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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 11/10/2005
Emergency Planning - Update - The Civil Contingencies Act 2004



Summary & Purpose
This report has already been considered by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. It is an update on the Council’s major civil emergencies activities and, in particular, to identify the implications for Waverley Borough Council of implementing the requirement within the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 for the Council to have in place business continuity management arrangements.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
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Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
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Economy
N/A
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Positive
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Positive


Annexe 1
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE - 14TH JUNE 2005

REFERENCE FROM Corporate Overview AND Scrutiny Committee

Title:
Emergency Planning - Update
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004

[Wards Affected: n/a]

Summary and purpose:

This report has already been considered by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. It is an update on the Council’s major civil emergencies activities and, in particular, to identify the implications for Waverley Borough Council of implementing the requirement within the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 for the Council to have in place business continuity management arrangements.

Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

E-Government implications:

There are no specific e-Government implications.

Resource and legal implications:

This report addresses, primarily, the statutory duties placed upon the Council by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. There will be significant resource implications arising out of the activities set out in this report. At this stage, there are only indicative costs.

Introduction

1. On both 1st June 2004 and 15th November 2004, the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered reports on aspects of the Council’s emergency planning activities.

2. Those reports, which were also considered by the Executive on 15th June and 7th December respectively, contained reference to the Civil Contingencies Bill which received Royal Assent in November 2004. Substantially, the Act became law on 1st April 2005 with aspects of the provisions being subject to further Regulations and detailed guidance. The purpose was to replace existing legislation, including the Civil Protection Act 1948 and the Civil Protection in Peacetime Act 1986 which had become outdated.

Definition of Emergency

3. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 contains a definition of an emergency for the purpose of the Act. Emergency is defined as:-

Responsibilities and Duties Under the Act

4. The Act places a clear statutory duty on what it describes as Category 1 Responders to carry out a range of civil emergency duties. District Councils are Category 1 responders as are county and unitary councils, the ‘blue light’ services, primary care trusts, acute trusts, the Health Protection Agency and the Environment Agency.

5. At another level, Category 2 responders are required to support Category 1 responders in carrying out their duties. Category 2 responders include the utilities, railway and airport operators and the Health and Safety Executive.

6. Category 1 Responders have duties placed on them to:-

Assess local risks and use this to inform emergency 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 Form and cooperate within a Local Resilience Forum (based on Police Force boundaries) Co-operate with other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency Provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management. (Local Authorities only)

Implementation

7. Although the Act became law on 1st April 2005, the Civil Contingencies Secretariat of the Cabinet Office has indicated that local authorities will have until November 2005 to be in a position to substantially meet the requirements of the Act. The exception is the duty to promote business continuity amongst the local business community. In that case, local authorities have a further 6 months in which to implement this particular requirement. These are the latest dates and your officers are aiming to have procedures in place in advance of those deadlines. Please note that this report does not address the matter of promoting business continuity to others. This will be covered in a later report.

Progress in Waverley

8. Waverley, building on its existing civil emergency plans and procedures, is making progress to meet its responsibilities, in particular working with partners in the Surrey Local Resilience Forum which is coordinated and facilitated by the County Council's Emergency Planning Unit. This is the former SESMIC (Surrey Emergency Services Major Incident Committee) body, coordinated by Surrey Police and facilitated by the County Council’s Emergency Planning Unit.

9. The main focus for Waverley at this time is work to develop its own Business Continuity Plan. The Act gives Waverley a statutory duty to have Business Continuity Management arrangements in place, to exercise, test and review arrangements for Business Continuity in two aspects:-

Council’s response to Category 1 partners in a Civil Emergency (even if Council infrastructures are damaged) Council services to the community if the Council’s ability to function is howsoever challenged

A Business Continuity Plan for Waverley

10. This is a major piece of work that is being carried out by a number of officers throughout the Council, including the Council’s Emergency Planning and Safety Adviser. The work is co-ordinated and driven by an officer group, the Continuity Planning Group.

11. Significant progress has been made which is summarised below.

Business Continuity Planning Group has met from early 2004 to steer progress; Basic Corporate plan written – identifying; Business Continuity Planning Group membership and alternates; Implementation of Business Recovery based on three levels:- Groups to oversee recovery formed and objectives agreed; Damage assessment and control : Property, Building Control, Office Services; Logistical support: Central Services, Personnel, Legal, Insurance, Purchasing; IT Recovery Team; Corporate need for alternate location – identified as The Pump House, Farnham which is the location of Waverley Training Services for Emergency Management and Business Continuity support teams; Business Impact analysis for Waverley Corporate and each department completed; Local Service recovery plans largely complete for all major work streams Substantial investigation of IT recovery options underway Substantial investigation of corporate telephony recovery options underway Initial work underway to supply infrastructure for Disaster recovery IT and telephony at alternate management location in Farnham Initial work underway to source alternate accommodation in the case of Level 3 disaster – also proposed at Farnham based in temporary mobile accommodation.

Financial Implications

12. As stated earlier, this is a major piece of work that will come together in the near future at which time it will be put forward for formal adoption by the Executive and the Council. Putting in place the proposed actions summarised above has a cost which will be substantial.

13. Theoretically, 30,000 for Civil Contingencies Act responsibilities was allocated to Waverley through the Revenue Support Grant settlement for 2005/06. Unfortunately, no extra grant was received thereby requiring the Council to identify other alternative resources. Annual expenditure on emergency planning activities of 49,926 was incurred in 2004/05, mainly on salaries and out of hours emergency telephone cover costs i.e. before the Civil Contingencies Act came into effect. For 2005/06 the equivalent cost will be 53,270 and a general allocation of 30,000 has been included in the revenue budget to cover the cost associated with the new responsibilities of the Civil Contingencies Act. To date, the Business Continuity Group has identified the following items for business continuity activities, summarised below. The indicative costs are: -

14. Officers will be undertaking further work around these estimates before asking Members to agree to a release of any funds. Clearly the demands greatly exceed budget provision and attempts to balance the two will also be required.

Conclusion

15. Waverley needs to respond positively to its new statutory responsibilities under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. To what extent is a matter of judgement based upon assessment of the risk. However, the statutory duties are clear as is the fact that, amongst other things, Waverley will be judged, under the next inspection regime, on its preparedness to cope with a major civil emergency within its boundaries or outside its boundaries where the impact on life in Waverley would, nevertheless, be substantial.

Observations of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny

16. The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee has considered this matter in some detail and heard from Mary Burden of Surrey County Council's Emergency Planning Unit who was able to lend her considerable knowledge of emergency planning in general and the activities of the County Council in particular.

17. Points raised by Members in the discussion included:-

(i) the need to have sufficient trained deputies who would be able to undertake tasks in the event of the responsible officer being unavailable for any reason as a result of a civil emergency;

(ii) the ability of the organisation to carry on functioning by ensuring that certain designated staff can work from home to support those staff able to operate from the alternative location in the event of the loss or partial loss of the main Burys complex;

(iii) the need to recognise the importance of the public health dimension and the need to forge links with the appropriate agencies in this field;

(iv) the possible benefits to be derived from joint working with Waverley's neighbouring authorities, such as Guildford and Rushmoor;

(v) the ability to function better through partner bodies all having similar IT systems;

(vi) identifying those categories of staff who, in any emergency situation, would be most needed to offer medical, counselling and basic humanitarian aid, i.e. social workers, care workers, teachers, etc.; and

(vii) an acknowledgement that the Council's Emergency Management function did need an alternative location.

18. The Committee expressed satisfaction with the broad approach to dealing with the Council's responsibilities under the Civil Protection Act and the general thrust of the proposals being worked up by the officers in establishing a Business Continuity Plan for Waverley. Naturally, Members acknowledged that further work was necessary, particularly finding the right balance between the substantial costs involved and the statutory and other demands placed upon the Council to operate to the best of its ability in the event of a major civil emergency.

Recommendation

That the observations made by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee be taken into account by the Executive when it considers the appropriateness of the proposals outlined in the report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Richard Wood Telephone: 01483 523387

E-mail: rwood@waverley.gov.uk

comms/executive/2005-06/145