The purpose of the Act is to establish a new statutory framework for civil protection at the local level. Local responders are the building block of resilience in the UK, and the Act will enhance existing arrangements by:
- Establishing a clear set of roles and responsibilities for local responders;
- Giving greater structure and consistency to local civil protection activity; and
- Establishing a sound basis for performance management at a local level.
Under the Act all Local Authorities are classed as Category 1 Responders. Category 1 responders are the organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies.
Category 1 responders include:
- Local authorities (Essex County Council & Tendring District Council)
- Government Agencies (Environment Agency)
- Emergency Services (Essex Police Force, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service & East of England Ambulance Service)
- Health Bodies (Essex Primary Care Trusts)
This means that local authorities have the same duty in planning for a major incident as the emergency services.
The duties of category 1 responders include:
- Assessing the risk of emergencies occurring and using 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).
Category 2 organisations are "co-operating bodies" who while less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their sector.
Category 2 Responders include:
- Transport Companies
- Other Government Departments (i.e. HSE)
Category 1 and 2 organisations will come together to form 'Local Resilience Forums' (based on police areas) which will help co-ordination and co-operation between responders at the local level.