Joint Committee on Draft Civil Contingencies Bill Written Evidence

Memorandum from City of London Police

  The City of London Police (CoLP) is grateful for this opportunity to comment on the Draft Civil Contingencies Bill.


  The CoLP welcomes the publication of the Draft Bill and recognises the need for revised and new legislation to face the challenges of modern times.

  During the review of this document several issues have become apparent.

    (a)  It is accepted that the Bill is designed to be enabling legislation and so consequently detailed regulations, responsibilities and powers will be provided at a later stage. Unfortunately, without the correct level of detail being available, it is very difficult to state authoritatively whether or not the Bill would be adequate for the purpose envisaged.

    (b)  The Bill sets out the responsibilities of most of the major stakeholders, but omits to include the obligations placed upon either the Central Government or the Military, when faced with a situation that would require the enactment of the powers contained within the Bill.

    (c)  When referring to enactment of Emergency Powers, it is interesting to note that there is no mention of scale. The reference to a "Catastrophic Incident" as defined by the London Resilience Forum is completely omitted from the draft legislation.

    (d)  Although it has already been stated that the Bill lacks detail, it is apparent from the draft legislation that there will be a greater burden placed upon all agencies, affected by the legislation, in both fiscal and work terms.


  1.   Is the definition of emergency the right one? If not, in what ways should it be tightened or expanded to exclude certain classes of event or situation?

  The definition of an emergency is adequate, but it is felt that there should be a level of scale incorporated within that definition.

  2.   Do you agree that the obligations posed on both Category 1 and 2 responders by or under the new framework will ensure operationally effective and financially efficient planning and response to emergencies at the local level? If not, how should these obligations be increased or reduced?

    (a)  Without having sight of the final regulations, that will emerge from the enabling Bill, it is felt that it would be imprudent to try and provide any sort of objective answer to this question.

    (b)  There are concerns about the requirement to carry out Risk Assessments and then make planning assumptions based on the result of those assessments. There is currently no universally accepted method of Risk Assessment and so, potentially, one could be faced with different organisations using disparate methods of Risk Assessment. Added to this, it is proposed that there will be an audit process. Bearing in mind the previous statement, it will be interesting to see how such an audit could ever be successfully conducted?

  It is accepted that there should be a hazard identification process, as conducted presently, but the envisaged response should be in a generic format.

  3.   Do you agree that the membership of the categories 1 and 2 is right? If not, which organisations should be added, moved or removed?

  The CoLP is surprised by the omission of the Nation's Financial Controllers (such as the Bank of England, The Stock Exchange and The Financial Services Authority). Any incident that reduced this Country's ability to participate actively in the World's Financial Markets would have a serious impact upon the nation. This point is apparently acknowledged by the fact that the proposed definition of an "Emergency", within the proposed Act, includes the reference to Economic harm.

  4.   Do you agree that the Bill gives the Government the right balance of regulation making powers to meet its aims of consistency and flexibility? If not, please explain how the powers should be expanded or constrained.

  Please refer to response at 2(a).

  5.   Do you agree that consistent arrangements for multi-agency working would be established, through the creation of Local Resilience Forums? If not, how else should consistency be established?

  The CoLP endorses this concept, but wishes to note the following points.

    (a)  There is concern that the process may become tautological in its delivery.

    (b)  The CoLP would also like to raise the issue of accountability of the Local Resilience Forums.

    (i)  There is no clear structure of ownership or regulation of the Forums defined or proposed.

    (ii)  As it is proposed that all category 1 & 2 agencies will have their activities in this arena audited, bearing that premiss in mind, it seems paradoxical that the activities of the local Resilience Forums are not subject to the same "Best" practice.

  6.   Do you agree that the partial Regulatory Impact Assessment accurately reflects the costs and benefits of the Bill proposals? If not, how should it be changed?

  Bearing in mind the answer at 2(a), it is impossible to then guess the fiscal implications and the CoLP are surprised that any sort of objective calculation can be provided on the basis of the current scant information.

  7.   Do you agree that funding for Category 1 local authorities should be transferred from specific grant (Civil Defence Grant) to Revenue Support Grant? If not, why should specific grant be retained?

  No comment.

  8.   Do you agree that the level of funding to support the Bill is sufficient? if not, please explain why you believe it to be too high or too low.

  Please refer to answer previously provided at 6.

  9.   Do you agree that performance should be audited through existing mechanisms? If not, what mechanism would you like to see established?

  The value of such an audit process would be questionable, as stated in the answer at 2(b). The question of the qualifications of such an auditor would also be an issue and this process would also place a further fiscal and work burden upon the CoLP.

  10  Do you agree with the role of the Regional Nominated Co-ordinator? If not, who should take responsibility at the regional level, and with what responsibilities?


  11.   Do you agree with the principle of applying special legislative measures on a regional basis? Please explain your answer.


  12.   Do you agree that the current emergency powers framework is outdated and needs to be replaced? If you do not think that it should be replaced, please explain why.


  13.   Do you agree that the circumstances in which special legislative measures may be taken should be widened from limited threats to public welfare to include threats to the environment, to the political, administrative and economic stability of the UK and to threats to its secuirty resulting from war or terrorism? If not, how would you like to see the circumstances narrowed or extended?


  14.   Do you agree that the use of special legislative measures should be possible on a sub-UK basis? If not, please explain.


  15.   Do you agree that the authority to declare that special legislative measures are necessary should remain with The Queen as Head of State, acting on the advice of Ministers? If not, who should it sit with?


  16.   Do you agree that in the event the process of making a Royal Proclamation would cause a delay which might result in significant damage or harm, a Secretary of State should be able to make the declaration in the place of the Queen as Head of State, acting on the advice of Ministers? If not, is delay acceptable or is there an alternative mechanism?

  CoLP has no objection.

  17.   Do you agree that the emergency regulations should be treated as primary legislation for the purposes of the Human Rights Act? If not, please explain why.


  18-22.   Not applicable to London.

  23.   Do you agree that London should have different arrangements for co-operation, and that the proposals set out are the right way to deliver this? If not, what arrangements should be put in place?

  The CoLP would welcome the creation of an Office of Emergency Management (based on the New York model, for example) that had sufficient funding and suitably qualified staff. Since the abolition of the Greater London Council, there has been no single agency with the strategic overview for Emergency Planning across the whole of London.

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Prepared 28 November 2003