3. Command and Control Structures
3.1. Response levels
3.1.1. Scottish Ministers have a legal responsibility to control notifiable animal diseases in Scotland. Strategic direction during an outbreak is provided by the Scottish Government through the Disease Strategy Group ( DSG). APHA is the lead agency responsible for dealing with the operational response to an outbreak and will initiate the local response on behalf of Scottish Government. On confirmation of disease APHA will establish a National Disease Control Centre ( NDCC) to command, control and co-ordinate a response for those involved in controlling the disease at an operational level. Where disease crosses administrative boundaries the NDCC will co-ordinate APHA activities across GB.
3.1.2. If necessary the Scottish Government Resilience Room ( SGoRR) will be activated to co-ordinate the response required to manage the wider consequences of an outbreak.
3.2. Local Disease Control Centre ( LDCC)
Upon confirmation of an exotic notifiable disease in Scotland APHA will establish a Local Disease Control Centre ( LDCC). The LDCC would likely be located in the APHA office in Strathearn House, Perth to manage the operational response. APHA's Head of Field Delivery Scotland ( HoFDS) will become the Outbreak Director for Scotland to provide leadership and direction for the LDCC. The Outbreak Director for Scotland will consider establishing a Forward Operations Base ( FOB) close to the outbreak to provide a local base for staff involved in patrolling, surveillance and field operations activities.
3.2.2. LDCC Management Control Team ( MCT)
The Management Control Team ( MCT) is the tactical executive body embedded within the LDCC to deal with issues of:
- Local implementation problems of national policy
- local communications with stakeholders and the media
Each of the key operational partners will have a representative at the MCT. To ensure rapid decision making this should be a senior officer involved in the outbreak (teleconference facilities will be made available for those unable to attend in person). Membership of the MCT should be agreed in advance of an outbreak with names of nominated deputies also provided to cover annual leave and sick absences. A contact directory is maintained by APHA local offices (see para 2.1.1 above).
It is recognised that it is unlikely that in all situation operational partners will be able to have a representative physically attending the meetings therefore the option of attending these meetings by teleconference will be available.
In the event of disease confirmation (less likely on suspicion) in Scotland the Outbreak Director for Scotland will arrange for APHA's Communications Team to contact the appropriate members of the MCT relevant to the disease in question to arrange the first meeting. MCT members may need to be contacted out of normal working hours or at weekends. The Outbreak Director for Scotland will chair the meetings. The MCT will meet regularly, normally twice a day during the initial phase of the disease response, but probably less frequently in later phases.
The MCT will normally include the following:
- Outbreak Director for Scotland - Chair ( APHA)
- Scotland Veterinary Lead ( APHA)
- Field Operations Tactical Manager ( APHA Field Team leader )
- LDCC Manager ( APHA)
- LDCC Finance Manager ( APHA)
- APHA Communications
- APHA Resilience Lead
- Scottish Government Communications Liaison Officer
- Scottish Government Principal Agricultural Officer
- Local Authority(ies) Liaison Officer
- Local Authority(ies) Resilience Advisers
- Police Scotland Liaison Officer
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA)
- RRP Coordinator
- Consultant (or consultants) in Public Health Medicine ( CPH(M))
- Health Protection Scotland ( HPS)
- Other organisations may be co-opted as the need arises
In circumstances where public or human health is impacted or at risk, representative from the relevant NHS Board and Health Protection Scotland should be considered as members.
3.3. Local Authority Co-ordinating Groups
The local authority co-ordinating groups listed below are represented at the Scottish Framework Agreement Steering Group. The Framework aims to help meet the objectives of the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain and in turn, meets the requirements of Regulation EC 882/2004  on official controls as to ensure effective, accountable and consistent delivery of animal health and welfare services. The Framework Steering Group, chaired by APHA, ensures all Scottish local authorities are signed up to the framework. APHA will regularly discuss with each individual local authority their framework service plan which helps support the planning and delivery of local authority's animal health and welfare functions. This Framework Steering Group is not a disease control response group but has an important role in disease prevention as it helps in the delivery of critical control point inspections for markets, high risk farm visits, education, advice and training.
Local Authority Co-ordinating Groups include:
- Societies of Chief Officers of Environmental Health and Trading Standards
- The Scottish Animal Health and Welfare Panel.
- Regional Animal Health and Welfare Panels (north, south, central, east and west).
- Scottish Animal Health and Welfare Strategy Group
- National Animal Health and Welfare Panel
- Local Authority Resilience Group Scotland
3.4. Resilience Partnerships
Regional and Local Resilience Partnerships ( RRPs/ LRPs) are the principal mechanisms for multi-agency co-ordination under The Civil Contingencies Act 2004. They promote co-operation between organisations in preparation for responding to a major emergency, such as a notifiable animal disease outbreak.
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 the affected local authority will maintain the link between the resilience partnership and disease control response through attendance at the LDCC- MCT and NDCC. If a Resilience Partnership is stood up Police Scotland will be invited to attend the DSG.
Where an animal disease outbreak is zoonotic ( i.e. can affect human health) close liaison would take place with Health Protection Scotland and the relevant NHS Board(s). The public health response to the outbreak would be coordinated through a National Incident Management Team ( IMT) chaired by Health Protection Scotland. This National IMT will lead the management and coordination of the public health response in Scotland following the principles set out in the Guidance on the Management of Public Health Incidents.
- Membership of the National IMT would include CsPH(M) from affected NHS board areas and representatives from the APHA, Local Authorities and others as appropriate.
- Local implementation and operational aspects of the public health response, e.g. local arrangements for carrying out risk assessments and provision of pre or post exposure prophylaxis as agreed by the National IMT, will be the responsibility of the NHS board CsPH(M) in the affected area(s). The CPH(M) may convene a local NHS board IMT to facilitate this in line with their local incident management arrangements.
- HPS and the CsPH(M) from relevant NHS board areas would be invited to attend the LDCC MCT and HPS would also attend the DSG.
Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between national (Scottish and UK) and local structures that may be set up to help co-ordinate and manage the disease control response and the links to wider consequence management structures.
Figure 1: National and local diseases control response structures and links to wider consequence management
It will be for 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 Coordinator will be invited by APHA to attend the LDCC MCT meetings. See para 3.2.2 for more detail on the LDCC MCT.
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
3.5. NHS led Incident Management Team (National IMT)
On suspicion of disease, and if the outbreak has zoonotic potential, the NHS board CsPH(M) will lead the local public health response in close liaison with HPS and in line with local incident management arrangements.
If disease is subsequently confirmed, and has zoonotic potential, National Incident Management Team ( IMT) will be convened by HPS to coordinate the multi-agency public health response to the outbreak in Scotland following the principles set out in the Guidance on the Management of Public Health Incidents.
The local NHS board CsPH(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. Representatives from the National IMT will sit on the DSG and the LDCC- MCT to ensure effective liaison and coordination between animal and public health response structures. Similarly, an APHA representative will be invited to attend the National IMT.
3.6. Scientific and Technical Advice
During outbreaks of exotic animal diseases, scientific and technical advice on animal disease control is co-ordinated at a Scottish level through the Scottish Government's Disease Strategy Group ( DSG) drawing on veterinary and scientific advice through EPIC (the Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks) or the GB wide National Experts Group ( NEG) within the National Disease Control Centre ( NDCC). Outputs from these groups can be shared with operational partners. Specific requests for advice from NEG by operational partners should be routed through the LDCC (or directly to DSG via SG's Resilience Division if requests come from responders outwith an area directly affected by the disease).
Where an animal disease outbreak has zoonotic potential, scientific and technical advice on the public health implications and management will be provided by the National Incident Management Team ( IMT) chaired by Health Protection Scotland. Specific requests for advice from the National IMT by operational partners should be routed through the local CPH(M) who will be a member of the National IMT.
Depending on the scale and severity of the incident, the Scottish Government would where necessary request, via the Cabinet Office, the activation of and/or the support of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies ( SAGE) to consider scientific and technical implications wider than disease control. If a resilience partnership wishes to establish their own Scientific and Technical Advice Cell ( STAC) ( i.e. to provide resilience partnerships with authoritative information outside of that being considered by the NEG and the IMTs), they should do so through their normal activation procedures.
The Scottish Government would where necessary request, via the Cabinet Office, the activation of and/or the support of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies ( SAGE)  to consider scientific and technical implications wider than disease control.