Government extends CCA responsibility to Strategic Health Authorities

 The Act splits local responders into two categories, imposing a different set of duties on each. Category 1 responders are those organisations at the core of emergency response (e.g. emergency services, local authorities, Primary Care Trusts), and are subject to the full range of civil protection duties.

There is also a second category of responders. Category 2 responders are less likely to be involved at the heart of the emergency response, but will be heavily involved in incidents affecting their sectors (e.g. utilities, Health and Safety Executive). The Act requires Category 2 responders to co-operate and share information with other local responders.

It has become necessary to make Strategic Health Authorities a Category 2 responder in order to reflect the evolution of SHAs co-ordination role in relation to emergency planning and response. Making SHAs Category 2 responders under the Act will ensure that they play an appropriate role in local multi-agency civil protection arrangements.

SHAs are the local headquarters of the NHS. As such they are able to mobilise and commit resources across the authority area and are responsible for co-ordination of health services in the event of an emergency as defined in the Act. As part of their role they are responsible for leading local strategic planning, and ensuring that local plans are consistent with NHS guidance and other relevant legislation and guidance.

SHAs also act as a liaison point with other partner organisations outside the NHS and in many areas would represent NHS bodies on Local Resilience Forums (local multi-agency civil protection forums which will be established by Regulations under Part 1 of the Act). Not being a Category 2 responder would mean that SHAs could not fulfil this representative role, and would not be able to seek information and cooperation from other local partners in its own right.

The decision to make SHAs Category 2 responders was made following representations received from SHA Chief Executives and emergency planning leads and in close consultation with representatives of wider NHS bodies. As noted above, Cabinet Office consulted publicly on the draft Civil Contingencies Act Regulations and guidance between December 2004 and March 2005.

While the consultation documents did not specifically seek consultees’ views on whether or not SHAs should be Category 2 responders, a number of consultees from health and nonhealth organisations emphasised the importance of the SHAs being brought within the Act framework. As part of the consultation process the Cabinet Office held eleven roadshow events in the English Regions and in Wales, which also demonstrated clear support for these proposals among representatives of the health responder community.

For more details click HERE! for the Explanatory Memo.

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