The County Emergency Planning Service (CEPS) is responsible for ensuring the County Council is adequately prepared for and able to respond to major emergencies or disasters that affect Devon. The Council has a statutory responsibility under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to prepare plans for civil protection and to respond to emergency situations, alongside partner agencies. Emergency plans are prepared for those situations considered to carry the greatest risk or threat to the communities of Devon. Plans are prepared and tested in advance in conjunction with district councils, the emergency services and other responders under the umbrella of the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Resilience Forum (LRF).
CEPS undertakes and participates in the following functions:
- Risk assessment – the assessment of local risks can be found in the Community Risk Register, on the LRF website.
- Emergency preparation and planning. Plans are prepared for situations judged most likely to impact the communities of Devon or for known risks. Plans will document preventative measures to be taken wherever possible, as well as response protocols.
- Business continuity – we ensure there are plans in place to minimise any disrupion to the Council’s services. Plans cover a wide variety of emergency situations which may be through an external emergency, such as flooding or influenza pandemic, or through internal disruptions such as power failure or the loss of all or part of a building. We also try and encourage business continuity planning amongst small businesses and the voluntary sector.
- Emergency response – trigger points are identified to invoke our response mechanisms, which will include the opening of rest centres. Devon County Council staff also help at survivors reception centres and friends and family reception centres where required. A duty officer is on call 24 x 7 to cordinate the response.
- Recovery – CEPS will help identify resources required to aid recovery from emergency situations, including the involvement of other parts of the Council and other agencies.
- Warning and informing – there is also a duty on councils to provide information to the public and business communities on dealing with emergencies.
CEPS is a member of the Devon Emergency Planning Partnership (DEPP) which aims to provide a single and sustainable emergency planning service to its local authority partners.
Originally formed in April 2016 in response to the ongoing challenge of maintaining expertise and the increasing demands on some district council officers with responsibility for emergency planning. DEPP aim is to make Devon more resilient by ensuring that all partners have plans that are consistent, up to date and reflect current legislation and best practise; staff are trained to deliver the plans; the partnership can speak as a single voice to influence others on behalf of Devon; and information coming from national or local networks is shared to enable all partners to implement any necessary changes. This arrangement, which involves all Devon local authorities, enables mutual aid for Devon at times of greatest need. DEPP will not be involved in the response phase of any incident, but will ensure that all partners are in a position to respond effectively and in partnership.
The service delivers:
- an agreed project plan focussing on key objectives for each year
- common templates for all plans, including response, recovery and business continuity
- a shared understanding of the skills required by each partner to ensure that the response function can be fulfilled
- identification and embedding of best practice in relation to emergency planning
- engagement with the LRF and partners across the County and more widely, developing strategic relationships to the benefit of DEPP
- guidance to partners on information coming from the LRF and nationally
- support in the lead up to major incidents
- provision of training to embed plans for all partners
- consideration to ways of generating income that will be used to the benefit of the Service
The key elements we advocate for our successful service are:
- Retaining and building on existing skills and knowledge limiting duplication but retaining minimum standards
- Being a service that can speak for Devon
- A strong governance with all partners having a voice to influence work plans and the business model.
Telephone: 01392 382680
Postal address: Emergency Planning, Devon County Council, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD