Agenda Item No. 7

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee: 17  January, 2018

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

The Civil Protection Unit - Responsibilities and Work Plan

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise Committee of the responsibilities of the Council's Civil Protection Unit and to detail the current work plan.

Recommendation

  1. That the Civil Protection Unit's responsibilities and work plan are noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

  1. To ensure that Members of the Committee are aware of the responsibilities of the unit and of the arrangements in place to assist the Council in meeting its legal obligations.

Background

  1. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 places a statutory duty on Category 1 and Category 2 responders.
  2. Local Authorities are Category 1 responders under this provisions and have a duty to:

a) Assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to inform contingency planning;

b) Put in place emergency plans;

c) Put in place Business Continuity Management arrangements;

d) Put in place arrangements to make information available to the public about civil protection matters and maintain arrangements to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency;

e) Share information with other local responders to enhance co-ordination;

f)  Co-operate with other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency; and

g) Provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management.

  1. The Civil Protection Unit ensures that the Council fulfils the above duties.
  2. Additionally Local Authorities must have regard for the voluntary sector and also work closely with Category 2 responders, such as utility companies.
  3. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 equally places duties on - the emergency services; health organisations and Natural Resources Wales as they are all Category 1 responders.
  4. South Wales Local Resilience Forum (SWLRF) is the forum that ensures co-operation and information sharing amongst responders and sets strategic direction across the South Wales region for its multi-agency members.
  5. This is Chaired by Assistant Chief Constable South Wales Police, the Vice Chair is the Director of Environment and Housing, Vale of Glamorgan Council.
  6. SWLRF has a number of sub-groups looking at various issues such as mass fatalities; training and exercises ; recovery plans; flooding; warning and informing; risk; infectious disease, etc. Officers from all Local Authority emergency planning units share representation and play a leading role in the activities of these sub-groups.
  7. The SWLRF Co-ordinator is hosted by Vale of Glamorgan Council; this post is funded from all Category 1 responders of SWLRF. The Principal Civil Protection Officer is responsible for line management of this role.
  8. The Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has a duty officer on-call 24/7 out of hours.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The CPU has an Emergency Plan Review Framework to ensure that plans are reviewed on a regular basis (Appendix A) and also has a Team Plan 2016-2020 (Appendix B).
  2. In the event of an emergency or incident the CPU is the single point of contact and co-ordinates the Council's response. Notable recent events include the NATO visit, the Champions League Final and more locally the Flooding, Llandow Waste Fires and the rise in the National Threat level to critical. The team works closely with partner organisations to ensure that the Council is represented and that the impact of the emergency / incident is resolved as soon as practicable with minimum disruption to our communities.
  3. The CPU integrates with the Highways team, Visible Services during the 'winter' with regards to adverse or severe weather. This ensures that if we encounter a severe weather incident we prioritise our services to ensure we can still deliver these as well as continuing our winter gritting programme ensuring that our roads are usable and safe.
  4. The CPU co-ordinates Stray Horse incidents and has developed the Stray Horse Procedure. The CPU is initial point of contact for reports of Traveller Encampments and invokes the procedures with internal staff and external partners.
  5. Together with the Council's Community Safety section, the CPU represents the Council on the national CONTEST Strategy, this includes : Pursue: to stop terrorist attacks, Prevent: to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism, Protect: to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack and Prepare: to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack.
  6. The CPU is leading on the review of the Council's Business Continuity Management Programme, this has involved a review of the Council Priority Services (previously called critical) through a Business Impact analysis. This part of the project is currently being finalised and a report will be compiled for CMT shortly.
  7. The CPU set up a Building Security group with representatives from all relevant service areas, this group will evaluate and implement improvements on card allocation systems, non-staff access and the security culture.
  8. The CPU has co-ordinated and implemented, with Transact, the new staff ID cards and corporate lanyards to all Council staff and Elected Members.
  9. The Principal Civil Protection Officer chairs the Events Safety Advisory Group (ESAG) and Jenner Park Safety Advisory Group; this is made up from relevant Council services and multi-agency partners.
  10. The Barry Chemical Complex External Plan (COMAH) has been reviewed as part of the COMAH regulations and in line with the 3 year required cycle. This will be validated in a multi-agency exercise in April 2018.
  11. The CPU is reviewing the Vale of Glamorgan Community Risk Register; this is compiled in line with the SWLRF Community Risk Register. The process uses national risk and methodology and is compiled on a multi-agency basis
  12. The new SWLRF Co-ordinator took up her post in November 2017, this post has been vacant since February 2017 and the CPU has acted as the interim co-ordinator to ensure that the SWLRF can function and there is continuity. It is anticipated that this support will continue ensure that the SWLRF Business Plan 2016 - 2019 (Appendix C) is delivered.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The unit consists of three full time members of staff, one of which is funded via the SWLRF. There is currently one vacant post in the team and the recruitment arrangements for this post have commenced.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The CPU assists in keeping our residents safe and ensures that emergencies and serious incidence are properly managed so that normality can be achieved as soon as possible following an emergency event.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Authority is obliged to comply with its duties as a Category 1 responder under the provisions of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and also has duties under the Control of Major Accidents Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015 for  co-operation with other bodies and provision of information.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None directly arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. None directly arising from this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This report is for information.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This report is within the policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. N/A

Background Papers

N/A

Contact Officer

Debbie Spargo, Principal Civil Protection Officer

Telephone: 029 20 673 044

Officers Consulted

Committee Report - Legal

Accountant - Visible Services and Building

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing