Emergency planning

2. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004

The aim of the Act is to ‘improve the UK’s resilience through working with others to anticipate, assess, prevent, respond and recover’.

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004, supporting regulations and statutory guidance establish 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 two categories, imposing a different set of duties on each.

Those in Category 1, are organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies (Emergency Services, Local Authorities, Environment Agency and NHS Bodies).

Category 1 responders are required to:

  • assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to inform emergency planning
  • put in place emergency plans
  • put into place Business Continuity Management arrangements
  • put into 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 coordination
  • co-operate with other local responders to enhance coordination and efficiency
  • provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about Business Continuity Management (Local Authority only).

The Act is made up of two parts the purpose of the first part is to establish a new statutory framework for civil protection at the local level to ensure that responders are prepared to deal effectively with the full range of emergencies from localised incidents through to catastrophic emergencies.

The second part of the Act is about emergency powers.

In the UK emergency powers allow the making of special temporary legislation to deal with the most serious of emergencies that require an urgent response.

For more information on the Civil Contingencies Act go to Preparation and planning for emergencies (Gov.uk website)