of performance management in relation
to Civil Contingencies is required and the Audit Commission should
undertake this responsibility in relation to Local Authorities.
Developed Regulations and Guidance will be expected to provide
clarity regarding roles and responsibilities for all partners
covered by the Bill.
However, the imposition of Performance Management
and Standards monitoring processes on CA11 responders with no
additional funding to meet those requirements needs to be addressed.
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?
In agreement and propose that individuals be
pre-identified for this role. As indicated by the Select Defence
Committee the Regional Nominated Co-ordinator must be able to
provide strong leadership and posses crisis management skills.
It would be reasonable to consider re-identifying
the National Assembly for Wales "High Level Group" as
the Welsh Regional Resilience Forum. The group/forum should be
flexible to allow for varying emergencies and enable the drafting
in of relevant advisors.
Within the Welsh context we need clarity regarding
the potential of a Welsh Assembly Government Minister being appointed
as a Regional Nominated Co-ordinator. This needs to be considered
in light of the Lead Government Department principle versus the
principle of local accountability, knowledge and familiarity with
Q11. Do you agree with the principle of applying
special legislative measures on a regional basis? Please explain
Yes. However, it is suggested that devolved
administrations should be given the powers to declare an emergency
as they are best placed to interpret local circumstances.
Q12. Do you agree that the current emergency
powers frame-work is outdated and needs to be replaced? If you
do not think it should be replaced, please explain why.
Emergency Powers frame-work needs to be revised
to address the modern day risk profile.
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?
Yes. It needs to be broad enough to address
a wide risk profile.
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?
No. It would be sensible and practical to remove
the Head of State and place the responsibility directly upon Government
Ministers in England, Welsh Assembly Government in Wales and the
Scottish Parliament in Scotland. By their very nature, these measures
would be undertaken in emergency situations and every effort should
be made to ensure the most efficient means are established to
achieve a declaration.
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, but instead of, as opposed to in place
of. See response to previous question.
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.
The advantage of treating emergency regulations
as primary legislation for the purposes of the Human Rights Act
would be that there is a presumption that all primary legislation
considers the provisions of the Human Rights Act, and this might
Q18. Do you agree that the arrangements proposed
for Scotland strike the right balance between reflecting the devolution
settlement and ensuring consistency across the UK? If not, what
changes are necessary?
No. Believe that the Scottish Parliament should
be granted the powers to declare an emergency. After all, Foot
and Mouth was dealt with more efficiently in Scotland!
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?
No. Welsh Assembly Government should be granted
the powers to declare an emergency and respond as 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?
Same principle as applies to answers to questions
18 and 19.
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?
Yes, and should be empowered to deploy as necessary
in response to an emergency situation.
Q22. Do you agree that the devolved administrations
should be able to declare that special legislative measures are
necessary and take action accordingly?
Yes. This point has been elaborated upon in
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?
Whilst it would be difficult to argue against
the high risk profile for London it should be emphasised that
other regions should not be ignored at the expense of the English