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Preparing for emergencies - the UK guidance

The Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) was set up by the Home Office to improve the UK’s resilience against disruptive challenges through working with others to anticipate, assess, prevent, prepare, respond and recover. They define resilience as the ability at every level - national, regional and local - to detect, prevent and if necessary, handle disruptive challenges. These could range from floods, through to outbreaks of human and animal disease, and terrorist attacks.

The CCS aims to ensure that the UK and its communities remain a safe and secure place to live and work, by effectively identifying and managing the risk of emergencies, and maintaining world-class capabilities to respond to and recover from emergencies

Like all Cabinet Office Secretariats, they support Ministers collectively. Specifically, they service the Committees chaired by the Home Secretary which address consequence management and resilience issues, and the Civil Contingencies Committee which handles individual crises as they arise.

They have a number of specific objectives:

  • Spotting trouble, assessing its nature and providing warning
  • Being ready to respond
  • Building greater resilience for the future
  • Providing leadership and guidance to the resilience community
  • Effective management

The CCS carries out this work within the overall framework of the Cabinet Office, whose aim it is to make the government more effective by providing a strong centre. It does this by working alongside the Treasury and Prime Minister’s Office.

Civil Contingencies Act

A key focus for the CCS is supporting the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA). The threat of international terrorism and a changing climate have led to a series of emergencies and heightened concerns for the future. The Act creates a long-term foundation for civil contingencies capable of meeting these challenges at a national and a local level. It delivers a long-term national framework for civil protection fit for the challenges of the 21st Century.

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