Greater Manchester agencies working in partnership
Greater Manchester agencies working in partnership

What is the Civil Contingencies Act 2004?

The Civil Contingencies Act establishes a new legislative framework for civil protection in the United Kingdom. It imposes a clear set of roles and responsibilities on those organisations with a role to play in preparing for and responding to emergencies.

What is an emergency?

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 defines an emergency as:

  • An event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the UK
  • An event or situation that threatens serious damage to the environment of a place in the UK
  • War or Terrorism which threatens serious damage to the security of the UK.

Additionally, to constitute an emergency, an event or situation must pose a considerable test for an organisation’s ability to perform it’s functions.

Provisions of the Civil Contingencies Act

The Act is separated into two parts: local arrangements for civil protection (Part 1) and emergency powers (Part 2).

Part 1 of the Act, the supporting Regulations and statutory guidance Emergency Preparedness, establishes a clear set of roles and responsibilities for those involved in emergency preparation and response at the local level. Local responders are divided into two categories, with a different set of duties applying to each.

Category 1 responders are those organisations at the core of emergency response (e.g. emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies). Category 1 responders are subject to the full set of civil protection duties. 

Category 2 responders are required to co-operate and share information with other Category 1 and 2 responders to ensure that they are well integrated within wider emergency planning frameworks, and contribute their expertise on risks and essential services in the form of the Local Resilience Forums.