Publication - FOI/EIR release

Military Aid to Civil Authority (MACA) support in relation to COVID-19 pandemic: FOI release

Published: 3 Mar 2021

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
3 Mar 2021
Military Aid to Civil Authority (MACA) support in relation to COVID-19 pandemic: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100135824
Date received: 12 Jan 2021
Date responded: 17 Feb 2021
Information requested

In the last six months :

1. Has the Scottish Government requested the deployment of service personnel under the MACA (Military Aid to Civil Authority)? If so, please can you confirm what was assistance asked for, when it was asked for and what was the response form the UK Government

2. What assessment has been carried out by the Scottish Government of the role MACA could provide to the delivery of vaccine roll out?

3. Have the MOD been asked to provide an assessment of what help could be provided under MACA in relation to Covid 19?

4. Has the UK Government offered help to the Scottish Government under the MACA to help with Covid. If so, when and what was offered?

Response

1. With regards to assistance through the deployment of service personnel, I can confirm that the Scottish Government has asked for military support under Military Aid for Civil Authorities (MACA) provisions and these have been in place for the last six months. The support was initially for Covid Testing and more recently for Vaccination, including: planning support (including logistics), vaccination centre setup, vaccinators and vaccination centre administration. The latest approved MACA for vaccination support is dated 22nd Jan 2021. These requests were organised in liaison between NHS Regional Health Boards, the Flu Vaccine Covid Vaccine Programme, the Scottish Government and the Armed Forces. The UK Government has accepted these requests when made and offered up appropriate resources that have equated to a fair and proportional allocation of military aid for Scotland.

It may be helpful to note that following the recent authorisation of a MACA (10 February) up to 320 military personnel will be deployed from 22 February to assist NHS Boards and Local Authorities with the initial set up, training and delivery of asymptomatic test sites, as the next stage of Scotland’s community testing programme gets underway.

2. The provision of military assistance to the civil authorities is covered in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA 04) - Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (legislation.gov.uk). This sets out the principles and conditions by which MACA can be provided. When responding to COVID-19, the Scottish Government has consistently assessed the need for MACA against the criteria in CCA 04. NHS Scotland Regional Boards requests for military assistance were assessed by Scottish Government staff and the Flu Vaccine Covid Vaccine programme office to ensure the requirements couldn’t be met by other methods. Where niche capabilities are required (e.g. Logistics planning) or parts of the civil authority have been at capacity (e.g. Medically trained people to vaccinate) then, on occasion, it has been considered appropriate to request military support. This assessment is made by local and national level civil planners with advice from military planners.

3. Requests for military assistance (MACAs) are scrutinised by the MoD as part of the established process and if additional assistance can be provided this is fed back to the requester. The request process for MACA entails a thorough assessment of what can be provided by the MoD as per Joint Doctrine Publication 02 (UK Operations: the Defence Contribution to Resilience and Security) JDP 02, UK Operations: the Defence Contribution to Resilience and Security (Third edition) (publishing.service.gov.uk) Embedded military planners have also been able to assess what help can be provided on a regular basis.

4. With regards to support offered by the UK Government under MACA, the Secretary of State for Scotland wrote to the Scottish Government on 2nd February iterating that the UK Government stood ready to consider any further requests for military support
- Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, letter to Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, 2nd February 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). For the past six months the Scottish Government has been liaising with the Armed Forces, with a number of MACA requests having already been accepted by the MoD, and military resources offered, and taken.

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Contact

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Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
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