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Warning and Informing Scotland


Scotland faces a range of threats and hazards - from terrorist incidents to severe weather, from disease outbreaks to utility failures.

These and other challenges, collectively assessed and graded in the UK’s National Risk Register, each have the potential to seriously disrupt everyday life for the people of Scotland.

Category 1 responders are obliged under legislation1  to “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”.

Others involved in the response to and recovery from an emergency will also have crucial roles to play.

This document provides guidance  and best practice on communicating with the public before, during and after such emergencies, and outlines general good practice for crisis communications.

This guidance does not deal with the specific challenges presented by particular emergency scenarios, which in many cases are the subject of dedicated national, regional or agency-specific communications strategies.

It has been written for a readership of strategic and tactical communicators, emergency planners and others working in resilience, and aims to promote effective public communication as an essential operational tool during both the strategic response to any emergency, and the period of recovery which will follow.  It assumes a knowledge of the basics of communications and social media good practice.

Local emergency communication plans, based on Community Risk Registers, will continue to be the main source of guidance for Regional Resilience Partnerships (RRPs) and provide the basis on which local arrangements are exercised.  This guidance invites responders to consider arrangements in their area and leaves the specific local implementation of the guidance to regional Public Communications Groups (PCGs).

The guidance was most recently revised in 2018 in consultation with the resilience community, including communications specialists.

Throughout this document the term 'national' refers to Scottish arrangements or strategies. UK arrangements or strategies will be referred to as such.

1 Section 2(1)(g) of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004


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