Civil Contingencies Secretariat
The Civil Contingencies Secretariat was established in July 2001. Since then, CCS has worked to improve the UK's preparedness for and response to emergencies. We believe that we have made a tangible difference. Serious flooding and the Fuel Crisis in 2000, and the Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreak in 2001, exposed serious deficiencies in the UK's civil protection arrangements. Many of those weaknesses have now been addressed.
Our ten most significant achievements over the past four years are:
- Establishing a UK-wide horizon scanning capacity
Emergencies in the early years of this century showed that the UK was missing the warning signs, failing to prevent emergencies and being caught unawares when they occurred. CCS now works with a range of organisations to deliver a Forward Look, which helps to identify and prevent potential emergencies.
- Establishing a national risk assessment process
The UK now has a national risk assessment process, which identifies risks over a five year period and forms the basis for decisions about emergency preparedness. This risk assessment process involves a wide range of organisations, and is the first time that the UK has a systematic and all-inclusive approach to risk analysis.
- Delivering improved performance and outputs across the civil protection area through the Capabilities Programme
Although government departments and other organisations have always had emergency plans, CCS established and now leads a Capabilities Programme which provides central direction and co-ordination to emergency preparedness. The Programme has delivered a step change improvement in departmental preparedness and joined-up working.
- Establishing the UK's first national exercise programme
For the first time, the UK now has an exercise programme which co-ordinates the range of exercises which have always taken place within government. The CCS-led programme adds value by minimising duplication, improving the quality of exercises, prioritising key risks and ensuring the sharing of lessons.
- Supporting a new Regional Resilience Tier
CCS was closely involved in the work during 2003 and 2004 to design and establish a new Regional Resilience Tier in England. Managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the tier improves co-ordination and communication, and acts as a bridge between central government and the local level.
- Delivering a Civil Contingencies Act
By the turn of the century, the legislative framework for civil protection was widely regarded as out of date and unfit for purpose. CCS developed a Civil Contingencies Bill and took it through Parliament, working closely with a wide range of stakeholders inside and outside government. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and its associated non-legislative measures provide robust, modern framework for civil protection right across the UK.
- Securing the right resources for civil protection
CCS has played a crucial role in securing the right level of resourcing for civil protection work. The level of funding for national security and emergency preparedness will double between 2001 and 2008. CCS was particularly closely involved in building a new financial deal for local authority civil protection work, overseeing a 120 per cent increase in funding.
- Transforming the Emergency Planning College
An integral part of CCS from the outset, the Emergency Planning College has undergone a period of transformation. Between October 2003 and July 2004 the College underwent a renewal project which included two new accommodation blocks plus a new training block. And the courses have been extensively remodelled to improve the value added.
- Playing a key role in helping to co-ordinate the Government's response to emergencies
CCS has played an important part in the response to emergencies which have arisen since its establishment. These have included the London bombings, the Asian Tsunami, industrial action and major public protests. Perhaps the most notable was the Fire Strike of 2002, during which CCS played a pivotal co-ordination role in support of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), providing crisis management advice, assessments and consequence management.
- Enhancing the UK's international civil protection networks
International partnerships have taken on a new prominence since CCS assumed responsibility for the UK's interests in international civil protection networks. CCS has delivered increasingly active participation in EU, NATO and other international forums and supported an enhanced international profile for UK civil protection work.
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