London chief executives have signed up to a rota system, known as 'local authority gold' where 11 of the 33 take it in turn to serve two-week shifts (LGC, 4 June). If a catastrophic event happens during their shift, they will take responsibility for co-ordinating council services.
Local government minister Nick Raynsford gave a pump-priming grant of several hundred thousand pounds to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority to set up the 'LA gold' office.
LFEPA will develop an extranet service for selected users and provide ongoing training for chief executives.
He added that 'the commitment was there' and hoped the extra money would be available in a few months' time.
In Greater Manchester, metropolitan chief executives signed up to a gold control rota in February 2002.
The rota is split into one-week shifts, but the duty chief executive is not expected to 'sit by the phone'.
If that officer is away in the event of a disaster, responsibility passes to the next person on the list.