Exotic animal disease contingency framework plan: August 2022

Version seven of our contingency framework plan covering exotic notifiable diseases of livestock.

Chapter 2. Structures for control and co-ordination

2.1. An outbreak of exotic notifiable animal disease anywhere in UK has the potential for significant and serious consequences in Scotland. This is because Scottish agriculture is part of the UK economy and not a separate entity.

Introduction to Scottish control structures

2.2. In Scotland, disease will be confirmed by the CVO Scotland. Reports of suspect disease will be made by the local APHA Duty Vet to APHA's Veterinary Exotic Notifiable Diseases Unit (VENDU), which would in turn notify all 4 CVOs from each UK administration and key officials from government and APHA. The control policy for Scotland will be decided by the Scottish Government, informed by advice from APHA, the NEEG, the EPIC Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks, and if necessary, the relevant NEG. In all cases, there will be close links between all 4 UK administrations.

2.3. Following confirmation of an animal disease outbreak in Scotland, the Scottish Government's Exotic Diseases of Animals Contingency Framework Plan will be implemented. This plan is complemented by similar plans in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (see paragraphs 4.28 to 4.30).

2.4. Scotland's Disease Strategy Group (DSG) may be convened for large outbreaks and would be responsible for co-ordinating and managing the handling of the Scottish outbreak (see concept note 7). It would also be convened if an outbreak in England leads to area controls that cross into Scotland. If disease is found elsewhere in UK (including in England in cases where area controls do not cross into Scotland) the DSG may be convened. That decision would be taken by CVO Scotland following consultation with the Scottish Government's Director for Agriculture and Rural Economy (see para 3.5).

Concept note 7

Disease Strategy Group (DSG)

The DSG plays a major role in determining the disease control strategy. Its role is to co-ordinate and manage the Scottish disease control response, taking account of local conditions, farming practices in Scotland, and other potential impacts on the Scottish economy. See paragraph 2.41 for more detail.

2.5. The Scottish Government's control strategy would be implemented by APHA, the Scottish Government's Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Economy, Food Standards Scotland, Police Scotland and the relevant local authorities. In the event of an outbreak anywhere in GB, a National Disease Control Centre (NDCC) would be activated by the CVO UK and set up by APHA. For an outbreak in England, the NDCC brings together policy functions provided by Defra with operations functions provided by APHA and other operational partners. The role of the NDCC in the event of an outbreak solely in Scotland (or one throughout GB) would be to provide logistical support to the Scottish operation. The strategic direction for control in Scotland would be given by the Scottish Government through the DSG. The relationships between Scottish Structures and GB/UK structures are shown at Figure 2 – Structural relationships between GB and Scottish control structures. An overview of Scottish Government disease control structures is shown in Figure 3 National Structures for Managing a Response in Scotland.

2.6. There is an important distinction between fighting disease and managing the wider consequences. The DSG leads on the former but, when wider consequences arise; members will work with the Scottish Government's Directorate for Safer Communities' Resilience Division, which co-ordinates the response of the rest of the Scottish Government. For more information about the Resilience Division's role see paragraphs 2.35 and 4.23.

Structures for Control

2.7. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (the 'EUWA') as amended converted directly applicable EU legislation (in particular, certain EU Regulations and Decisions) as they stood at the end of the transition period (11 pm on 31 December 2020) into domestic law. It preserves legislation previously made in the UK to implement EU obligations.

2.8. At the end of transition, the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) came into effect. The Agreement includes a sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) chapter that ensures that the UK and the EU can maintain fully independent rules to protect animal health, preserving each party's right to independently regulate whilst avoiding unjustified barriers to trade. It includes commitments on regionalisation, which enables UK and EU trade to continue from disease free regions, and rapid notification of outbreaks. It provides the possibility of cooperation on the concept of compartmentalisation. This will help the UK to move quickly to protect their animals during disease outbreaks, while minimising the impacts on trade.

2.9. Figure 2 illustrates the structural relationship between the principal UK/GB and Scottish Government structures for disease control, each of which are described below.

Figure 2 - Structural relationships between GB and the Scottish control structure
a diagram showing the structural relationships between GB and the Scottish control structure and how these groups would interoperate

A) National Security Council (NSC)


2.10. The NSC meets to consider issues relating to threats, hazards, resilience and contingencies on an ongoing basis including consideration of plans for the protection of life, the continuity of everyday activity and the restoration of disrupted services. NSC would be briefed on significant animal disease outbreaks.

2.11. NSC meetings are held at either official or ministerial level and further attendees in addition to those stated in the terms of reference may be invited on an ad hoc basis.

C) National Disease Control Centre (NDCC) Outbreak Co-ordination Group (OCG)

2.12. In Scotland, the NDCC brings together the operations functions provided by APHA and other partner organisations. The main responsibilities are to co-ordinate and direct the delivery of the disease control operation in accordance with policy set by Scottish Government. The OCG is established as part of the NDCC and provides tactical advice and practical instructions to their counterparts in the CDCC, ensuring policy intent is translated into practical instructions. It provides an advisory and co-ordination function for those involved in controlling the disease at the operational level. Where disease crosses administrative boundaries, the Outbreak Co-ordination Group (OCG) will co-ordinate APHA activities across GB.

2.13. Representatives from the Scottish Government may be based in the OCG during large scale outbreaks in Great Britain. For smaller outbreaks or those where disease is limited to England only, it is unlikely to be necessary for the Scottish Government to be embedded within the OCG, but would likely participate at NDCC meetings via teleconference.

D) Animal Disease Policy Group (ADPG)


2.14. The ADPG is a permanent UK wide policy forum, which during disease outbreaks provides disease control advice and strategy recommendations to Ministers and other strategic decision makers. Drawing in particular on advice from the National Expert Group (NEG), it challenges strategic assumptions. ADPG also has an important role in ensuring that policies are consistent (although they may be different) across the four UK administrations.

Chair and secretariat:

2.15. A senior Defra official responsible for animal health policy will chair the meeting and Defra's Animal Health Policy & Implementation Exotics team will provide the secretariat.

Participants or their representatives:

2.16. Membership of ADPG will include representatives from the Scottish Government's Animal Health and Welfare Division, Defra policy, Welsh Government policy, DAERA policy, communications and legal directorates from relevant UK administrations, all 4 UK CVOs, Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser's representative, National Experts Group, Government Office for Science, Cabinet Office Civil Contingencies Secretariat, and representatives from APHA. Depending on the circumstances, membership may include public health representatives where specific advice on zoonotic diseases is required, or senior policy colleagues from other relevant policy areas if advising on significant policy issues.

E) National Experts Group (NEG)


2.17. A permanent group that, in an outbreak of an exotic notifiable disease of animals, provides specific technical and scientific advice and recommendations on the disease, its transmission and its control, with a view to supporting GB policies via the Animal Disease Policy Group. A Tactical Advisory Group may also be convened to provide tactical advice for disease control purposes.

Chair and secretariat:

2.18. The APHA Veterinary Director will chair the meeting and the APHA Advice Service will provide the secretariat.

Participants or their representatives:

2.19. Membership will include veterinary and/or scientific representatives from the GB administrations, NEEG, APHA (such as the Outbreak Director, Outbreak Veterinary Director, the relevant laboratory (APHA Weybridge or Pirbright Institute), and observers involved in exotic disease policy. If required, modelling experts, meteorologists, economists, scientific or veterinary representatives of import and export portfolios and scientific experts in required fields, e.g. vector biology, may also be invited).

F) National Emergency Epidemiology Group (NEEG)


2.20. The NEEG coordinates and reports on the epidemiology of exotic notifiable disease outbreaks to describe and anticipate disease frequency and distribution, and to identify risk and so inform control measures. It operates at the strategic (NDCC) and operational (CDCC) level, and is comprised of epidemiologists, data scientists, scientific project managers, a modelling coordinator and an international trade representative.

2.21. The main function of the NEEG is providing epidemiological advice and assessment on the determinants, level and distribution of disease to the National Expert Group (NEG), all 4 CVOs and other groups to inform decisions on disease control and prevention measures. It leads the epidemiological investigations of exotic disease outbreaks, commissions and delivers epidemiological modelling, designs surveillance plans and analyses surveillance outcomes, contributes epidemiological information and expertise to veterinary risk assessments, and provides epidemiology reports or the epidemiological components of reports to the Scottish Government and the other GB administrations, the European Commission and WOAH.

2.22. The NEEG has a central group responsible for coordinating, analysing and reporting epidemiological investigations, ensuring availability of data for modelling and procurement and co-ordination of epidemiological modelling as required. The EPIC Centre of Expertise may play a role in the NEEG at the request of the Scottish Government (see figure 2 'structural relationships between GB and Scottish control structure'). The NEEG also establishes a field presence in each CDCC which provides a base for field epidemiologists and is functionally managed by the NEEG in the NDCC.

G) Central Disease Control Centre (CDCC)

2.23. Upon confirmation of disease, a CDCC will be set up to manage the operational part of the response. In Scotland, this will likely be based at the APHA local office in Perth (Strathearn House). Forward Operations Bases (FOBs) may also be established close to the outbreak to provide a local operating base for CDCC teams involved in patrolling, surveillance and field operations activity.

2.24. APHA's Operations Manager Scotland (OM) will become the Outbreak Director and will be responsible for identifying and reviewing the availability of potential CDCC and FOB locations.

H) CDCC Management Control Team (MCT)

2.25. The MCT is the local executive body embedded within the CDCC to deal with issues of:

  • resources
  • local implementation problems of national policy
  • local communications with stakeholders and the media

2.26. Each of the key operational partners will have a representative. To ensure rapid decision making, this should be a senior officer involved in the outbreak. Membership of the Management Control Team should be agreed in advance.

2.27. In the event of disease confirmation in Scotland or suspect disease within the local area, APHA's Outbreak Director will contact the members of the Management Control Team (MCT) to arrange the first meeting. APHA's Outbreak Director will chair the meetings.

2.28. The MCT will meet regularly, normally twice a day during the initial phase of the disease response, but probably less frequently in later phases.

2.29. The MCT will normally include the following:

  • Outbreak Director for Scotland – Chair (APHA)
  • Scotland Veterinary Lead (APHA)
  • Forward Operating Base Manager (APHA Team leader)
  • Veterinary Advisor Field Delivery (VAFD) (APHA)
  • CDCC Finance Manager (APHA)
  • APHA Communications Lead
  • APHA Resilience Lead
  • Scottish Government Communications Liaison Officer
  • Scottish Government RPID Principal Agricultural Officer
  • Local Authority Liaison Officer
  • Local Authority Resilience Advisers
  • Police Scotland Liaison Officer
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Resilience Partnership Co-ordinator
  • Consultant (or consultants) in Public Health Medicine (CPHM)
  • During an outbreak with zoonotic potential the PHS led National Incident Management Team (IMT) will provide representatives to both the CDCC and the Disease Strategy Group (DSG) (see para 3.38)
  • Other organisations may be co-opted as the need arises

2.30. If the confirmed disease has zoonotic potential, the CDCC will also provide a representative to the PHS National IMT.

Scottish Government national control structures

2.31. This plan has been prepared to reflect the requirements of the civil contingencies framework described in Preparing Scotland: Scottish Guidance on Resilience. In a major emergency, the Scottish Government activates arrangements to co‑ordinate activity and provides strategic direction to the response. These arrangements also aim to co-ordinate the activity of the Scottish Government with that of responders through Resilience Partnerships (RPs) at the local level, and across Scotland via the Scottish Government Resilience Officials (SGoR-O) Scottish Government Ministerial (SGoR-M) groups. The response is co-ordinated from the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR). The national structures for managing a response in Scotland and their interactions with UK Government structures are set out in Figure 3 (National Structures for managing a response).

Figure 3 - National structures for managing a disease response
a diagram of the various national structures for managing a disease response, showing how different groups work with each other within Scotland, and also how they interact with wider UK groups

CDCC - Central Disease Control Centre

COBRA - Cabinet Office Briefing Room

DSG - Disease Strategy Group

IMT - Incident Management Team (PHS)

NSC - National Security Council

SGoRR - Scottish Government Resilience Room

SGoR-M - Scottish Government Resilience (Ministerial)

SGoR-O - Scottish Government Resilience (Officials)

S-PICC - Scottish Police Information and Co-ordination Centre

Scottish Government Resilience Ministerial (SGoR-M)

2.32. The Scottish Government Resilience Ministerial (SGoR-M) group regularly meets to keep the Scottish Government's policies for managing the consequences of emergencies under review. If required, SGoR-M will be convened to set the Scottish Government's strategic response priorities and ensure Government resources support the response to the emergency. Meetings of SGoR-M are organised and minuted by Cabinet Secretariat.

2.33. When convened, SGoR-M is normally chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. However, the chair can be taken by the First Minister or another Cabinet Secretary depending upon the nature of the emergency. In addition to Scottish Ministers, attendance may include relevant senior officials and outside partners. A judgement will be made by the Scottish Government in each set of circumstances about precisely what elements need to be activated.

2.34. Animal disease differs from most other contingencies in that the Scottish Government, particularly through APHA, is responsible for the operational and policy response on disease management. However, operational responsibility for the management of the wider consequences falls to partner organisations.

Scottish Government Resilience Officials (SGoR-O)

2.35. The purpose of the SGoR-O group is to bring together the relevant lead senior staff from the Scottish Government, responders and other stakeholders in order to:

  • consider the consequences of the emergency at a national level, identify current issues and recommend further action
  • provide advice to Scottish Ministers, local responders
  • co-ordinate the activity of Government and other responders

2.36. SGoR-O is chaired by the Resilience Division's Response Team Leader. Membership depends on circumstances. SGoR-O is only activated as part of the Scottish Government's corporate contingency response arrangements, and normally when an incident has consequences that require consideration across a number of policy areas. A decision on whether or not to convene the SGoR-O would be taken by the Response Team Leader. SGoR-O meetings are convened as necessary, and take place in advance of SGoR-M.

2.37. Members from the DSG will liaise with SGoRR to co-ordinate and manage the Scottish disease control response. In addition, a liaison officer from the Scottish Government's Resilience Division will attend DSG and may be deployed to the DPU.

Scottish Government Disease Control Structures

Figure 4 – Overall Scottish Government disease control structure
described in body of report

2.38. Figure 4 above shows the Overall Scottish Government Control Structure and illustrates the relationship between the DSG, which co-ordinates and manages the Scottish disease control response, and the wider Scottish Government and its operational partners. A detailed description of each of these control structures are described later in this chapter.

2.39. Underpinning these structures is the assumption that decision makers abide by the principle of subsidiarity; the principle that decision making is devolved to the lowest practical level. A framework has been developed as a guide to help ensure that all decisions are taken at the most appropriate level and follow a process that is clear, transparent and auditable.

2.40. In all outbreak situations, policy makers and delivery bodies should ensure that:

  • risk analysis is the key driver whenever a decision is made and is based on appropriate veterinary, technical, scientific and professional advice
  • decisions are consistent in purpose and outcome with wider policy
  • any local decision making must consider international as well as domestic trade implications
  • the decision is communicated, both horizontally and vertically, within existing reporting structures
  • decisions with potential policy or political implications are immediately escalated to strategic decision makers.

A) Disease Strategy Group (DSG)

2.41. Upon notification of any case of exotic notifiable animal disease in Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands will be informed by CVO Scotland and a Disease Strategy Group (DSG) will be established. The DSG will be chaired by the Director, Agriculture and Rural Economy and will report to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands. It will meet in Edinburgh, with communication links to the CDCC. If the disease is zoonotic, public health, operational and government colleagues will be invited. If Scottish Ministers activate the full corporate response, the DSG will form part of the arrangements set out in figure 4 'Overall Scottish Government Control Structure' and will report to, and take direction from Scottish Ministers via SGoR.


2.42. To co-ordinate and manage the Scottish disease control response.


2.43. DSG membership consists of:

  • Director, Agriculture and Rural Economy (Chair) (Scottish Government)
  • CVO Scotland (Scottish Government)
  • RPID Agricultural Officer Senior Leader (Scottish Government)
  • Head of Disease Policy Unit (DPU) (Scottish Government)
  • Public Health Division (Scottish Government: where required)
  • APHA Outbreak Director for Scotland
  • Scottish Government Directorate of Communications representative
  • Resilience Division representative (Scottish Government)
  • Scottish Government Legal Directorate representative
  • Local Authority (Animal Health and Welfare Strategy Group representative)
  • Representative(s) from PHS led National IMT (where outbreak has zoonotic potential)
  • Other organisations (e.g. Police Scotland, SEPA, NatureScot, SASA, FSS) depending on the circumstances.

2.44. If the confirmed disease has zoonotic potential, the DSG will provide a representative to the PHS National IMT.

B) Disease Policy Unit (DPU)

2.45. Upon identification of an animal disease outbreak anywhere in GB, the head of the Scottish Government's Animal Health and Welfare Division, Disease Control Branch will establish and head the Disease Policy Unit (DPU).


2.46. The DPU assists the DSG in managing the disease control operation, and in particular:

  • ensures necessary legislation is put in place (in liaison with the Scottish Government Legal Directorate (SGLD))
  • ensures that relevant information on disease control developments is shared with SGoR, NDCC, other UK Rural Affairs Departments and, where appropriate, with key Directorates/Divisions with relevant interests both within and outside the Scottish Government
  • handles national animal health policy issues that develop during the response to the outbreak and its aftermath
  • co-ordinates responses to any legal appeals against the Scottish Government's handling of disease outbreaks, in conjunction with SGLD
  • provides support to the DSG and Stakeholder Group
  • disseminates notes of meetings and instructions/actions
  • ensures appropriate action is taken on export and import requirements.


2.47. Scottish Government, Edinburgh.


2.48. The functions of the DSG and DPU are limited to animal disease control and any overlap with the wider functions that would be co-ordinated through SGoRR and/or by other Directorates on the non-animal disease aspects. As set out below, the DPU's functions include:

2.49. Communications:

  • disseminate policy decisions and movement licences
  • communicate with field staff and enforcement bodies
  • liaise with other Scottish Government Directorates
  • liaise with stakeholders
  • brief Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament

2.50. Liaison with other government departments:

  • lead on liaison with other UK Departments on policy matters

2.51. Information:

  • act as contact point for enquiries
  • create and manage a national helpline if required (run by the SG Rural Payments and Inspections Division)
  • manage the Scottish Government disease specific website pages
  • respond to disease related correspondence.

2.52. Legislation:

  • instruct legal work on any statutory instruments and declarations needed to support the Scottish Government's response
  • a Local Authority Animal Health Inspector/Enforcement Officer may be brought in to advise on the practical aspects of enforcing legislation.

2.53. Licensing:

  • implement policy on animal movements, including available licences (and communication of this to field staff through the NDCC Veterinary and Technical Operations Team)
  • liaison with APHA's Outbreak Director, Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate agricultural staff and the Animal Health and Welfare Division's Veterinary and Science team.

2.54. Compensation:

  • responsible for policy in Scotland relating to compensation
  • introduce appropriate secondary legislation
  • responsible for authorising compensation payments processed by APHA.

2.55. Other functions:

  • liaise with other policy areas, such as traceability and animal welfare.

2.56. Staffing:

  • core membership of DPU provided by the Animal Health and Welfare Division
  • additional technical input provided by the Animal Health and Welfare Division's Veterinary and Science team and the Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate
  • embedded liaison officers may be deployed from the Directorate of Communications, local authority, SGLD, Scottish Resilience and other administrations throughout the UK.

C) Veterinary and Science Team

2.57. The Scottish Government's Veterinary and Science Team:

  • provides professional advice
  • undertakes collection and interpretation of data
  • carries out veterinary risk assessments
  • advises on disease progress, control strategies, exit requirements and wider veterinary issues
  • liaises with relevant bodies (e.g. PHS and FSS)
  • are represented on the NEG.

D) Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID)

2.58. The Scottish Government's Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) staff have technical expertise in livestock farming and will be vital in informing policy decisions.


2.59. RPID's main roles are to:

  • provide advice and support to the DSG, Ministers and the DPU
  • staff the national phone helpline (where required) that feeds back to the DPU with licensing and other issues that may need to be addressed
  • production of maps (in support of APHA mapping team)
  • provide assistance in the development and drafting of general licences
  • provide support to APHA field staff

E) Scottish Government Directorate for Communications

2.60. To ensure consistency of message, accurate scientific information and to manage public concerns, the Scottish Government will have the lead role on all media communications (FSS would be responsible for issuing advice to consumers on food related issues and would liaise closely with Scottish Government). A member of the Scottish Government's Directorate for Communications will be embedded in the CDCC to co-ordinate media communications from operational partners and ensure a co-ordinated approach to messaging, warning and informing, etc.


2.61. The main roles of Directorate for Communications are:

  • liaison with the local and national media
  • co-ordination with the Communications Co-ordinator (see the Scottish Government's Exotic Disease of Animals Communications Strategy) and Outbreak Director
  • co-ordination of media issues with other agencies and stakeholders, e.g. local authorities, SEPA, PHS, and Police Scotland, especially through Resilience Partnerships
  • liaison with communications teams in other GB administrations, APHA and RPs
  • participate in the GB daily communications meetings.

Other Scottish control structures

F) Scottish Industry Stakeholder Groups

2.62. Alongside the creation of the DSG, regular meetings will also be held with stakeholders and key agencies. This activity will be co-ordinated with any wider stakeholder engagement on non‑disease control aspects.


2.63. CVO Scotland.

Role (Stakeholder group)

2.64. To:

  • facilitate discussion with stakeholders to inform policy decision making
  • provide a two way exchange of views and information between stakeholders and the Scottish Government
  • help keep individual members within each stakeholder organisation informed and to communicate key messages between constituent membership and the Scottish Government
  • alert the Scottish Government to any particular issues stakeholders may be facing.


2.65. The membership is restricted to two colleagues per organisation and will be drawn from:

  • organisations representing agricultural and rural interests, including the livestock industry, food supply and consumer organisations, markets, slaughterhouses and retailers
  • enforcement bodies
  • scientific and veterinary research organisations.

2.66. Members from the affected species specific GB Exotic Diseases Core Groups will also be invited to attend.

2.67. In addition, depending on the disease and the livestock affected by it, the membership will include national representatives of the affected livestock sector(s).

2.68. The initial focus will be to explain the current disease position. Sub-groups may be considered to address specific issues, e.g. movement controls.

G) Resilience Partnerships (RPs)

2.69. In some circumstances, (see para 4.2) it may be necessary to activate a strategic level of management to co-ordinate and provide overall direction to the detailed response activity of local responders. Scotland's multi-agency resilience structures to deal with emergencies are split into three Regional Resilience Partnerships (RRPs - North, East and West) which in turn are broken down into a number of Local Resilience Partnerships (LRPs - three in the North and East, six in the West).

2.70. Resilience Partnerships' have agreed a single Scottish animal disease framework for a template contingency plan (Scottish regional resilience partnerships' framework for exotic notifiable animal diseases contingency plans). The plan, aimed at category 1 and category 2 responders, details a consistent command and control structure for responding to suspect and confirmed outbreaks of exotic notifiable animal diseases, and provides a framework to facilitate joint training.

2.71. Emergency plans must contain a procedure for determining if Resilience Partnerships should be alerted to the presence of an exotic notifiable disease of animals in Scotland.

2.72. In the event of a disease outbreak, regional partnerships may activate the Scientific and Technical Advice Cell (STAC) to consider the wider consequences of the emergency and provide scientific and technical advice to RRPs/LRPs to inform their response. Members of the STAC may already be represented at meetings of the Central Disease Control Centre (CDCC) Management Control Team. It is through the CDCC's links with the NDCC that the STAC would co-ordinate its activities with the NEG.

2.73. If the UK Government decides to activate the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which provides scientific advice to the UK Government, then NDCC would ensure there were clear lines of communication between NEG, NEEG and SAGE.

Required actions

2.74. A number of initial actions are required both upon suspicion of disease and when disease is confirmed.

Upon suspicion (following CVO case conference call)

CVO Scotland

  • Brief Cabinet Secretary.
  • Notify Scottish Government Directorate for Safer Communities' Resilience Division, on-call Duty Officer.
  • Consider notifying key stakeholders and the need for a press release.

Scottish Government Animal Health and Welfare Division's Disease Control Branch

  • Develop a key brief ready for upload onto the SG website.
  • Liaise with the Veterinary and Science Team and Legal Directorate on any Temporary Control Zones required to be put in place.
  • Liaise with the Legal Directorate on draft Declarations for Protection Zones, Surveillance Zones and any other required additional zone(s).
  • Draft news releases informing of suspicion, if required, and for issue in the event disease is confirmed.
  • Notify Scottish Amber Telecon contacts

Head of Scottish Government Animal Health and Welfare Division's Disease Control Branch

  • Contact Directorate of Communications (Duty Press Officer).
  • Inform key internal contacts.
  • Identify staff resources required for DPU.
  • Put DSG members on standby.
  • Determine requirements for a Temporary Control Zone.
  • Notify Communications, Public Health, Legal and Resilience Divisions and determine availability of support.
  • Consider need to inform MSPs/MPs with constituency interests.

2.75. Having taken the above actions, if disease is not confirmed then the officials need to take the necessary actions to stand down those that have been alerted.

Upon confirmation of disease

CVO Scotland

  • Inform relevant Cabinet Secretary and Ministers
  • Inform Head of Disease Control Branch

Cabinet Secretary

  • Brief First Minister
  • Brief Cabinet
  • Brief Parliament
  • Brief Parliament's Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee

Head of Disease Policy Unit (DPU)

  • Inform key internal contacts outlined in Appendix B of the Communications Strategy
  • Inform senior management with an interest outlined in Appendix B of the Communications Strategy
  • Assemble the DPU
  • Convene DSG, ensuring CDCC representation (and where appropriate, IMT representation)
  • Issue news release (in consultation with the Directorate of Communications)
  • Notify all stakeholders and convene stakeholder group meeting
  • Ensure website is updated (continuous) and consider activating phone helpline

Disease Policy Unit (DPU)

  • Notify forthcoming shows and sales secretaries (liaise with APHA)
  • Prepare Declarations for Protection Zones, Surveillance Zones, Restricted Zones
  • Prepare general licences
  • Prepare Key Brief document
  • Update website

Scottish Government Animal Health and Welfare Division's Veterinary and Science Team

  • Prepare Veterinary Risk Assessments to allow movement licences, working with EPIC and NDCC Veterinary and Technical Operations team


  • Inform European Commission & WOAH


2.76. Additional resources will be drawn from elsewhere within Government and its Agencies, where required, to support the SG, Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate's lead role in managing the outbreak.

2.77. Staff working in an intense operational and policy area will be rotated as appropriate to ensure that they are not overburdened to the detriment of their health. Further welfare support role provided by the Employee Assistance Programme for permanent Scottish Government staff and immediate family members.

IT infrastructure

2.78. The primary computer systems used for management of an exotic animal disease outbreak throughout GB are operated by APHA.

Procurement & finance

2.79. Operational procurement throughout GB will be led by APHA and will use various call-off contracts and framework agreements that have been established as part of GB-wide contingency planning arrangements.

2.80. The Defra Procurement and Contracts Division (PCD) will provide a team to operate at the CDCC to manage all of the procurement activities at a local level. Actual requirements and numbers will depend on the extent of the outbreak. Forensic accountants may be engaged prior to receipt and approval of invoices and, together with APHA finance staff, will be responsible for the certification, verification and evaluation of these invoices. APHA Finance Staff will liaise with Scottish Government Finance staff from the point at which outbreak is confirmed. Scottish Government Finance staff will ensure that the APHA system of certification, verification and evaluation of these invoices is sufficient for Scottish Government Audit requirements.

2.81. APHA's Contingency Planning team will ensure that PCD have been contacted at the suspect case stage, so that the appropriate resources can be placed on standby, potential sources of supply of equipment and personnel have been identified by PCD, and these resources can be called upon in the event of a notifiable disease outbreak or other emergency. Best practice guidance is available to APHA Offices to provide advice until procurement staff arrive, and will include guidance covering:

  • the triggering of contingency contracts and framework agreements
  • authorisation and use of emergency purchase orders and procurement cards
  • contract management and letting

2.82. The Outbreak Director has overall responsibility for financial matters related to disease control measures in the CDCC, and procurement activity will be overseen in the first instance by the APHA Finance Manager. The Finance Manager is responsible for ensuring that the full cost of the disease control operation is accurately monitored and captured. However, the liability for the costs for any outbreak of exotic animal disease is devolved to the Scottish Government. The Finance Manager will ensure that regular timely information is provided to Scottish Government Finance. This information will be made available by Scottish Government Finance for both the Disease Policy Unit and the Disease Strategy Group to review to ensure that best value is achieved. Scottish Government is responsible for providing funds to APHA for reimbursement of applicable outlays incurred during an outbreak. Scottish Government also directly pays compensation to any affected parties on the receipt of satisfactory information. Payments are subject to Scottish Government Audit scrutiny.

Contingency contracts and framework agreements

2.83. In the event of an outbreak, operational procurement will be led by APHA Contingency Planning Division (CPD) and APHA's Contracts Management Team (CMT), which will establish contractual arrangements to meet anticipated needs in the event of an outbreak of exotic notifiable disease of animals, and ensure value for money. Suppliers are vetted and subjected to regular review by Defra's procurement team and APHA to ensure their suitability for use in an outbreak. The framework agreements and arrangements are subject to regular review and competition and cover all relevant supply chains.

2.84. The commercial teams in Defra and APHA will be responsible for negotiating additional contracts, in discussion with Scottish Government, if required.

Laboratory testing

2.85. In the event of an exotic animal disease outbreak within GB, disease diagnostic samples would go to one of the GB National Reference Laboratories, APHA Laboratory in Weybridge or the Pirbright Institute, depending on the disease. Porton Down currently carries out diagnostic testing for anthrax.


2.86. The Scottish Government's Exotic Disease of Animals Communications Strategy sets out the objectives for the management of all communications aspects of its disease control response.

2.87. Key features of the Communications Strategy include:

  • a detailed communications plan for each stage of an outbreak (suspect, confirmed, ongoing)
  • definitions of roles
  • description of the infrastructure for disseminating information
  • a communication matrix, identifying different audiences, the information each will require and the best channel of communicating with them
  • the strategy for engaging with the media to shape the emerging story.


2.88. The DPU will be responsible for ensuring that Scottish Government policy is communicated effectively. For this reason, a Communications Co-ordinator will be responsible for overseeing the effective dissemination of information both internally and externally. In addition, Scottish Government Communications Officers will be based in the DPU and, depending on the outbreak, the Forward Operations Base (FOB) to co-ordinate communications and ensure consistency. A priority will be to ensure that staff in the field are fully aware of policy, but it will also be vital that appropriate communication is undertaken with other parts of the Scottish Government, particularly with Resilience, Environment, Enterprise and Tourism and Health colleagues, to ensure that the disease control is linked to work on wider impacts.

Operational instructions

2.89. The NDCC's Veterinary and Technical Operations Team issue operational instructions to APHA. In Scotland, all APHA operational instructions will be agreed with the Scottish Government before issue. Any operational instructions issued by the NDCC Veterinary and Technical Operations Team that do not apply in Scotland will not be issued to field staff in Scotland to action, but will be copied to them for information. Licences are also made available through this process.

Media relations

2.90. The media message for the disease response will be led by the Scottish Government. The strategic media response for the Scottish Government will be set at corporate level, taking into account not only the disease control aspects, but also consideration of the wider issues, e.g. impacts on communities, the economy, public health, etc. During a major animal disease outbreak it is likely that SGoR-M would set the overall strategic direction for the Scottish Government's response, including the media handling strategy.

2.91. If deployed, the Scottish Government Communications Liaison Officer within the FOB will co-ordinate a press response from there, otherwise it will be directed from within the DPU. The Communications Liaison Officer will also work with APHA Communications Directorate, Resilience Partnerships' and any relevant sub‑group to manage media relations at the scene of incidents and to ensure a consistent message is being projected from all agencies.

2.92. The Scottish Government's Directorate of Communications will liaise with the APHA Communications Directorate and Communications Directorates of other UK agriculture departments, particularly if there is a wider GB impact.

Schedule of daily co-ordination meetings & reports

2.93. A series of pre-determined daily meetings will be scheduled across structures to direct, co-ordinate and support the disease control response (see Table 1 below). The exact schedule will be determined by, amongst other things, the circumstances of the disease and the stage of the outbreak. Internal team briefing meetings form part of this schedule and will be held at regular intervals each day. These meetings will identify immediate concerns/key points of information and agree corrective action. Representatives from the main disease control teams, RPID, and ARE Communications, will attend.

2.94. Time will also be built in for liaison with corporate response structures and Resilience Partnerships. The frequency of such engagement will depend upon the wider impacts of the outbreak and are not therefore set out in this plan.

Table 1 - Schedule of daily meetings
Time Scottish Government NDCC CDCC
0800-0830 DPU Team Brief Helpline staff brief Daily Strategic Stocktake Meeting Daily Management & Communications meeting
0830-0900 NDCC Bird table CDCC Bird table
0900-0930 GB Daily Communications Meeting
0930-1000 DSG
1000-1100 NSC
1100-1130 SGoR-O
1130-1200 Media briefing
1200-1230 DPU Team Brief NDCC Bird table CDCC Bird table
1400-1430 CDCC Management teleconference CDCC Management teleconference
1500-1600 NSC
1600-1630 DSG
1730-1800 DPU Team Brief CDCC sitrep due
1800-1830 NDCC Bird table CDCC Bird table
2100 approx. NDCC Report compiled and circulated


Email: Animal.Health@gov.scot

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