Civil Contingencies Law

From Vicki Birch, States of Jersey Fire and Rescue Service

“Dear Grouville Parishioners,

As you will be aware, the Report of the Jersey Independent COVID-19 Review, High Expectations, contained a number of recommendations aimed at ensuring that civil contingencies legislation in the States of Jersey is up-to-date and fit for the needs of the response to future major emergencies. In particular, it recommended that a new Civil Contingencies Law be prioritised to be completed within two years.

This Recommendation echoed a Recommendation made by the Scrutiny Liaison Committee (SLC) / Public Accounts Committee (PAC) who, in their report on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic by the Government of Jersey), recommended that “the Government should prioritise the replacement of the 32 year old Emergency Powers and Planning (Jersey) Law 1990 in order to ensure that it fully reflects the realities of ministerial governance for future crises, drawing on learnings from the Covid 19 pandemic.”

In producing proposals for a new Civil Contingencies Law, the Government wants to ensure that:

  • It covers all experience gained in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including explicitly addressing the areas identified for improvement by the COVID-19 Review and the Comptroller and Auditor General
  • It covers fully the respective roles of the Council of Ministers and of the Emergencies Council in circumstances where a State of Emergency has not been declared, one of the key areas identified by the Comptroller and Auditor General (see below)
  • The conclusions are soundly based; it gathers evidence from a wide range of organisations and individuals, not only within the public sector but also in businesses, in the voluntary and community sector, and in Parishes and communities
  • It draws on international leading practice on the legislative arrangements that best support the building of resilience and preparedness across an island state like Jersey.

The Government has asked Bruce Mann and Kathy Settle to facilitate the development of proposals for this new legislation. Bruce and Kathy are highly experienced resilience experts who previously led the Civil Contingencies Secretariat in the Cabinet Office in the UK Government as Director and Deputy Director, including in the introduction and amendment of the UK’s civil contingencies legislation. They have also supported a range of international governments in improving their emergency preparedness, and a number of Local Resilience Forums in England. In March 2022, they also published an Independent Review of the [UK] Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and its Supporting Arrangements which drew on international best practice in making recommendations on how UK resilience could be improved, which was cited by the UK Government as influencing their thinking in the recently published UK Government Resilience Framework.

In developing their analysis and recommendations, Bruce and Kathy are keen to seek input from a wide cross-section of stakeholders across Jersey. This will include (subject to their availability) interviews with a selection of political leaders in the Government and the States Assembly, all partners in the Jersey Resilience Forum and relevant Departments in the Jersey Government. It will also include group interviews with representatives from the business sector and the voluntary and community sector (VCS), and group discussions with a selection of Parishes and community groups.

We would therefore be grateful if you could take part in an interview with Bruce and Kathy. Ideally, this will take place face-to-face and is expected to last for 90 minutes. “

Anyone who wishes to take part, please confirm with Vicki Birch at [email protected] or on 01534 445908.