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SCOTTISH GUIDANCE ON RESPONDING TO EMERGENCIES

October 2017

Reporting

Reporting

Information Sharing

The development of a clear operational picture is central to effective coordination and the main responders have a statutory duty to ensure they share information to enhance situational awareness as widely as necessary.

The reporting of circumstances should be concise, accurate and should capture the key details. It should clearly define that which is known and that which is unknown.

Information needs to be trusted and available to the right people at the right time. The failure to share and exploit information can impede an effective response and can have severe consequences.

In the lead up to and during any emergency, there will be a need to draw information from a number of stakeholders. When dealing with what could potentially be a difficult and complex occurrence, it is important to maintain a reasonably simple approach to the collation of information.

Access to sensitive information must be no wider than necessary for the efficient conduct of a response and limited to those with a business need and the appropriate personnel security control. This “need to know‟ principle applies wherever sensitive information is collected, stored, processed or shared between responders.

The more sensitive the material, the more important it is to fully understand (and ensure compliance with) the relevant security requirements. In extremis, there may be a need to share sensitive material to those without the necessary personnel security control, for example when immediate action is required to protect life or to stop a serious crime. In such circumstances a common sense approach should be adopted.

Initial information may be passed to Scottish Government officials as soon as reasonably practicable, using out of hours details if required. Information would routinely be forwarded by the Resilience Coordinator or, where necessary, the duty Police EPA. Where SGORR has not stood up, this will be through contact with the on-call Scottish Government duty officer.

The demand for information should not be burdensome for those engaged in the response, this being especially important in the early stages of a response to a sudden emergency.

The reporting mechanisms of all involved should wherever possible share a common template.

Meeting Arrangements

Meetings are likely to be convened at various levels, locations and times to coordinate action and response. It is important therefore to ensure that effective coordination is not compromised by an unstructured approach to scheduling relevant meetings. It is important that that those responding operationally are not hindered by an excessive meeting schedule.

All meetings should be concluded as quickly as possible to allow participants to progress actions and fulfil responsibilities in the wider response. The 3 minute briefing concept as promoted by Scottish Resilience Development Service (ScoRDS) provides an effective model.

Each participating agency is likely to hold internal management team meetings (generally called Emergency or Incident Management Teams). These meetings serve to bring all key individuals in a responding agency together where information can be shared and decisions made.

Meetings will also be held at a multi-agency level for most types of incident. These meetings ensure key information is shared and that any response is ‘joined-up’. In the initial stages of a spontaneous incident these will be relatively ad hoc and will likely take place at the scene of the incident.

More formal multi-agency meetings may take place as an incident progresses. The formation, location and duration of these will reflect the particular circumstance of each incident.

At a national level SGoRR will undertake an information collation and dissemination role both internally and externally. If the nature of the event requires, ministers may also participate in resilience related meetings with attendees drawn from the wider range of responders as necessary.

The SGoRR Strategic lead or Head of SGoRR will determine the frequency and format of meetings at national and ministerial level.

SGoRR and Resilience Partnerships should coordinate meetings to prevent scheduling conflict and ensure business can be progressed in an organised and timely manner.

Records

Notes, Decision Logs and Action Logs of all meetings of any response group should be maintained. In addition, it is advised that individual members of any group should make a note of actions and decisions for which they are responsible.

A major incident may result in an investigation as to its cause and a possible fatal accident or other inquiry or criminal trial. The actions of RPs will be of considerable interest. Notes of meetings will be invaluable in this regard and will, insofar as they are relevant, be subject to disclosure in any subsequent proceedings.

Resilience Partnership Situation Report

To avoid duplication of effort and for ease of production, the situation report from the RP should reflect the note of the RP meeting. A situation report should be available for internal and local circulation and transmission to SGoRR as soon as possible after the conclusion of RP meetings. Great care must be taken, however, to ensure that the creation of situation reports does not inhibit the flow of information to and between responders.

A template RP Agenda is at Annex A. When this is turned into a note of meeting it can be used as a template for the situation report.

Scottish Situation Report

On the basis of information shared by all relevant partner agencies, a Scottish Situation Report (SSR) will be created. This will be a single representation of relevant incident information that can be shared with organisations during a multi- agency response. The SSR Template is at Annex B.

Responsibility for developing an SSR will fall on SGoRR during an emergency or incident.

The SSR should provide reassurance that the ongoing response is satisfactory or identify issues causing concern. The SSR will give all responder agencies a common awareness of the situation, will assist in internal and/or media briefing and in developing a consistent approach among partners.

Following a spontaneous incident, the creation of the initial SSR will be dependent on a range of circumstances such as the scale of an incident, its complexity, the number of responders involved etc. This initial SSR will be circulated as soon as is practicable.

Debriefing

Both during and following an emergency, each of the services and agencies involved should participate in appropriate internal and multi-agency debriefing sessions to identify lessons that may be learned for ongoing co-ordination and for subsequent adjustment or amendment of future arrangements.

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