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CIVIL CONTINGENCIES PROPOSALS

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Proposals designed to improve the resilience of Scotland's communities against the threat posed by natural or man m...
Proposals designed to improve the resilience of Scotland's communities against the threat posed by natural or man made emergencies were published today.

The consultation on the 'Draft Regulations and Guidance on Part One of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004' aims to establish a statutory framework for civil protection at the local level, setting out clear roles and responsibilities for frontline organisations in preparing for emergencies.

These organisations include the emergency services, local authorities, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and transport providers. The regulations and guidance will also affect utilities and other private sector companies.

The part played by the voluntary organisations who provide relief to victims and emergency workers during an emergency is recognised in the Draft Regulations and Guidance.

The consultation period is 12 weeks and the deadline for responses is 25 April.

The previous legislation - the Civil Defence Act 1948 - was accepted as being outmoded in a modern setting and the new proposals should ensure that preparing for emergencies becomes part of normal business and people will know what to do and what help is available locally in a time of crisis.

Deputy justice minister Hugh Henry said:

'The nature of modern society, the complexities of the systems that sustain our lifestyles and the new threats we face all mean we need to look again at how well prepared we are when something goes wrong.

'The aim of the Civil Contingencies Act is to build Scotland's resilience to the challenges we may face.

'That means ensuring that smaller emergencies will be taken in our stride whilst the same arrangements will support our response to major national events.

'Providing the kind of protection that Scotland expects means recognising that the response to major emergencies will be led at the local level and that a large number of organisations have a vital part to play in a combined response.

'That's why it's so important that we consult to ensure an effective and joined-up solution with those who will deliver the services that ordinary people need.

'Our challenge at a national level is to provide clear direction with a flexible structure that is both effective and resilient.'

The proposals include:

* Co-operation and information sharing - local responders will be required to co-operate individually and through a group of senior managers in each of Scotland's eight police force areas. The groups will work closely with the Scottish Executive in both preparation and response to emergencies

* Risk assessment - key responders will be required to assess the risk of emergencies occurring in their areas and collaborate with their partners in producing a community risk register

* Planning to respond to emergency - those responders will be required to make arrangements to carry out their normal functions and, if necessary, use them to respond, to emergencies identified by their risk assessment

* In addition arrangements must be made to warn and inform the public about an emergency

* Publishing plans and assessments - The Community Risk Register, emergency plans and arrangements to warn the public should be published to assist in preventing or reducing the effects of an emergency

* Advice and assistance on business continuity management for business and voluntary organisations - local authorities will be required to provide general advice on business continuity management. If requested by a business or voluntary organisation councils may provide more detailed advice or refer those requesting information to a business continuity consultant

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