Chapter 4. Working with others
4.1. Chapter four outlines other operational partners, Resilience Partnerships, agencies, Scottish and UK Government Departments and international organisations that play an essential role in the management of disease control if a notifiable animal disease is suspected or identified.
A) Resilience Partnerships
4.2. A Resilience Partnership may be activated to deal with the wider consequences of the outbreak and ensure that multi-agency response is well co-ordinated and effective. Resilience Partnerships can be convened at a local level or across a wider area depending on the nature of the incident and the organisations involved. Police Scotland, SEPA and affected local authorities will maintain the link between the resilience partnership and disease control response through attendance at the CDCC-MCT and NDCC. If a Resilience Partnership is stood up, Police Scotland will be invited to attend the DSG.
4.3. Where an animal disease outbreak is zoonotic (i.e. can affect human health) close liaison would take place with PHS and the relevant NHS Board(s). The public health response to the outbreak would be co-ordinated through an NHS led IMT.
4.4. It will be for operational partners in each regional area to determine which Resilience Partnerships should convene based on the specific circumstances of the outbreak. Where regional boundaries are involved, an early decision on the configuration of Resilience Partnerships will be reached following consultation. From the start of an outbreak, a Resilience Co-ordinator will be invited by APHA to attend the CDCC MCT meetings.
4.5. During the outbreak, the role of the Resilience Partnership, if convened, would be to:
- protect human life, property and the environment
- minimise the harmful effects of the emergency
- consider the wider consequences of the outbreak
- maintain normal services at an appropriate level as far as possible
- provide mutual support and co-operation between responders
- support local communities
- manage and support an effective and co-ordinated joint response
B) Scottish Animal Health and Welfare Strategy Group
4.6. During an outbreak of exotic animal disease, a Local Authority (LA) representative from the Scottish Animal Health and Welfare Strategy Group will:
- attend the DSG
- provide advice to local authorities on both regulatory and enforcement matters
- communicate current disease controls, e.g. movement controls to local authorities
- raise enforcement issues with DSG
- confirm emergency contacts
- ensure that key AHW Strategy Group staff are alerted and kept up to date on the current situation
- alert the pre-arranged "ready reference" LA contact group for use as immediate technical advisory point.
C) Local authorities
4.7. LAs have a major role in responding to outbreaks of notifiable animal disease. They are statutory bodies for enforcing livestock disease controls and are empowered to monitor compliance with movement licences etc. They also fulfil a significant role in providing advice and education at the local level. LAs may assist APHA with the provision of resources, such as staff, vehicles, equipment and buildings. In the event of a zoonotic disease outbreak they would also support NHS boards and the National IMT, as per business as usual.
4.8. The main responsibilities of LAs are to:
- provide a representative to CDCC MCT
- provide a representative to NDCC bird table meetings and input into the OCG overnight reports
- support NHS boards in the local investigation and management of the incident
- provide a representative to the NHS led National IMT where required
- as part of Infected Area Management Team, provide advice on suitable cleansing and disinfection sites within and around the controlled area
- provide assistance where possible on provision and procurement of resources and staff – especially in the early stages
- provide administration for enforcement of movement licence requirements
- assist in the delivery of restriction notices and securing of suspect and infected premises
- check and enforce compliance with all disease control measures, especially movement controls and licences
- supervise operation of markets and collection centres
- serve restriction notices and revocation notices on request of the Outbreak Director for Scotland
- assist at vehicle checkpoints
- advise farmers of restrictions and providing information to the local population
- advise the Outbreak Director for Scotland on local issues that may impact on control measures
- implement and advertise official closures on land where there is a public right of access, upon request from the DSG
- identify private water supplies and monitor both municipal and private supplies
D) Food Standards Scotland (FSS)
4.9. Food Standards Scotland (FSS) is responsible for the protection of public and animal health and welfare through the delivery of Official Controls in approved fresh meat premises, including the designation of abattoirs. It is responsible for the legislative control of hygiene standards in slaughterhouses, game handling establishments and cutting plants. FSS is represented in meetings of the DSG.
4.10. FSS is also responsible for providing advice to the public concerning implications for the food chain arising from an outbreak of exotic animal disease. The agency will produce guidance on food safety based upon the latest scientific information and is responsible for assessing the level of risk to the consumer.
E) Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
4.11. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is Scotland's environmental regulator. SEPA is the lead public organisation for protecting and improving the environment in Scotland. During animal disease outbreaks, SEPA will work with and support partners including APHA, local authorities and landowners to minimise the environmental impact of the outbreak.
4.12. SEPA will:
- provide expert advice to the Scottish Government, in particular on waste management options. The advice will focus on the disposal sites that the SEPA regulates
- determine applications and registrations for waste disposal and recovery activities (including carcases, manures, slurries and wash waters)
- advise on pollution prevention, including the site of cleansing and disinfection facilities and their operation
- monitor the impact of the outbreak on the environment.
4.13. Where appropriate, SEPA will provide Liaison Officers at strategic/tactical (DSG/DPU) and operational (CDCC) command levels during disease outbreaks. SEPA will also, where necessary, be represented at SGoR and Resilience Partnership meetings.
F) Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA)
4.14. The Scottish SPCA is an animal welfare charity. The SSPCA can also provide a uniformed presence to assist with animal welfare functions if requested by the OM.
4.15. Scottish SPCA responsibilities include:
- providing assistance with monitoring compliance with movement licences, including accompanying vehicles on request
- providing an independent welfare audit if requested by APHA or the Scottish Government
G) Police Scotland
4.16. Police Scotland fulfils a number of roles in relation to an animal disease outbreak, in addition to maintaining order and protecting the public. Police involvement will depend on the severity and nature of other requirements being placed upon them. The Disease Policy Unit will work with Resilience Division to put in place liaison arrangements with Police Scotland (and other RRP and LRP partner organisations) to help co-ordinate national issues.
4.17. During an outbreak of exotic animal disease Police Scotland will:
- provide representation at Amber Teleconferences
- if required, attend DSG
- work with local authorities to enforce movement controls and the policing of control zones
- maintain links between resilience partnership and disease control centre response by attending CDCC-MCT and the NDCC, ensuring representation to NDCC bird tables and input to the OCG overnight reports
- provide advice and support on traffic management to facilitate field operations, such as road closures, routes to take for disposal of animal carcases, or escort of vehicles carrying carcases to disposal plants
- provide a presence at an IP if required
- provide assistance to APHA through the provision of specialist knowledge in the management and co-ordination of major incidents
- provide general support, particularly in pursuing legal entry to premises
- work in partnership with local authorities and the CDCC to share and consider local intelligence
- Work with local authorities to stop and check vehicles transporting animals.
H) Local stakeholder groups
4.18. A stakeholder is an individual, business or organisation that may be affected by the management of an outbreak of exotic notifiable disease in animals. The APHA FOB Manager will establish local stakeholder groups to represent their interests within the CDCC (Para 2.23 above provides details on the National stakeholder group). Meetings with these groups will be held as required, but should be convened quickly to tackle any initial concerns.
4.19. The role of Local Stakeholder Groups will be to:
- ensure that developments in local operations are communicated to all relevant parties
- allow input from all relevant parties to inform local decisions.
4.20. Membership will be determined by the Outbreak Director Scotland and where appropriate will include:
- local representatives from the affected livestock sector(s)
- representatives from businesses engaged in or directly affected by the disease response.
4.21. In addition, representatives from enforcement bodies, scientific and veterinary research organisations and local authorities involved in the developing disease response may be invited to provide information to stakeholders as required.
Mental health support for owners of animals
4.22. We recognise it would be an incredibly difficult time for animal owners who are on the frontline of any disease outbreak and who may be faced with depopulation. There are numerous support networks that they can contact for help including
- Helpline 0808 1234 555
- The helpline is free and open 24/7, 365 days a year.
- Whatever you're going through
- Helpline: 116 123 – free call, anytime
- Email: email@example.com (response time: 24 hours)
- Helpline: 0300 123 3393. Available 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).
Other Scottish Government Directorates and Agencies
A) Scottish Government Directorate for Safer Communities' Resilience Division
4.23. The role of the Scottish Government Directorate for Safer Communities' Resilience Division is to co-ordinate the corporate response of the Scottish Government to any major emergency or unplanned event with multiple consequences. This is a dual role that requires increasing levels of preparedness and management of the Government response, and an understanding of the interface between the activity of Government and the role of local emergency responders and stakeholders in managing the consequences of any significant event. The Resilience Division will support the development of particular contingency plans and supports the concept of an integrated approach to emergency response. In the event of wider consequences arising, such as impact on tourism, community issues, and the economy, the Resilience Division will bring together all the relevant policy experts through SGoR to consider the Scottish Government's response. If the outbreak were sufficiently serious, SGoR-M would be convened in order to set the strategic aim and key objectives for the response across the Scottish Government.
B) Directorate for Chief Medical Officer and Health Protection Division
4.24. The Directorate for Chief Medical Officer and Health Protection Division set the strategy, policy and high level objectives for managing the human health implications of an exotic notifiable animal disease outbreak. This will include approaches to treatment and use of prophylaxis. Both Health Protection Division and the Chief Medical Officer attend the DSG if the disease outbreak is a known zoonosis.
C) Transport Scotland
4.25. Transport Scotland is an agency of the Scottish Government and is responsible for all operational and strategic matters involving the transport infrastructure. During an outbreak of exotic notifiable disease in animals, Transport Scotland's responsibility is to advise on matters relating to transport in Scotland and facilitate contact with the transport industry where necessary.
4.26. In considering the actions necessary to mitigate any significant risks arising, Transport Scotland will liaise with Department for Transport (DfT) colleagues to develop solutions addressing transport constraints caused by disruptive events with direct or in-direct consequences for the whole transport network.
D) Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA)
4.27. The primary role of SASA, a Division of the Scottish Government Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate, is to provide scientific services and advice in support of Scotland's agriculture and the wider environment. During an exotic notifiable animal disease outbreak, SASA may be consulted in relation to wildlife management or pest control at IPs to provide technical advice on what may be required to help prevent the spread of disease via vertebrate wildlife.
Other UK Administrations, Departments and Agencies
4.28. Defra leads on the animal disease control response in England and liaises with appropriate international organisations such as the EC and WOAH. See Defra's Contingency Plan for Exotic Notifiable Diseases of Animals for more detail.
B) Welsh Government
4.29. The Welsh Government leads on the animal disease control response in Wales. See Welsh Government's Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases for further information. This sets out the Welsh Government's systems, procedures and lines of communication for managing an outbreak of exotic notifiable disease in animals.
C) Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland
4.30. Northern Ireland is considered to be part of a separate epidemiological unit, since it does not have a land boundary with Great Britain and has a separate veterinary service from the rest of GB. See Northern Ireland's Contingency Plan for Epizootic Disease of animals for more details.
D) United Kingdom Mission to the European Union (UKMis)
4.31. UKMis monitors and analyses developments in the EU, particularly in the EU institutions (the European Council, European Parliament and European Commission), engages with member states' representation to the EU and supports negotiations with the EU.
E) Military liaison/involvement of the Armed Forces
4.32. There are no plans to use armed forces in the operational response during a disease outbreak, although the strategic logistical and co-ordination expertise of the military may be utilised if necessary. APHA has plans to bring in civil contractors under contingency contracts and to recruit additional staff and volunteers both from Government Departments, and external sources. These arrangements reduce the need for support from the armed forces. Staff will receive training in planning a massive logistics operation, leadership, and effective communications. These skills are maintained through contingency planning and exercises.
4.33. Depending on the emergency, a Joint Regional Liaison Officer (JRLO) may be invited to attend SGoR to provide advice to the Scottish Government.
A) World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH)
4.34. The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) is the intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide, and was formed as the Office International des Epizooties through an international agreement signed in 1924. In May 2003, the Office became the World Organisation for Animal Health, but kept its historical acronym OIE. In 2022, the acronym OIE was amended to WOAH.
4.35. In 1994, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) recognised the WOAH as the international reference body, with responsibilities under international law for specifying the standards, guidelines and recommendations applicable to international trade.
4.36. The WOAH produces the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (the Code) on behalf of its member countries, which is formally adopted at the annual general assembly of WOAH Members. The delegate member of the WOAH for the UK is the CVO UK. The aim of the Code is to assure the sanitary safety of international trade in terrestrial animals and their products.
4.37. The Code is an integral part of the regulatory system established by the WTO for trade in animals and their products. Veterinary authorities are encouraged to base their import health measures on the WOAH standards. In the case of the EU, many of the current measures are based on the WOAH standards.
B) European Union (EU)
4.38. The requirements to control the exotic animal diseases covered by this framework are enshrined in retained EU legislation, either by EU Directive or EU Regulation. EU law is relatively flexible and recognises that animal diseases are dynamic and that a flexible approach is required for their control. This flexibility is achieved through the Commission and SCoPAFF. In the event of an outbreak, the Commission may take immediate measures, such as restricting intra‑Community trade, and may also put forward disease control proposals for consideration by SCoPAFF. Ultimately, all measures or proposals made by the Commission must be approved by qualified majority by SCoPAFF. The UK is no longer an EU Member State and doesn't attend. However, it is likely we would attempt to align with EU rules in order not to impact international trade.
C) Third countries
4.39. Following an outbreak of exotic animal disease third countries may ban or restrict the import of animals or their products. It is hoped that third countries will abide by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) Code. But often bilateral negotiations are required to restore trade – the responsibility for these negotiations' rests with Defra and CVO UK.
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