5. Composition and structure of STAC
The STAC should have a standard core membership to ensure consistency, to support a rapid response and for planning purposes. The core membership should normally consist of the following - preferably in person or by tele/videocommunications if necessary:
- NHS Board - Director of Public Health or Consultant in Public Health Medicine, as initial chair in the majority of cases unless early circumstances indicate that risks to human health are not considered to be a significant concern
- Local Authority - Senior Environmental Health Representative
- Fire and Rescue Service - if accident involves hazardous material HAZMAT Officer, or Scientific Adviser if available locally
- Health Protection Scotland - Consultant
- SEPA Representative
- Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency Vet - if the incident impacts on animal health and welfare
- Lead Responder - Liaison Officer to liaise between the STAC and the wider multi-agency ( SCG) response (usually from the Police)
- Communications Officer (a representative from the SCG Public Communications Group)
As the incident progresses the composition of the STAC can be tailored to reflect the nature, scope and scale of the specific emergency, e.g. representation from other agencies such as Scottish Water and Scottish Ambulance Service. Technical advisers from installations and assets that are involved in the situation may also be invited.
Unless early circumstances indicate that risks to human health are not considered to be a significant concern, the STAC should initially be chaired by a senior representative of a local NHS Board, normally the Director of Public Health or a Consultant in Public Health Medicine. The chair of the STAC may pass to another agency as the emergency progresses based on an assessment of the consequences by the current STAC and SCG chairs.
Irrespective of which agency chairs the STAC, the individual chairperson should have the relevant skills and experience to chair complex technical meetings in a crisis setting, in order to fulfil the remit of the cell in providing coordinated advice. The lead individual should be someone at an appropriate level of seniority within their own agency. The chair should be able to arrive at a consensus that conveys the combined expert view of the STAC and not of their own organisation.
In order that coordinated work in the STAC continues during periods when the chair is reporting to the main strategic or other coordinating groups, a member of the STAC should be briefed to act as deputy chair.
All STAC members and support staff should be competent to undertake the roles assigned to them as part of STAC. Opportunities for specific training should be maximised to familiarise themselves with the requirements of these roles.
An example list of key agencies that could provide expert advice is provided in Table 1.