NSCWIP is the UK’s primary independent group that offers advice to the Cabinet Office on best practice for warning and informing the public during an emergency or major incident. It is made up of professionals, practitioners and academics with a wealth of experience, representing organisations and agencies which deal with community resilience at a national and local level.
The aim of National Steering Committee on Warning & Informing the Public (NSCWIP) is to encourage improvements in the UK’s arrangements for warning the public of possible, imminent and actual threats to life, the environment or property, and to inform them of the appropriate action they can take.
The objectives of NSCWIP are to:
- identify what structures are in place, and possible improvements to maximise the extent of the UK’s warning mechanisms
- clarify the responsibilities amongst emergency responders for initiating processes and issuing messages in a timely manner
- identify statutory responsibilities and/or codes of practice
- establish a mechanism to ensure that warnings and information are transmitted by the media in a timely manner
- measure the effectiveness of the processes
Terms of reference
NSCWIP has agreed the following terms of reference:
- provide advice and guidance to all Category (1) and (2) agencies in the UK, on all aspects of the Communicating with the Public duty imposed under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004)
- on behalf of Category (1) responder organisations, monitor, steer and influence UK government policy, as appropriate, in regards to warning, informing, alerting and educating the public
- the NSCWIP provides advice and assists in the development of guidance to the Cabinet Office CCS either through an ad hoc or formally through consultation process
- ensure that appropriate agencies and representative bodies, not governed by the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), are informed on a regular basis of developments in this area
Membership should consist of the following organisations and agencies:
- ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers)
- CFOA (Chief Fire Officers Association)
- health professionals/authorities - NHS
- professional institutions and societies
- Environment Agency
- Met Office
- MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency)
- HSE (Health and Safety Executive)
- CCS (Civil Contingencies Secretariat)
- devolved governments and administrations in the UK
- academic institutions
- independent advisors as considered appropriate
Message from the Chair of NSCWIP
Rosanna Briggs, MSc, Deputy Head of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, Essex Fire & Rescue Service and Essex County Council said:
The introduction of the Civil Contingencies Act in November 2004 has indeed moved the community resilience agenda forward over the past few years, and NSCWIP applauds the achievements made by the Cabinet Office – through their Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) and in particular the experienced and dedicated team at CCS who have made so much progress in the field of warning and informing.
The development of the Civil Contingencies Act Enhancement Programme provided the CCS an opportunity to enable NSCWIP to inform policy development as a member of the ‘Task and Finish Group’. The Group considered evidence and has made proposals for some minor changes to improve the ‘communicating with the public’ elements of the Act, its Regulations and supporting guidance.
Where it can, NSCWIP also assists the CCS in directly engaging with local resilience practitioners to discuss local issues at a national level. As such the committee and I supported the delivery of workshops in Bristol, Manchester and London a while ago, and a new round of workshops held in 2012. All this helps to inform our profession.
NSCWIP this year has put much attention on the impact of social media on resilience. The committee has received presentations at its meetings on current research, supported an over-subscribed CCS workshop held in Birmingham. More recently NSCWIP held their own internal workshop in November 2012 to assist the work to progress the Civil Alerting agenda.
I have now been chair for 2 years and am delighted the NSCWIP has grown in strength due in part to the interest and dedication of its membership and the support from the authorities they work for. Exciting and innovative methods are being employed across the country to engage our communities. Our aim for the committee for 2013 will be to seek to improve its own communications and to provide regular updates through the website on our work and progress.