HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc288-9W
Miss Anne McIntosh

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent review of civil contingencies procedures there has been. [82223]

Mr. Alexander

The Civil Contingencies Committee (CCC) has conducted a wide-ranging review of the United Kingdom's contingencies procedures and infrastructure. In conducting the review, the CCC worked systematically through Government Departments, the emergency services, local authorities and the devolved Administrations. The arrangements are revised and tested through exercises to encourage continual improvement of our response arrangements.

Contingency plans for civil emergencies are reviewed by the departmental owners of those plans and exercises are carried out on a routine basis to test their effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. This process is co-ordinated by a Cabinet Committee (DOP(IT)(R), chaired by the Home Secretary, with support from officials in the Cabinet Office.

The Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) is currently co-ordinating a rewrite of the third edition of "Dealing with Disaster", which is the core guidance document on planning for, responding to, and recovering from a major disruptive incident. The Government have also sponsored a review of emergency planning. The recommendations are being incorporated into the programme of work leading towards a civil contingencies Bill.