Memorandum from St John Ambulance
As a voluntary organisation with 116 years of
providing community service, St John Ambulance is the leading
First Aid, Transport and Care Charity. As one of the three Voluntary
Aid Societies, St John has an equally long history of providing
support during times of emergency, both in peace and at war.
St John Ambulance welcomes the Civil Contingencies
Bill, as it will provide an effective statutory framework for
emergency responses, with clear reporting lines and accountabilities.
We would particularly wish to emphasise our
agreement that voluntary organisations such as St John Ambulance
should not be covered by the new Duty, with the statutory obligations
conferred on Category 1 or 2 Responders (as detailed in Chapter
3 of the Consultation Document).
St John Ambulance would welcome the opportunity
to give oral evidence on our submission to the Joint Parliamentary
Committee, if the Committee wishes to hear directly from any of
the Voluntary Aid Societies.
The submission covers:
1. St John Ambulance Legal Status.
2. Comment on Statutory Obligation.
3. Other Voluntary Aid Society Submissions.
4. St John Ambulance Emergency Planning Activity.
6. Regulations and Guidance.
7. Specific Answers to Consultative Questions.
8. Supporting information on St John Ambulance
in relation to Emergency Planning.
Peter Brown BEM
11 September 2003
1. LEGAL STATUS
Statute 4.f.5 of the Statutes of the Most Venerable
Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (which incorporates
St John Ambulance) makes reference to our role as a Voluntary
Aid Society in:
"The provision of trained personnel to
give assistance to Central or Local Government Departments or
to the Armed Forces at times of emergency in peace or in war"
St John Ambulance considers that
it will be able to carry out this part of its charitable mission
without having (or indeed needing) due statutory responsibility
(ie as a Category 1 or 2 Responder).
We strongly agree with the statement in the
Consultation Document that voluntary organisations are not included
in the Duty:
"Because voluntary organisations rely
on the goodwill of their members and supporters to provide the
services that they do, and because those services are not in themselves
based on statutory obligations. As a consequence, the skills and
expertise available to the Voluntary sector may vary from place
to place". (Para 13, Ch 3)
Even with over 23,000 adult volunteers
trained in First Aid and 1,300 vehicles (including the largest
single ambulance fleet in the country), St John Ambulance is unable
to guarantee a particular level of provision of emergency aid
in all of the 42 counties where we have offices and management
structures. The type of response we can provide and the amount
of support we can offer varies on a geographical basis.
Some of our volunteers (including
1,500 Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics) are unavailable to St John
Ambulance in times of emergency, as they will be required to respond
by their full-time employers (or other statutory responsibilitieseg
Whilst the roles and activities undertaken
by St John Ambulance will (at the very least) support and complement
activity of Category 1 or 2 Responder members, we agree that because
we are unable to guarantee a consistent standard and level of
support nationwide, it would be irresponsible to seek inclusion
as a Category 1 or 2 Responder.
We are aware that another Voluntary Aid Society
is making its submission to become a Category 1 Responder. St
John Ambulance believes strongly that it would be inappropriate
to single out any Voluntary Aid Society in this way because:
For the reasons stated in the Consultation
Document and in section 2 of this submission, no voluntary organisation
can guarantee a particular level of response in an emergency nationwide.
St John Ambulance believes that it
has the largest number of appropriately qualified people and the
largest number of emergency vehicles compared with other voluntary
organisations. If we cannot see our way to fulfil the obligations
of a Category 1 or 2 Responder, we do not understand how any other
voluntary organisation could do so.
Our volunteers would be more responsive
to direction from the statutory services than from any other voluntary
organisation in an emergency. Raising another such organisation
to Category 1 status could result in a diminution of interest
in emergency support within St John Ambulance, especially as there
are many other charitable demands upon our resources. This could
have an impact on the overall national response to future emergencies.
4. ST JOHN
We fully recognise the Consultation Document's
"the Government continues to place a
high value on the role the voluntary sector plays in response
to emergencies, and will continue to encourage their involvement
in local multi-agency planning and response through the guidance
that will underpin the new legislation". (Para 13, Ch 3)
St John Ambulance will continue to be active
in emergency planning at all levels:
Maintaining a well established internal
St John Ambulance administration for Emergency Planning, on a
national, regional and local basis, including 42 Emergency Planning
Officers working out of respective English county headquarters,
supported by salaried staff. St John Ambulance in Wales is a separately
constituted charitable organisation. Nevertheless, it is active
in emergency planning and would seek to operate as described in
the points below (please see also 8. Supporting Information)
Active representation at local level,
working with the relevant multi-agency forums that will be established,
to confirm the level and capabilities of support that St John
Ambulance can provide during an emergency.
Adequate representation at the proposed
new regional civil protection tier (as per Chapter 4 of the Consultation
Continuing to work with other voluntary
emergency organisations such as the British Red Cross Society,
WRVS, Salvation Army, in providing relevant support to statutory
services, both at the front end of any emergency response, as
well as in the appropriate provision of humanitarian and support
5. NVASEC SUBMISSION
Together with the other Voluntary Aid Societies
(the British Red Cross Society and St Andrew's Ambulance Assocation),
a joint NVASEC [National Voluntary Aid Society Emergency Committee]
submission to the Bill is being made. St John Ambulance confirms
that it agrees totally with the three substantive comments made
on the Bill by NVASEC:
mention should be made of humanitarian needs that might arise
from an emergencyvoluntary organisations have a vital role
to play in this.
Role of the voluntary sectorSpecific
mention should be made within the Bill of how the voluntary sector
should be consulted and involved during all stages of the planning
process. Relevant organisers should consider what voluntary organisations
might be able to contribute.
Definition of EmergencyThe
meaning of the term "emergency" in sections 1 and 17
of the draft Bill does not place sufficient emphasis on a "serious
threat" or emergency.
St John Ambulance would wish to have
an active input into the supporting Regulation and Guidance Documents
that accompany the Bill, particularly any sections covering the
role of voluntary organisations including our involvement at regional
and local levels.
We would also welcome instruction
to employers to provide suitable leave for volunteers who may
be required in an emergency or appropriate training purposes.
7. SPECIFIC ANSWERS
As a voluntary organisation, St John Ambulance
does not feel it relevant to answer many of the Consultation Questions.
Our submission relates to:
Q8. Do you feel 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.
Anecdotal feedback from local statutory
bodies is that funding provision as currently available under
the Civil Defence Grant (currently £19 million) will be insufficient
to carry out the extra statutory obligations placed upon them
by the Bill.
St John Ambulance is concerned that
Category 1 Responders will increasingly seek to rely on voluntary
organisations at the local level. Funding provision should recognise
that voluntary organisations incur costs when involved in emergency
planning (as well as in actual emergencies) eg in providing vehicles
and volunteers for exercises to test emergency procedures.
Resources listed below relate to St John Ambulance
activity in England only. St John Ambulance Wales is a separately
constituted charitable Priory, and its resources have been listed
separately below. It is also relevant to point out that St John
Ambulance is active in Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel
(A) St John Ambulance EnglandStatistical
42 county headquarters, each with
its own administrative and command structure (covering the whole
of England on a geographical basis). Over 680 properties.
Ability to co-ordinate St John Ambulance
emergency response on a national (eg through recent RAMP activity)
or on appropriate regional basis.
Each St John Ambulance county headquarters
has a dedicated Emergency Planning Officer, with clear roles and
responsibilities, responsible for appropriate liaison and working
with all relevant statutory authorities.
23,000 adult volunteers trained in
1,500 Health Care Professionals (including
Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics).
75 volunteers trained in Critical
Around 10 specialist trained Casualty
Retrieval Teams, that can be placed around the country at short
1,050 dedicated Ambulances with trained
volunteer (and 100 salaried) crews.
100 Cars or People Carriers.
1,000 Automated External Defibrillators
and 5,000 trained operators.
Types of Emergency activity undertaken:
Train accidentseg Paddington
On going or ad hoc events where command
and control systems, such as those needed in Major Incidents,
have been used, illustrate the large-scale activity that St John
Ambulance can undertake:
First Aid provision at major
sporting events, eg London Marathon, Wimbledon.
Civil events, eg Millennium Celebration,
The Queen's Jubilee, The Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen
(B) St John Ambulance WalesStatistical
National Headquarters based in Cardiff
administrating the Charity within the Principality.
Volunteer structure divided into
seven regions all of whom actively participate in the Welsh Assembly
Government Emergency Planning system again on a regional basis.
Ability to coordinate St John Ambulance
emergency response on a national or indeed on an appropriate regional
1,942 adult volunteers trained in
150 Health Care Professionals (including
Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics).
41 volunteers trained in Critical
80 dedicated Ambulances with trained
3 Cars or People Carriers.
5 inshore rescue boats.
60 Automated External Defibrillators
and 350 trained operators.
Types of Emergency activity undertaken: