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Agenda Item No 5

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee: 12th September 2018


Report of the Director of Environment and Housing


Update Report on the Work of the Civil Protection Unit


Purpose of the Report

  1. To update Committee on the operational work plan for the Civil Protection Unit


That the work of the Civil Protection Unit is noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

To ensure that members of the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee are aware of the work of the unit.


  1. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004(CCA) places a statutory duty on category 1 and category 2 responders.  Local authorities are category 1 responders under this provisions and have set duties specified in the CCA (2004)
  2. The Civil Protection Unit (CPU) ensures that the Council fulfils the duties specified under the Act.
  3. The South Wales Local Resilience Forum (SWLRF) Coordinator 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 the line management of this role. 
  4. The CPU has a duty officer on-call 24/7 out of hours.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Regrettably, an element of the work of the Civil Protection Unit has slipped slightly due to the Civil Protection Officer leaving his post in October 2017; this represents a 50% reduction in the staffing available in this team.
  2. In addition, the new SWLRF Coordinator commenced employment at the end of November 2017 at this time it was anticipated that they would need to be supported in the short term. However, the post holder left after 8 weeks, for another position leaving the running and work of SWLRF to revert to the PCPO.
  3. A new Civil Protection Officer (CPO) was appointed in February 2018 and is currently undertaking training, coaching and a programme of development and learning about the Council and the profession.
  4. As regards the work undertaken by the team since the last committee update, Storm Emma hit the Vale in early March 2018 and resulted in a Snow Emergency.  The response to this emergency was led and coordinated by the CPU, the Council's Emergency control Room in F26 at the Alps was open for 8 days, running from 0600 hrs - 2300 hrs.
  5. This was a prolonged emergency for the Vale Council as we were harder 'hit' in the rural areas, while in other areas response lasted one or two days the Vale Council were responding for 8 days, with major roads including the Five Mile lane blocked.
  6. The Emergency Control Centre at F26 coordinated the resources across the Council to ensure that the critical services could operate, it also supported partner agencies like the Cardiff and Vale Health Board to ensure that its community based services could still be provided within the Vale area. (Appendix 1 Snow map Facts)
  7. Following the snow emergency internal debriefs a number of action points were identified. The CPU is working with the Council's Highways staff to ensure that any lessons identified are learnt and resultant actions embedded into our plans for the forthcoming winter period. (Appendix 2 Snow Debrief 2018)
  8. The CPU has responded to a number of incidents over the period including fires at St Athan and Barry, coastal incidents, including objects in the sea of and cliff falls, loose horses, unauthorised traveller encampments and issues resulting from a period of prolonged hot weather.
  9. The CPU duty officer procedures have been reviewed and the internal and external contacts directories have been updated in line with the Councils GDPR policy.
  10. The review of the Council's Business Continuity Management Programme has been paused; this is to allow the CPO to attend the appropriate training, which he is attending in September 2018. The Business Impact analysis that has involved a review of the Council Priority Services (previously called critical) is completed and will allow for a solid base on which to progress this project. .
  11. The CPU take on active role in the work of the Building Security group and this group helps to ensure the safety of our staff at all our various offices.
  12. The Principal Civil Protection Officer chairs the Events Safety Advisory Group (ESAG) which meets every 6 weeks and has dealt with a number of long standing planned events and new first-time and one off events within the Vale.
  13. 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. The exercise to validate the plan is scheduled for January / February 2019.
  14. The Vale of Glamorgan Community Risk Register work has slipped due to changes in staffing arrangements in partner's agencies, this work is now being progressed.
  15. The PCPO is a member of the Cardiff Airport Emergency Group, a major exercise will be held before the end of 2018 and the PCPO has been requested to advise and support on this.
  16. The new SWLRF Coordinator will be commencing in post at the beginning of October 2018, this post has been vacant since February 2018 and the CPU has acted as the interim coordinator to ensure that the SWLRF can function and that there is continuity. It is anticipated that this will need minimum support; this will be a managerial and monitoring task.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. None.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None directly arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Civil Contingencies Act  2004
  2. Control of Major Accidents Hazards (COMAH Regulations 2015)

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. The main role of the Unit is to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff and residents of the Vale.  This is consistent with Wellbeing Outcome 4: An Active and Healthy Vale.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. As this service covers the full Vale area no individual ward Member consultation has been undertaken.

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Debbie Spargo, Principal Civil Protection Officer 029 673044

Officers Consulted


Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Environment & Housing Services