Publication - Advice and guidance

Preparing Scotland: resilience guidance

"Core" guidance on resilience, covering resilience philosophy, principles, structures and regulatory duties

90 page PDF

3.1 MB

90 page PDF

3.1 MB

Contents
Preparing Scotland: resilience guidance
v DUTY TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE PUBLIC

90 page PDF

3.1 MB

v DUTY TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE PUBLIC

Mandatory requirements - Category 1 responders must:
1 Arrange for the publication of all or part of the assessments made and plans maintained, if publication is necessary or desirable for the purpose of: preventing an emergency; reducing, controlling or mitigating its effects; or enabling other action to be taken in connection with an emergency - Section 2(1)(f).
2 Maintain arrangements to warn the public, and to provide information and advice to the public, if an emergency is likely to occur or has occurred - Section 2(1)(g).
3 In maintaining plans under Section 2(1)(d), (the duty to maintain plans to ensure a body is able to maintain its functions), have regard for the duty to warn and inform the public if an emergency is likely to or has occurred - Regulation 14.
4 When maintaining arrangements to warn and inform the public, have regard to plans made under the Section 2(1)(d) duty - Regulation 22.
5 Ensure that in publishing plans and assessments you do not alarm the public unnecessarily - Regulation 21.
6 Ensure that in maintaining arrangements to warn and inform you do not alarm the public unnecessarily - Regulation 24.
7 In performing the duty under Section 2(1)(g), note that you may make arrangements which relate to specific and/or generic types of emergency - Regulation 23.
8 When making arrangements made to warn and inform the public you must:
  • carry out exercises to ensure the arrangements are effective - Regulation 25(a).
  • train an appropriate number of your staff, and other persons considered necessary, to ensure the arrangements can be carried out effectively - Regulation 25(b).
9 If more than one Category 1 responder has a function in response to an emergency, those responders must co-operate with each other for the purpose of identifying which has lead responsibility for warning and informing the public - Regulation 26.
10 Have regard to the warning and informing arrangements maintained by:
  • other Category 1 responders
  • Category 2 responders
  • The Met Office
  • Scottish Ministers
  • The Secretary of State
  • Food Standards Agency
but need not maintain arrangements which would unnecessarily duplicate these other organisations' arrangements - Regulation 29.
11 Except where required to do so under the Regulations, not publish or disclose any sensitive information, unless adequate permission has been granted to do so - Regulation 45. Regulation 39 defines sensitive information as information that:
  • would, or would be likely to if disclosed to the public, adversely affect national security (evidence supplied by intelligence services may fall into this category). A certificate signed by a member of the Scottish Government is conclusive evidence of this fact (Regulation 40)
  • would, or would be likely to if disclosed to the public, adversely affect public safety
  • would, or would be likely to if disclosed to the public, prejudice the commercial interests of any person
  • is personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998, and disclosure of it to the public would contravene that Act.
Adequate permission for the publication of sensitive information means ( Regulation 45):
  • For information relating to national security or public safety - consent from the originator of the information or (if different) a member of the Scottish Government.
  • For information relating to business or affairs of a person or organisation where disclosure would harm the legitimate commercial interests of that person or organisation - consent from the person or organisation to whom the information relates.
  • For personal data - consent from the person to whom the information relates.
Further guidance on data protection issues can be found in Data Protection and Sharing - Guidance for Emergency Planners and Responders . Consent for sensitive information to be published may include conditions which must be adhered to - Regulation 45(4)(c). Plans and assessments that contain some sensitive information should still be published as long as the sensitive sections are removed or appropriate consent (see above) is acquired.

Issues to consider and recommended good practice (duty to communicate with the public):
12 Having regard for guidance in Preparing Scotland: Warning and Informing Scotland - Communicating with the Public in Civil Emergencies.
13 Liaising and sharing relevant information with the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government has a key role explaining overall national resilience efforts and, during emergencies, informing and reassuring the public.
14 Considering who is the target audience for each published communication and what particular sections of the public need to know. This should include considering the needs of:
  • survivors - those in the immediate vicinity and directly affected, possibly as wounded casualties; focus on what they need to do or know immediately. Procedures should include some form of audit trail for tracking who has and has not been contacted
  • those who might be affected by the emergency - those nearby who may need to take action to avoid further harm. Possible victims will need to know why the advice is being given. The media may be used to reinforce these safety messages
  • local people - those in the area who may be disrupted by the consequences of the emergency and clean-up process; utilising the local media to provide general information about the emergency, information on how the public can help and advice on disruption to the area
  • relatives and friends - those who are not directly affected but know or are related to those who might be and are therefore emotionally connected to the event
  • the general public - those who are not affected but are concerned or alarmed about the wider implications will also require reassurance.
15 Considering whether risk assessments and plans contain sensitive information which prevents publication. However, the mere fact that risk assessments and plans contain some sensitive information should not be used as an excuse to avoid disclosure of all of the assessment or plans. Those aspects of the assessment or plans which do not contain sensitive information should still be published.
16 Identifying groups requiring special consideration and considering how best to meet their specific needs. These "harder-to-reach" groups might include children, people with disabilities, older people, non-English speakers, those living in isolated communities, homeless people and Gypsies/Travellers. Establishing a list of target audiences will help to identify these groups.
17 Warning the public by using all appropriate means to alert members of the community whose immediate safety is at risk (at the time of emergency or when one is likely).
18 Informing and advising the public by providing relevant timely information about the nature of the unfolding event (immediate and long term post-event) and about:
  • any immediate actions to be taken by responders to minimise risk to human health, animal welfare, the environment or property
  • actions the public can take
  • how further information can be obtained
  • the end of an emergency and the return to normal arrangements.
19 Identifying what information would normally be made public in your organisation's Freedom of Information Publication Scheme. For more information see: www.itspublicknowledge.info/ScottishPublicAuthorities.
20 Considering what methods of communication should be used and who will deliver it. Although downloadable material is effective in terms of cost and delivery, not all members of the public have access to computers and alternative arrangements should be considered in addition to e-publication.
21 Including a public communications dimension in local exercises.
22 Being familiar with the media organisations in your local resilience area and develop good working relations with them. For additional guidance on working with the media see the BBC's Connecting in a Crisis initiative http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/aboutus/ciac/ .
23 Considering the undernoted as essential elements of communications planning:
  • liaising with other Category 1 and 2 responders and organisations not captured by the Act and media/public liaison teams
  • identifying potential sites in the area where the communications team might be based
  • providing media training for potential spokespeople
  • providing suitable communications equipment for press office staff to work away from their main office base
  • in actual or potential transnational incidents, providing for liaison with cross border communication offices and for calling upon mutual aid
  • establishing a media liaison point at or near the scene of an emergency and a media liaison centre close to the strategic co-ordinating group/overall commander
  • establish a plan regarding VIP and ministerial visits to the scene of an emergency.
24 Being aware of the wider information environment, particularly social networking, and have the means to monitor social networks and to utilise those networks to disseminate public information.
25 Considering how you might handle a large volume of public enquiries during an emergency, and what arrangements might be needed to filter these.
26 Considering how to make best use of existing resources, such as helplines, in the event of an emergency, and have established protocols in place outlining the arrangements. Ensure that helpline staff are appropriately trained.
27 Being aware of and use, where appropriate, guidance and information issued by government, other responders and relevant groups. The undernoted are examples and are not an exhaustive list. For general preparedness: ReadyScotland For winter preparedness: Ready Scotland Ready for Winter For business continuity: Ready Scotland Ready Business For weather advice: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/advice/ For weather warnings: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/ukforecastwarnings For flood warnings and flood advice: http://www.sepa.org.uk/flooding.aspx and http://www.scottishfloodforum.org/category/news/ For public transport advice: http://www.travelinescotland.com For roads advice: http://trafficscotland.org/ For foreign travel advice: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/ For first aid training and advice: http://www.firstaid.org.uk/ and http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/First-aid For advice to disaster survivors and the bereaved: http://www.disasteraction.org.uk/ For consistent use of resilience terminology: Cabinet Office UK Resilience Lexicon

Indicators of good Practice (duty to communicate with the public):
28 Being able to show that you have considered which audience you are targeting or addressing by way of any published information.
29 Communicating with the public to encourage and empower the community to harness local resources and expertise. This will help the community to help itself in the event of an emergency in a way which complements the activities of responders. This is especially important among vulnerable groups.
30 Using identified good practice examples and research into the effectiveness of information campaigns run by other organisations (including those overseas) to develop warning and informing activities.
31 Using the lessons process, identifying and learning lessons from previous information campaigns to inform the development of future campaigns.
32 Setting up protocols with the media for warning and informing the public.
33 Having an agreed media strategy which identifies and trains key staff in dealing with the media.
34 Having a multi-agency warning and informing system which links to information sources, stores information and generates messages. To be effective this system should be:
  • secure and foolproof - with limits on who can access, update and send information in order to avoid false messages being sent
  • expandable - so that it is able to adapt and expand as required
  • reliable - 24 hour back-up so that messages can be sent and information uploaded when required. The system should also be regularly tested and properly supported by the technical provider
  • capable of coping with different types of data and information - including pre-written generic messages, media sources and numeric data in a number of different formats
  • linked to a variety of communication channels
  • auditable
  • quick and simple to operate and update.
33 Being able to demonstrate that publication of plans and assessments is part of a joined-up communications strategy and part of your work to warn and inform the community and to encourage community resilience.

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