Analysis of Key Corporate Risk 12:  Response to Major Incidents

1.    This Annex provides a more detailed analysis of KCR12 – Response to Major Incidents.  


2.    The description of this risk is as follows: MAJOR INCIDENTS: Failure to respond appropriately to major incidents

The Local Authorities are required by law to make preparations to deal with emergencies. Local Authorities have four main responsibilities in an emergency

·         To support the Emergency Services,

·         To co-ordinate non-emergency organisations,

·         To maintain their own services through a robust Business Continuity Management process

·         To facilitate the recovery of the community.

·         Since 2013 the council also has a statutory duty to protect the health of the population under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and the transfer of public health responsibilities to local authorities.


3.    The Council must ensure that its resources are used to best effect in providing relief and mitigating the effects of a major peacetime emergency on the population, infrastructure and environment coming under its administration. This will be done either alone or in conjunction with the Emergency Services and other involved agencies, including neighbouring authorities.


Risk Detail

4.    An uncoordinated or poor response to a major incident such as:

·         Flood

·         Major Fire

·         Terrorist Attack

·         Pandemic e.g. COVID-19 or Influenza

Failure to protect citizens from the adverse impacts of climate change


Implications and Consequence


5.    The Civil Contingencies Act of 2004 establishes a clear set of roles and responsibilities for those involved in emergency preparation and response at the local level and divides local responses into 2 categories, imposing a different set of duties on each.


6.    Those in Category 1 are the organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies (the emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies). Category 1 responders are subject to the full set of civil protection duties. They will be 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

·         provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management (local authorities only)

7.    Category 2 organisations (the Health and Safety Executive, telecommunications, transport and utility companies etc.) are ‘co-operating bodies’. They are less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work, but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their own sector. Category 2 responders have a lesser set of duties - co-operating and sharing relevant information with other Category 1 and 2 responders.


8.    Category 1 and 2 organisations 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.”


9.    Other coordinating bodies do not have any duties under the CCA 2004.  There are other organisations outside the framework of the Act which are also brought into co-operation with the duty-holders in certain circumstances, such as for example the military.


10.  City of York Council is a Category 1 responder under the Act, planning for reduction in the cause, or measures to control or mitigate the effects of an emergency are a fundamental to and effective response and recovery from disasters failure to plan and prepare could result in death or serious injury, Damage to property, reputational damage, and a reduction in life expectancy. Litigation is a risk to the Authority with a potential for manslaughter if actions are not implemented.




Control Measure and Mitigation 


11. Emergency plans and Business Continuity Plans are in place and reviewed regularly with high priority risks receiving priority attention. A new structure has been adopted within the Local Resilience Forum giving a clear structure for effective governance.  Risks are reviewed across the LRF where partner agencies and organisations agree measures of escalation for incident response and a detailed and prioritised work plan.












LRF Structure


Business Continuity


12. Business Continuity (BC) is key to allowing essential services to continue to deliver during an emergency of major incident.  This has been more that evident during the last 2 years of the pandemic with continual changes in working arrangements, delivery of goods and supplies and lockdown restrictions. City of York council acted quickly to activate BC plans, anticipating, assessing and adapting as necessary, continuing to provide statutory responsibilities and respond to the challenges of the pandemic along with concurrent incidents.


13. During the pandemic the Internal Audit team have reviewed the process for BC.  Recommendations and actions agreed to further improve the BC process, these actions are on target to be addressed by January 2022. This will ensure we capture all the learning from the previous year’s incidents and provide clear audit trail of BC activity from activations and changes in the procedure and capture training and exercising events.



14. The Response to Major and Critical Incidents (RMCI) is a robust procedure to notify all partner agencies of incidents within the area that may cause disruption to services or require a coordinated response. All partner agencies are signed up to receive the alerts.


15. CYC have a variety of agreed platforms to communicate with both internal and external partners. The systems have been further extended during the pandemic and now include wider access for users to work from a variety of locations and settings using a variety of platforms.


16. The CYC communication team are consulted in major incident plans and prepare statements to warn and inform the public, provide advice and reassurance  where necessary and also represent the City on the LRF Communications group to ensure messages are coordinated and amplified Countywide.





17. Very strong partnerships and working arrangements are in place and well established with partner agencies including Police, Fire, Ambulance, Health partnerships and surrounding Authorities. Joint Emergency Services interoperability Principles (JESIP) are embedded within all preparation, plans and training to ensure a coordinated response to incidents.



18. During the previous two years the York Flood Plan has been fully reviewed and updated to prioritise high risk flood areas of the City and wider area with revised triggers and actions to accommodate the extensive flood defence schemes under construction across the area. This complements the new Strategic flood plan for the LRF area submitted to the Environment Agency in September this year and an ongoing evacuation and Shelter plan for parts of the City currently being undertaken.


Major Fire

19. North Yorkshire fire and rescue are active members of the LRF not only do they chair the risk group and training and exercise group but also take an active part in all other groups at LRF and City level and engage in each training session to ensure risk of fire is addressed. As active members of the Safety Advisory Group all event coordinators are provided with expert advice on fire reduction measures and necessary preventative actions


Terrorist Attack

20. York has a very active Counter Terrorism Tasking Group with a focused and prioritised work schedule, The group includes all aspects of Council services, business and tourism sectors and partner agencies including Counter Terrorism Security Advisors and security specialists, this compliments and dovetails into the York Safety Advisory Groups to ensure local events receive the highest standards of safety and security planning advice available.


21. Public safety at events is paramount to ensure the safety of our communities and visitors Hostile Vehicle Mitigation has been introduced to the higher risk areas of the city to protect high volumes of pedestrians at events such as the St. Nicholas Christmas Market providing reassurance given the increase in the National Security threat level following recent attacks across Europe.


Covid-19 Pandemic Local Outbreak Management and Response.


22. The City has been positive and proactive in dealing with Covid-19 and its effects on the locality over the previous 2 years. From the first identified case in the UK working closely with Public Health England (now renamed UK Health Protection agency) all levels of Command have been engaged in the response with partner agencies at local, County wide, Regional and National level.


23. Local Outbreak Management Group, Outbreak management Board, local and regional testing sites have given residents easy access to testing facilities across the City and local track and trace has been ensured residents are given the necessary support.


24. High risk settings such as Care Homes, University, Schools and businesses have also received support and guidance throughout the covid response. The Director of Public Health (DPH) works closely with other partners agencies to assess the level of risk and applies mitigation measures and communication to reduce the impact.


25. CYC was subject to a peer review (LGA Outbreak Management Peer Challenge) a copy is attached


Failure to protect Citizens from climate change –

Reduction in life Expectancy

26. Climate change itself does not fall directly within the Civil Contingencies Act however the consequences of such change in the climate could increase the risk and frequency of incidents of severe weather and flooding. City of York Council have recently appointed Claire Foal as Assistant Director with responsibility for climate change. Regular reviews and reporting of carbon emissions and regular updates on the climate change action plan are given to PH/CMT.


27. Communication to citizens identify steps they can take to reduce climate change impact along with sustainability leads group encouraging City partners to work together to reduce impact


Report by

Steve Ball Emergency Planning Manager

City of York Council


Consultation with

Sharon Stoltz  - Director of Public Health

Claire Foale     - Assistant Director Policy and Strategy (including Climate Change)

James Gilchrist -  Director  Transport, Environment and Planning

Neil Ferris  - Corporate Director of Place