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Civil Contingencies Act: 2022 Post-Implementation Review

Volume 711: debated on Tuesday 29 March 2022

I am pleased to inform the House that a comprehensive report, the “2022 Post Implementation Review of the Civil Contingencies Act” has today been laid before Parliament. This will succeed the 2017 “Report of the Post Implementation Review of the Civil Contingencies Act (2004) (Contingency Planning) Regulations 2005” in fulfilling the Government’s statutory obligation to review the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) every five years, as stipulated in regulation 59 of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (Contingency Planning) Regulations 2005.

The CCA sets out a framework for emergency preparedness in the UK, it defines what an emergency is, creates the conditions for effective multi-agency working at the local level and provides emergency powers which allow the Government to react quickly to make temporary special legislation in the most serious of emergencies. Emergency preparedness, supported by the CCA, is essential to protect the UK from hazards and threats that have the potential to cause harm. This post-implementation review (PIR) provides a technical assessment of the legislative framework to ensure that it remains appropriate and sufficient in order to maintain and improve the emergency preparedness landscape. This report will act as a building block for wider work to continue in the coming months and years to make the UK as resilient as possible.

To produce this report, the Government have conducted extensive consultation on the CCA with a range of stakeholders at the local and national level including local resilience forums (LRFs), responder organisations and the devolved Administrations, as well as providing opportunity for public comment on the Act via the resilience strategy call for evidence (summer 2021). Lessons from events since the last PIR were also considered.

The evidence gathered has demonstrated that fundamentally the CCA has served responders well since 2004 and that the principles of subsidiarity, co-operation and co-ordination it sets out remain key. The CCA, as a whole, is fit for purpose. However, the PIR does recommend a number of technical changes to improve the legislative framework under four key themes: role of LRFs and resilience structures; assurance and accountability; categorisation and duties on responder organisations; and part 2—emergency powers and regional nominated co-ordinator. A comprehensive description of these recommendations can be found in the full report.

Following the laying of the PIR, the Government will now turn their attention to how these recommendations may be implemented, beginning first with a process of impact assessments and further stakeholder engagement to ensure that enacting the recommendations will achieve their intended purposes. The Government will also continue to consider which future policy changes may be required to ensure local levels of preparedness meet future needs effectively.