Exotic animal disease contingency framework plan: August 2022

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

Chapter 3. Roles and responsibilities of key individuals

Introduction to roles and responsibilities

3.1. This chapter sets out key roles and responsibilities in the control process if there is either a suspected or confirmed outbreak of exotic notifiable animal disease in Scotland or elsewhere in Great Britain.


A) Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands


3.2. The Cabinet Secretary's day to day involvement will depend on the size and scale of the outbreak, but is likely to be greater in an outbreak across GB with a high incidence of IPs, or an instance of zoonotic disease with implications for human health.

3.3. The Cabinet Secretary may be required to:

  • decide to control disease through emergency vaccination in an outbreak of disease, e.g. FMD.
  • brief the Scottish Parliament about current risks and disease control measures
  • brief the Scottish Cabinet when necessary
  • brief the media when necessary.

3.4. The Cabinet Secretary:

  • will attend SGoR-M (if convened)
  • may attend NSC (if convened).

B) Director for Agriculture and Rural Economy role:

3.5. The Director for Agriculture and Rural Economy provides senior leadership to the disease control response and chairs the DSG. In addition, the Director acts as a link between the disease control work and the Directorate's interests in consequence managements, such as the agricultural industry and rural communities.

C) Chief Veterinary Officer Scotland


3.6. To provide the lead on the Animal Health and Welfare Division's response to a disease outbreak, ensuring appropriate business continuity arrangements are maintained.


3.7. CVO Scotland is responsible for:

  • providing veterinary and policy advice to Scottish Ministers and the DSG
  • briefing Cabinet Secretary on the developing disease
  • confirming disease in Scotland
  • making recommendations on declaring movement control zones to limit disease spread
  • making recommendations on the lifting of restrictions once disease is eradicated
  • chairing Stakeholder Group meetings
  • ensuring necessary "business as usual" activities are maintained.

D) Head of SG's Disease Control Branch


3.8. To manage the policy response to a disease outbreak, ensuring key interests, both inside and outside the Scottish Government, are kept fully informed of developments and to oversee the general management of disease related policy.


3.9. The Head of Disease Control Branch is responsible for:

  • ensuring that the Disease Policy Unit (DPU) is sufficiently resourced to respond to the disease outbreak
  • liaison between DPU and DSG
  • managing staff and activities within the DPU.

E) APHA Chief Executive


3.10. To plan the effective delivery of strategic decisions whilst retaining an overview of the operational aspects of the disease control effort.


3.11. The APHA Chief Executive is responsible for:

  • leading the delivery of the operational response and management of staff dealing with disease control at the operational level
  • briefing UK Ministers and officials of affected administrations on disease control operations and lead at NSC on operations
  • briefing APHA's Management Team on developments
  • authorising recruitment of additional staff for the CDCC
  • managing expenditure on the disease control operation and providing information to the Scottish Government about the financial integrity of the control and recovery operations
  • upon confirmation of disease and in the absence of the CVO UK, the APHA Chief Executive has the authority to activate the NDCC.

Tactical and operational

A) Outbreak Director (APHA)


3.12. To ensure delivery of Scottish Government policy in the field by staff in local APHA Offices/CDCC. By maintaining close links with the NDCC, APHA's Outbreak Director will also ensure delivery in Scotland is co-ordinated with other activities across GB.

3.13. The Outbreak Director will report to APHA's Director of Service Delivery in the NDCC. They will be APHA's senior representative in Scotland and will:

  • represent APHA/NDCC Operations and provide an overview of disease control operations in Scotland at the DSG
  • provide a link between the DSG and operations and ensure decisions taken by the DSG are implemented on the ground
  • brief the DSG and CVO Scotland on operational matters within Scotland, including veterinary matters arising from disease control operations
  • oversee the production of management information and reports from regional operations to the DSG
  • identify current, and potential, operational problems and issues from both a regional and GB perspective
  • attend NDCC Bird table meetings by teleconference
  • attend Stakeholder meetings
  • manage activity in CDCCs in Scotland through FOB Management
  • Attend CVO Stocktake meetings

B) Outbreak Director (APHA) – local operations


3.14. At a local operational level, the role of Outbreak Director will become a joint responsibility between the Veterinary Lead Scotland (VLS), Operations Manager and FOB management team. The Outbreak Director will provide leadership and direction for the CDCC and FOB and will represent APHA in dealings with stakeholders, local operational partners and the media, in line with the Scottish Government's Exotic Diseases of Animals Communications Strategy.


3.15. The Outbreak Director is responsible for:

  • supporting a co-ordinated approach to the local disease control operation and local stakeholder liaison within the Management Control Team for the FOB
  • leading the local disease control operation and taking overall command of operational activities
  • providing input into DSG relating to operational activities and ensuring that decisions taken by the DSG are put into effect, working with other organisations as appropriate
  • acting as the local spokesperson to the media on the operational aspects of the disease control response with support from APHA and the Scottish Government Communications Officer in the FOB
  • briefing the relevant RRP/LRP on the operational disease control response
  • liaising with the relevant RRP/LRP to ensure that arrangements are in place to manage the wider consequences of the outbreak and managing relationships with partners
  • overall responsibility for financial matters related to disease control measures in the FOB
  • chairing the MCT and CDCC Bird table meetings
  • chairing local stakeholder meetings
  • establishing contact with the NDCC and providing the link between the NDCC and local operations on the ground
  • seeking advice from APHA's VLS and Operations Manager Scotland (OCS) on local veterinary and operational activity
  • forward planning and development of the CDCC/FOBs in response to information on the disease, policies and resources
  • ensuring a suitable deputy is in place as required
  • line managing the VLS, OMS, and Finance Manager
  • acting as a member of the Enforcement Area Management team where such an area is required.

Attendance at committees and meetings

3.16. The Outbreak Director will attend:

  • DSG via teleconference
  • CDCC MCT and Bird table meetings
  • CDCC Daily Management and Communications meetings
  • CDCC Management teleconferences
  • local stakeholder meetings
  • FOB Bird table and Management Control Team meetings

B) Veterinary Lead Scotland (VLS) (APHA)


3.17. The VLS will support the Outbreak Director on all veterinary issues throughout the management of a regional disease outbreak response. The VLS will also deputise on behalf of the Outbreak Director as required.


3.18. The VLS is responsible for:

  • professional leadership of veterinary staff and to provide technical oversight for technical staff within the country
  • supporting the Outbreak Director on all veterinary issues providing expert advice on veterinary risk and policy issues within the country delivery agenda
  • provision of veterinary and technical advice to OMS on local veterinary and operational policy and activity
  • providing veterinary and technical advice for press briefings where the Outbreak Director is spokesperson
  • working closely with the regional management team to ensure that quality standards are met and that procedures and policies are consistently applied
  • acting as senior veterinary field adviser to all staff within the country and to specifically consider wider aspects of veterinary issues being the first point of contact for policy guidance and expert advice
  • if the Allocation Team and/or Debrief Team has not been established, ensuring a debrief of staff who have undertaken a veterinary inquiry takes place, including quality assurance of documents and forms. Where a FOB has been established, work with the FOB Veterinary Advisory Field Delivery (VAFD) to ensure debrief activity is undertaken at the FOB
  • quality assurance of veterinary activities within the CDCC and FOB
  • ensuring that appropriate standards are applied and that decisions are made on the basis of sound veterinary advice and appropriate risk assessment
  • consider reviews against the decision to cull
  • sign off premises when secondary C&D is complete
  • line management of the FOB Veterinary Lead.

C) Operations Manager Scotland (APHA)


3.19. The Operations Manager Scotland (OMS) is the administrative lead within the CDCC and will ensure that all administrative activities within the CDCC are undertaken in accordance with instructions, and that their implementation and completion are fully and promptly accounted for.

3.20. Upon confirmation of disease, the Delivery Manager will help establish and manage the CDCC, ensuring that suitable accommodation and communication infrastructure, as agreed in APHA Local Contingency Plans, is in place.


3.21. The OMS is responsible for:

  • providing flexible and responsive operational leadership and management for staff within the FOB(s)
  • managing the activities of the following work groups
    • Infrastructure
    • Human resources
    • Movement control
    • Communications
    • Finance
  • liaising with the OMS to ensure administrative actions are taken in accordance with and in synchrony with the appropriate field activity
  • providing support and advice to Team Managers within the FOB/CDCC
  • providing advice on operational activity to the Outbreak Director
  • liaising with the Outbreak Director, VLS and R&TA to establish and maintain support for CDCC workgroups, anticipating workloads and planning resource requirements
  • liaising with the Outbreak Director, OM and R&TA to establish and maintain one or more FOBs if required
  • resolving non-veterinary issues and problems raised by Team Managers
  • providing management information on current progress and contribute to reports as required.

3.22. Where additional resources are required to support FOB/CDCC operations, the OMS will want to ensure access to relevant specialist skills within APHA or the Scottish Government. These skills include human resources, IT, finance and accountancy services, statistical support, facilities and estates services, purchasing and contracts, quantity surveyors, registry, etc. and will be called upon as necessary.

3.23. The provision of suitable accommodation and IT support should already be underway, as Local Contingency Plans are implemented. However, the Delivery Manager will monitor progress and ensure that those arrangements are adapted as necessary. An important aspect of the support structures established by the Delivery Manager is the need to capture the management information (MI) that will be needed following the outbreak.

D) Veterinary Advisor Field Delivery(VAFD) (APHA)


3.24. The role of the VAFD is to manage the technical functions of the local veterinary response to the local disease control operation, including quality assurance of veterinary activities within the FOB, ensuring that appropriate standards are applied; and that decisions made are consistent with wider government policy and sound veterinary advice, based on appropriate risk assessments. The VAFD will also deputise on behalf of the Outbreak VLS as required.


3.25. The VAFD is responsible for:

  • providing flexible and responsive operational leadership and management for staff within any FOB(s)
  • providing overall management of the following work groups:
    • Control and containment
    • Confirmation and surveillance
  • liaising with the Veterinary Leads to ensure veterinary and technical actions are consistent with the requirements of appropriate Directives, domestic legislation and operational instructions, and in synchrony with the appropriate field activity
  • providing veterinary and technical support and advice to Team Managers within the FOB
  • advising the Outbreak Director and providing management information on operational activities
  • maintaining an overview of operational activity
  • liaising with the OMS, FOB Manager and R&TA to establish and maintain support for workgroups, anticipating workloads and planning resource requirements
  • establishing and maintaining an appropriate management team structure
  • resolving veterinary issues and problems raised by Team Managers.

E) Resilience and technical advisor (R&TA) (APHA)


3.26. One of the primary roles of the Resilience and Technical Advisor (R&TA) is to support the preparation of local contingency and emergency plans, so that APHA maintains a continuous state of emergency readiness and resilience. During an outbreak, a R&TA will directly support the Outbreak Director throughout the disease response.


3.27. The R&TA is responsible for:

  • assisting in the establishment of an appropriate response structure when there is reasonable suspicion that disease may exist or if instructed by the Head of Field Delivery, Scotland
  • assisting the FOB/CDCC management team in planning and co-ordinating future resource needs and infrastructure requirements
  • representing the Outbreak Director, as required, in dealings with local operational partners and stakeholders and, in particular, the RRP or LRP(s)
  • liaising with, and supporting, operational partners in conjunction with the FOB/CDCC MCT
  • providing leadership and direction as a member of the CDCC MCT, including advising on the deployment of staff with the appropriate skills to where that resource is most needed
  • managing residual work from outbreaks, including:
    • finance
    • C&D
    • restocking
  • assisting in planning the scaling down of the CDCC

F) Scottish Government RPID Staff in the CDCC


3.28. The PAOs and their staff will provide professional agricultural and administrative support to the CDCC as required.

3.29. RPID staff have an important role in liaising with the local farming community and providing local knowledge.


3.30. The responsibilities of RPID staff in the CDCC include:

  • providing support in CDCC as required under direction of the Delivery Manager
  • logistical management of operations in any zones
  • providing logistical assistance in initial surveillance, valuation, culling, disposal and C&D operations, as required under direction of the VLS
  • providing support to the Outbreak Director in liaising with farmers
  • assessing applications for, and issue of, movement licences under veterinary direction of APHA
  • staffing national and local phone helplines
  • providing general agricultural advice to APHA CDCC staff
  • providing resources for the finance function
  • preparing, issuing and delivering forms as appropriate.

G) NHS Boards


3.31. The role of the NHS Boards will depend on the disease. The Consultant in Public Health Medicine (CPH(M)) will be informed of all report cases or suspicion of disease. Upon suspicion of disease, the public health response will be led by the local CPH(M) in close liaison with PHS, in line with local incident management arrangements.

3.32. If disease is subsequently confirmed, and has zoonotic potential, a National IMT will be convened by PHS to coordinate the multi-agency public health response to the outbreak in Scotland.

3.33. The local NHS board CPH(M) will represent the NHS board(s) on the National IMT and will be responsible for the local implementation and operational aspects of the public health response to the incident, as agreed by the National IMT.

3.34. The CPH(M) may convene a local NHS board IMT to facilitate this, especially in the early stages of the investigation, in line with their local incident management arrangements.

3.35. CPH(M) from relevant NHS board areas will be invited to attend the CDCC MCT by APHA.

3.36. The NHS board's role during an outbreak of animal disease with zoonotic potential is to:

  • provide a representative to the CDCC-MCT
  • provide a representative to the National IMT chaired by PHS
  • provide advice on potential risk to humans arising from animal health activities, including outbreaks of animal diseases
  • advise on necessary control measures including personal protective equipment, prophylaxis/vaccination and treatment where necessary
  • respond to health related queries from the public, local health staff and delivery partners, including setting up a phone helpline where required
  • ensure continuity of health care in affected areas
  • ensure the local implementation of the public health response to the outbreak, including the provision of prophylaxis / vaccination where appropriate.

H) Public Health Scotland (PHS)


3.37. PHS is a division of NHS National Services Scotland. PHS provide expert advice and information on public health issues to health professionals, national and local government, the general public and other bodies with a role in protecting health in Scotland.


3.38. PHS will take the lead on the human health aspects of an animal disease outbreak. During an outbreak with zoonotic potential, PHS will be responsible for:

  • providing expert advice to all professionals involved in the management and control of incidents of zoonotic disease
  • providing operational support to NHS boards in relation to the public health response to the incident
  • upon confirmation of an outbreak of disease with zoonotic potential, convening and leading the National IMT to coordinate the public health response to the outbreak in Scotland
  • providing a representative to DSG and CDCC
  • providing a representative to NDCC bird table and input into the "OCG Daily Report".
  • contributing to communication and briefing requests from Government and other operational partners


Email: Animal.Health@gov.scot

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