The Civil Contingencies Unit is responsible for developing and maintaining the emergency plans, processes, training and exercises to ensure that the local authority can respond promptly and effectively to emergencies in Somerset in order to support residents and communities.
What we do
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 sets out the 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.
Category 1 organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies (for example, emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies). Category 1 responders 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).
Somerset Council is a Category 1 responder under the Act.
Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the council is required to have plans in place to ensure that essential services can continue to be delivered in the event of disruptions. The Civil Contingencies Unit staff work with officers across the council to make sure that effective Business Continuity plans are in place.
The council is also required to provide business continuity advice and guidance.
Duty Civil Contingencies Officer (DCCO)
Civil Continuities Unit staff participate in a 24/7 on-call rota so that the emergency services and other responders can contact the council in an emergency.
The Duty Civil Contingencies Officer is responsible for alerting other council staff who may be required to assist in emergency situations.
Working together before and during emergencies
We work with a wide range of organisations and agencies to plan, train, exercising and respond to emergencies. Multi-agency planning is coordinated through the Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Forum which is chaired by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
Partner organisations include:
- Emergency services – police, fire, ambulance and coastguard
- Health services
- Regional and Central Government departments and agencies
- Armed services
- Utility and transport organisations
- Maritime agencies
- Voluntary organisations
The Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Forum has produced and published a community risk register for Somerset. It gives a broad overview of the potential risks.
The council supports and encourages local communities to be prepared for emergency situations.
The Civil Contingencies Unit provides the secretariat for the Somerset Prepared Partnership. The partnership can provide advice, help, ideas, small grants and an annual community resilience conference.
For more information, visit Somerset Prepared.
Avon and Somerset Community Risk Register: Community-Risk-Register-April-17.pdf (somersetprepared.org.uk)
Visit gov.uk to read about the Civil Contingencies Act 2004