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British Red Cross calls for 'urgent review' of the UK Civil Contingencies Act

In a new report 'People power in emergencies: An assessment of voluntary and community sector engagement and human-centred approaches to emergency planning', the British Red Cross looks at community resilience and calls for 'urgent review' of the UK Civil Contingencies Act.

The report shows that the amount and effectiveness of collaboration between the voluntary and community groups and local resilience forums can vary.

Where it is lowest, the result is emergency planning and responses that focus mainly on statutory agencies and ‘command and control’ mechanisms. This misses opportunities to mobilise people power so that communities can build their resilience and support their own recovery from within.

The report’s key recommendation is for an urgent review of the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act. The British Red Cross is calling for the UK Government to enshrine in law the role of the voluntary and community sector in emergencies. This will give individuals and communities more say in how they are treated and the support they get in an emergency. Other recommendations include:

  • Improved ‘human centred’ guidance for local resilience forums. Government to amend the Civil Contingencies Act, Regulations and Guidance to require local resilience forums, in partnership with the voluntary and community sector, to ensure that the plans formulated by local resilience forums fully meet the humanitarian needs of their communities.
  • Developing, building and sharing best practice. Government to deliver on its commitment to community engagement in emergencies. This includes the outlined Community Resilience Development Framework, and local resilience forums adopting a ‘people at the heart of planning’ checklist. Closer collaboration across agencies and with people and communities themselves will enhance the response provided during and following incidents such as a fire or flood, wherever and wherever that emergency happens.

Read the report (PDF).

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