In response to the growing risks presented by man-made and natural threats, the government introduced legislation in the form of the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) 2004.
The CCA 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 2 categories, imposing a different set of duties on each.
Category 1 Responders
Category 1 responders are those organisations at the core of emergency response and include:
- Police Forces
- British Transport Police
- Fire and Rescue Authorities
- Ambulance Services
- NHS England and Public Health England
- Local Authorities
- Environment Agency
Category 1 responders are subject to the full set of civil protection duties and they are required to maintain and exercise plans for preventing, reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of, or taking other action in the event of an emergency or Major Incident within its area; and to plan for business disruption that threatens the delivery of its critical services.
The main civil protection duties that fall on the Category 1 responders are:
- Put in place emergency plans;
- 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, through the Local Resilience Forum, to enhance co-ordination and efficiency;
- Put in place business continuity management arrangements; and
- Provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management (local authorities only).
Category 2 Responders
Category 2 responders have a role in supporting Category 1 responders and while not routinely involved in the core of multi-agency emergency response and recovery work, will have an important role in the response to, and recovery from, emergencies affecting their sectors. They include:
- Utility companies (water, sewerage, gas and electricity)
- Telephone service providers (fixed and mobile)
- Railway operators
- Airport operators
- Highways Agency
- Health and Safety Executive
- Clinical Commissioning Groups
These organisations are crucial players in emergency response and recovery, and will work closely with emergency services and local authorities to deliver timely restoration of essential services to help minimise the wider impact on the community.
The Act also places a duty on local authorities to maintain and exercise plans for preventing emergencies; reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of emergencies and taking other action in the event of emergencies. This includes having arrangements in place to provide temporary shelter, care and welfare support for people who have been evacuated from their homes or other locations.