Memorandum from the London Borough of
Richmond upon Thames
The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames welcomes
the publication of the Civil Contingencies Bill.
Overall, LBRuT is concerned at the lack of guidance
and regulations, and trusts that an adequate consultation period
will be allowed once these have been produced.
Other concerns include the following issues:
(a) The lack of inclusion of the military.
(b) The lack of inclusion of duties for the
central Government departments, particularly given that the lead
department concept does not appear to have worked particularly
well during recent crises.
(c) The failure to mention exercises and
training, which are fundamental elements of civil contingency
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?
LBRuT is concerned at the lack of mention of
scale within the definition of emergency. Furthermore, it is felt
that links to the definitions of major incident and catastrophic
incident should be clarified.
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?
Given the numerous references to regulations,
guidance and secondary legislation, it is very difficult to answer
this question fully, although it is felt that the obligations
will reinforce current good practice.
It is felt that placing "a strong emphasis
on risk assessment" on Category 1 responders will neither
be operationally effective or financially efficient. Whilst a
hazard indentification process will assist in emergency planning,
it is felt that a full risk assessment will add little of benefit.
As an example, LBRuT has hazards, such as the fact that it is
the only Borough with both banks of the Thames, and liable to
substantial flooding, it is on the flight path, has road, rail
and underground networks, and has a COMAH site and gas pipeline.
These are all hazards, and the generic plans in place are able
to be applied to respond to any incident with any of them.
A risk assessment of any of those hazards would
include an assessment of the probability and potential impact.
Take for example, the flight path. The Borough does not employ
anyone with the expertise or experience to be able to judge the
probability of a problem on any part of the flight path, at any
given time of day or year. Furthermore, given the events of September
11, it may be that problems do not occur on a recognised flight
The knowledge of a potential aeroplane problem
occurring in the Borough is sufficient to be able to plan effectively.
Should more detailed risk assessments be required,
then it should be a duty of the Category 2 responders to complete
a risk assessment identifying the more vulnerable stretches of
road, rail, air and water, and then sharing that information with
the responding agencies.
LBRuT is surprised that the duty to carry out
Business Continuity Management applies to Category 1 responders,
and feels that this should apply more widely to Category 2 responders.
LBRuT is concerned at the fact that local authorities
will be "required to promote BCM within their area".
There is no definition of "business", and it is recognised
that most large businesses employ their own Business Continuity
experts. Again, this is left to regulations for clarification,
leaving little ability to comment objectively.
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 military have a dual role within the civil
contingencies arena, both as a potential responder through traditional
MAC procedures, or through the newly formed CCRF, but also as
the operator of, for example, airports and ports. It seems strange,
therefore, that the military are not listed as either a category
1 or 2 responder.
Further omissions include, for example, the
organisers of large venues, such as sports stadia and others,
particularly given the recent problems at Knebworth and Silverstone.
Furthermore, LBRuT believes that COMAH site
operators should also be included within the list of Category
2 responders, particularly here in London where the COMAH sites
are dealt with through LFEPA, potentially leading to a lack of
liaison at the local level.
Given the pivotal role that the BBC and other
media will have during an emergency, LBRuT find it surprising
that there is no mention of any media within the list of Category
1 and 2 responders.
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.
LBRuT is concerned that the regulations may
not be given the same consideration and consultation as the Bill.
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
Whilst LBRuT has the equivalent of a Local Resilience
Forum already in place, it is recognised that this is not the
same for all London Boroughs. Furthermore, in a London context,
it is difficult to see how this would work at Borough level considering
that some organisations (such as utilities) will cover more than
one Borough, and may find problems in attending all such liaison
meetings. Whilst liaison at the Mutual Aid Group level might then
be considered, this causes further problems in that, for example,
the Health Authority boundaries are not coterminous with the Mutual
Aid Groups. There would also be complications in deciding which
MPS and LFB should attend, given that their divisional boundaries
are along Borough lines.
There is little clarity as to who would be expected
to lead the Local Resilience Forums, and thus provide the staffing
(in terms of minutes, etc) and funding, such as for meeting rooms.
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?
LBRuT believes that there are inaccuracies within
this chapter of the Bill. LBRuT has been informed that only 15
of the 756 damaged businesses failed to return to Manchester following
LBRuT is further concerned that the costings
seem only to have been completed for Category 2 responders, and
businesses. It does not address the extra costings that would
arise for Category 1 responders.
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 retrained?
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.
The level of funding is currently inadequate,
and does not fully cover requirements such as training, emergency
facilities and other administrative necessities. The additional
responsibilities detailed within the Bill will result in further
deficiencies. LBRuT will now be required to additionally perform
(a) Risk Assessments which, as discussed
above, are believed to add little of value, and yet will require
completion, and then regular updating if they are to have any
(b) Business Continuity. Whilst there is
currently a Business Continuity programme within the Authority,
the level of additional duties gained by the Emergency Planning
Officer will result in the requirement of additional personnel.
This will be of particular relevance given the requirement for
local authorities to promote business continuity within their
area, where professional support and advice will be expected,
and there is the potential for personal and professional liability.
(c) Liaison at the Local Resilience Forum,
and at the various Regional meeting, will result in further expenditure
in terms of time and travel. Already, various commitments to London
Resilience Team initiatives are resulting in additional costs
to LBRuT. LBRuT is in the fortunate position of not having to
fund a secondee to the LRT.
9. Do you agree that performance should be
audited through existing mechanisms? If not, what mechanism would
you like to see established?
Existing mechanisms will be fine, although there
is concern as to who would be qualified to audit subjective issues,
such as planning arrangements and risk assessments.
10. Do you agree with the role of the Regional
Nominated Coordinator? If not, who should take responsibility
at the regional level, and with what responsibilities?
LBRuT is concerned that this role does not impose
on what are already well-established systems. The appointment
must be flexible, there should be an ability to change the appointment
as the situation develops.
11. Do you agree with the principle of applying
special legislative measures on a regional basis? Please explain
LBRuT has no objection.
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 security 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?
LBRuT 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.
LBRuT has no objection.
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?
Further to the comments made at questions 5
and 8, LBRuT would like to highlight concerns regarding the use
of short term secondees for staffing the LRT, and the additional
costs that have arisen with the creation of the LRT. LBRuT would
also like clarity regarding the liaison arrangements that will
be required at the local level, and the funding that will support
Councillor David Marlow
Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning
14 August 2003