Co-operation between organisations is fundamental to emergency preparedness. A large number of organisations will need to co-operate when responding to emergencies, so it is right that organisations co-operate closely in preparedness and planning as well. The Government aims to ensure all organisations co-operate in emergency preparedness, and robust co-operation arrangements are in place at every level. This section outlines who should co-operate, and how. It describes co-operation arrangements in place locally, and points out the emphasis placed on co-operation within the Civil Contingencies Act.
Who should co-operate?
Organisations will need to co-operate closely with any other organisation who would be involved in responding to and recovering from an emergency which affects that organisation.
That will mean not just partner organisations, but contractors, and voluntary organisations who may be involved in the response. Organisations should consider their need to co-operate with a wide range of public (eg. Local Authorities, Emergency Services), commercial (eg. other businesses) and voluntary organisations (eg. charities and voluntary response organisations).
Every-day co-operation between organisations is the lifeblood of civil protection work - through visits and seminars, phone calls and emails, and joint projects including exercises.
Many organisations are well used to co-operating in both preparing for and responding to emergencies. The Emergency Services, for instance, obviously co-ordinate closely when responding to emergencies. They also co-operate closely in policy and planning, and undertake joint training and exercises. Likewise, utilities companies have close links with Local Authorities and Emergency Services.
Organisations should aim to co-operate bilaterally and attend multi-agency groups and forums to discuss co-ordinated and sometimes joint approaches to the key aspects of emergency preparedness - risk assessment, emergency planning, business continuity management, and arrangements to warn and inform the public. Such forums should also consider producing multi-agency plans and other documents, including protocols and agreements, and the co-ordination of multi-agency exercises and other training events.
Co-operation at the local level under the Civil Contingencies Act
The principle mechanism for multi-agency co-operation at the local level is the Local Resilience Forum (LRF). LRFs are generally based on local police areas (with the exception of London), and bring together all the organisations who have a duty to co-operate under the Civil Contingencies Act, along with others who would be involved in the response.
The purpose of the LRF process is to ensure effective delivery of those duties under the Act that need to be developed in a multi-agency environment.
Co-operation at the regional level
Regional co-operation and co-ordination takes place through Regional Resilience Forums (RRFs) in England which bring together representatives of local responders and central government bodies to work together to address larger-scale civil protection issues.
Regional Resilience Teams (RRTs) in government regional offices in England play key roles in ensuring there is good two-way communication between local responders and central government, that planning is co-ordinated where necessary and that local responders have the support they need. RRTs can be expected to be standing members of the LRFs in their area.
The section on English Regions provides more detail on regional arrangements.
Co-operation at the Devolved Administration level
Similar co-operation and co-ordination arrangements are in place in the Devolved Administrations. For instance, in Scotland strategic co-ordinating groups are similar to LRFs, and the Scottish Emergencies Co-ordinating Committee (SECC) provides co-ordination and determines the national strategy for the development of civil protection. In Wales the National Assembly for Wales (NAW) provides that co-ordination, and a Wales Resilience Forum brings together local responders and UK government bodies. And in Northern Ireland the Central Emergency Management Group (CEMG) is broadly analogous to Regional Resilience Forums in England, meeting regularly to review strategic issues.
The Devolved Administrations section provides more detail on arrangements in the Devolved Administrations.
Co-operation at the UK level
Government departments, who are responsible for contingency planning and response within their areas (e.g. infectious diseases falls to Department of Health; fuel disruptions falls to Department of Trade & Industry), work closely together. The Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) in the Cabinet Office co-ordinates their work to enhance the country's resilience to the full range of emergencies.
Central government works very closely with the devolved administrations, regional government offices, local authorities and emergency services. Officials attend the full range of multi-agency forums, particularly Regional and Local Resilience Forums, and regularly go out to visit practitioners.
The UK Government section provides more detail on UK government co-operation and co-ordination arrangements.
You should refer to:
Emergency Preparedness, Chapter 2: "Co-operation" [PDF, 14 pages, 74KB] (pp10-23)
Emergency Preparedness, Chapter 9: "London" [PDF, 4 pages, 124KB] (pp128-131) - includes information on co-operation arrangements in London.
Emergency Preparedness, Chapter 10: "Scotland" [PDF, 4 pages, 25KB] (pp132-135)
Emergency Preparedness, Chapter 11: "Wales" [PDF, 5 pages, 33KB] (pp136-141)
Emergency Preparedness, Chapter 12: "Northern Ireland" [PDF, 5 pages, 34KB] (pp142-146)
Emergency Preparedness, Chapter 17: "Co-operation at the regional level in England" [PDF, 7 pages, 39KB] (pp167-173)
Emergency Preparedness, Chapter 18: "Planning at the regional level in England" [PDF, 4 pages, 27KB] (pp174-177)
Civil Contingencies Act: "Emergency Response and Recovery" [PDF, 104 pages, 332KB] - outlines the various aspects of emergency response that will require co-operation.
A Guide to Emergency Planning Arrangements in Northern Ireland [External PDF, 148 pages, 1.56MB] - Northern Ireland Central Emergency Planning Unit guidance document.
You may also wish to refer to:
Scotland Office [External website] - The Scotland Office, headed up by the Secretary of State for Scotland, is part of the Ministry of Justice. It represents Scotland's interests at Westminster and acts as guardian to the Devolution Settlement.
Wales Office [External website] - The Wales Office, headed up by the Secretary of State for Wales, is responsible for liaising with the devolved administration in Wales and represents Wales' interests in the Cabinet and in Parliament.
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