The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) is a framework for civil protection in the United Kingdom. It outlines the roles and responsibilities for local responders.
The Act divides responders into 2 categories. Those in Category 1 are at the core of the response to most emergencies, and include the emergency services, local authorities and NHS bodies amongst others.
Category 2 responders are supporting agencies, for example the Health and Safety Executive, utility companies and transport companies and will become more involved in incidents that affect their sector.
Bedford Borough Council is a Category 1 responder, and as such are required to adhere to the full set of duties imposed. Bedford Borough Council and other Category 1 responders are 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, and maintain arrangements to warn, inform and advise the public in an emergency
- share information with other local responders to enhance coordination
- cooperate with other local responders to enhance coordination and efficiency
- provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management (local authorities only).
The Resilience Team works with other organisations under the Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum (BLRF) to plan for emergencies, write plans, provide internal training and multi-agency training, and prepare and attend internal and multi-agency exercises.
Bedford Borough Council’s Resilience Team also maintains the Corporate Resilience Plan and coordinates business continuity plans for the Council.
How Bedford Borough Council responds to an emergency
During an emergency the role of Bedford Borough Council is:
- to support the emergency services
- to support the local and wider community
- to mitigate the effects of an emergency
- to take the lead on the recovery.
The Council will provide an array of functions to support the response including opening and managing Emergency Assistance Centres if evacuations occur and providing specialist knowledge and resources. The Borough may also coordinate voluntary support from local voluntary groups to support people.
When responding to an emergency the Resilience Team will activate internal plans and provide advice to senior management who will make the key decisions.
A formal Multi-Agency Command and Control structure may be put in place and will mean Bedford Borough Council representatives will attend a Multi-Agency Strategic Group, a Multi-Agency Tactical Group, and possibly the scene of the incident.
Internally, Senior Management and Specialist Advisors will form the Emergency Management Team to deploy the Council resources and to ensure that Council functions are kept running.
For further information call the Resilience Team on 01234 267422.