Civil Contingencies Act
The introduction of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 placed certain additional responsibilities on Local Authorities to prepare and respond to emergencies and work closely with the emergency services and voluntary organisations in doing so.
The Act deals with Emergency Preparedness and establishes a clear set of roles and responsibilities for those involved in emergency preparation and response at the local level.
The Act divides local responders into two categories, imposing a different set of duties on each.
Category 1 Responders are those organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies (e.g. emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies). Category 1 responders are subject to the full set of civil protection duties.
They will be required to:
Assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to
inform contingency planning;
Put in place emergency plans;
Put in place Business Continuity Management arrangements;
Put in place arrangements to make information available to the public about civil protection matters and maintain arrangements to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency;
Share information with other local responders to enhance co-ordination;
Co-operate with other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency; and
Provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management (Local Authorities only).
Category 2 Responders are the Health and Safety Executive, transport, utility companies and the voluntary sector organisations. These "co-operating bodies" are less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their sector.
Category 2 responders have a lesser set of duties - co-operating and sharing relevant information with other Category 1 and 2 responders.
Category 1 and 2 organisations will come together to form 'Local Resilience Forums' (based on police areas) which will help co-ordination and co-operation between responders at the local level.
Local Resilience Forums (LRF) have already been set up and are working effectively to address all issues outlined above.