Somerset County Council

Somerset local authorities civil contingencies partnership


This Partnership is responsible for providing the front line local authority response to an emergency. The Duty Civil Contingencies Officer (DCCO) provides cover all day every day.

All officers within the Civil Contingencies Unit have specific work allocations and support the District and Borough Councils with these areas.  

What we do

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 delivers a single framework for civil protection in the United Kingdom, capable of meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century. The Act is separated into two substantive parts: local arrangements for civil protection and emergency powers. This Act has been reviewed following emergencies such as the Gloucester Floods and the subsequent Pitt Review recommendations in case of future flooding. This review was called the Civil Contingencies Act Enhancement Programme.

The Act and supporting regulations and guidance, establish a clear set of roles and responsibilities for those involved in emergency preparation and response at the local level. The Act divides local responders into two categories, imposing a different set of duties on each. 

Those in Category 1, are organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies (for example, emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies). Category 1 responders are subject to the full set of civil protection duties. They are required to:

  • Assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to inform contingency planning
  • Put in place emergency plans
  • Put in place Business Continuity Management arrangements
  • 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
  • Share information with other local responders to enhance co-ordination
  • Co-operate with other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency; and
  • Provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management (local authorities only). 

Liaison with District and Borough Councils

Below are the District and Borough Council officers who have a Civil Contingencies Officers and Business Continuity role within their councils:  

  • Mendip District Council - Claire Malcolmson     
  • Sedgemoor District Council - Sarah Dowden
  • South Somerset District Council - Pam Harvey
  • Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council - Scott Weetch

Business Continuity

One of the requirements on Local Authorities under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 is the provision of business continuity advice and guidance. The Civil Contingencies Unit has an Officer who is responsible for this role.  He works with the County and District/Borough Officers to ensure sufficient Business Continuity Plans are in place.

  • Business Continuity Officer - Philip Povey

Duty Civil Contingencies Officer (DCCO)

The DCCO is alerted through a pager system operated by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, who call us whenever a potential emergency is declared by one of the Emergency Services. Once paged, the DCCO calls the Somerset Fire Command and Mobilising Centre to collect the alert message, gather further information and any contact details. As most emergencies are reported to the emergency services, calls from the public would be passed on by the same route.

Once alerted, the DCCO generally collects a situation report from the main agency involved and then consults their Standing Instructions for guidance as to the next steps. Generally, this involves passing the alert on to the appropriate Somerset County Council Departments, Somerset District Councils, other agencies and organisations that experience has shown would be involved in the response to the type of emergency.

Alerted organisations then react by following pre-arranged procedures for dealing with the particular type of incident that has occurred. In some instances, alerting calls may also be made to adjacent local authorities, Somerset County Councillors, or to Regional or Central Government.

Emergency Control Centre

A Joint Emergency Control Centre will be established for widespread or serious emergencies, which would co-ordinate local authority actions.

Liaison with others

We liaise with a wide range of organisations and agencies during planning, training, exercising and response to an incident including:

  • Somerset County Council 
  • Mendip District Council
  • Sedgemoor District Council
  • South Somerset District Council
  • Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council
  • Emergency services - police, fire, ambulance and coastguard
  • Health services
  • Regional and Central Government departments
  • Armed services
  • Adjoining local authorities
  • Utilities and public services
  • Maritime agencies
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Wildlife and conservation organisations
  • Media
  • Faith communities  


Contact: Somerset Local Authorities' Civil Contingencies Unit 
Address: Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4DY 
Phone 0300 123 2224 

Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

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