HC Deb 17 July 2003 vol 409 c500W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what assessment the Office has made of the adequacy of current civil contingency planning; what plans there are to make changes; and if he will make a statement. [126816]

Mr. Alexander

Direct assessment of emergency planning at the local level is carried out through bodies such as the Audit Commission and the emergency services' inspectorates, as part of their wider assessment role.

The draft Civil Contingencies Bill proposes that these bodies, and others such as the utility regulators, will continue to assess civil protection duties in the future, to a more rigorous standard, supported by appropriate regulations and guidance which will set out clear standards and expectations.

At central Government level, the Government are formalising standards and guidelines against which departmental contingency planning activities can be monitored and audited, to ensure that Departments' planning and preparation is performed to the high standard expected by Parliament and the public.