United Kingdom National Platform


The Civil Contingencies Secretariat was established in July 2001 after serious flooding, the Fuel Crisis in 2000, and the Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreak in 2001, exposed deficiencies in the UK's civil protection arrangements. Since then, CCS has worked to improve the UK's preparedness for, and response to, emergencies.


The Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) sits within the Cabinet Office at the heart of central government. It works in partnership with government departments, the devolved administrations (Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland) and key stakeholders to enhance the UK's ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.


CCS has a number of specific objectives:

Spotting trouble, assessing its nature and providing warning

Not all emergencies are predictable. But, for those that are, the earlier an emerging crisis is detected, and the more accurately its likely size and shape are assessed, the better the response will be put into place. This objective covers the measures needed to ensure that, working with Departments and a wide range of other organizations, CCS can spot, assess and warn of trouble and thus facilitate the provision of the most effective response, drawing on lessons from past experience.

Being ready to respond

This objective covers the preparedness of all of those who might have a role to play in the response to a major disruptive challenge. As well as ensuring that CCS itself is ready, it is also about tracking the preparedness of organizations at national and local levels, in the public sector and outside, using the Civil Contingencies Act to develop and embed performance audit and management regimes across all responders, rooted in formal preparedness assessments. CCS also aims to ensure mechanisms are in place so that the UK is as well placed as it can be to respond to threats which horizon-scanning shows may be at higher risk of occurring.

Building greater resilience for the future 

This objective covers action at all levels, from local to international, to build stronger resilience capabilities. It thus covers the processes led by the CCS to drive the delivery of resilience capabilities. It also covers international work to develop closer relations in the resilience field through which we can build mutual resilience. This includes bilateral work, and action in the EU and in NATO to seek to build greater resilience capability in partner countries, as well as the EU's own ability to manage a crisis.

Providing leadership and guidance to the resilience community

CCS aims to tell those involved in delivering and building resilience across the UK what the secretariat is trying to do, where it is trying to get to, how it will get there and how it will know that it has succeeded - in short, to build consistency and coherence across the UK. Some key means are already in place, especially via the Capabilities Programme and its outputs and the Civil Contingencies Act. CCS will be focusing on the development of a 'National Resilience Strategy' and reviewing the national exercise programme.

Effective management 

This objective covers the way in which CCS manages itself, and its effective management of Cabinet Office processes. Some of it is routine but nonetheless important. CCS aims to sustain reputation as effective managers of people and money, and as efficient operators of Cabinet Office processes.


The ten most significant achievements over the past four years are: 

  1. Establishing a UK-wide horizon scanning capacity
  2. Establishing a national risk assessment process 
  3. Delivering improved performance and outputs across the civil protection area through the Capabilities Programme 
  4. Establishing the UK's first national exercise programme 
  5. Supporting the new Resilience Emergency Divisions 
  6. Delivering a Civil Contingencies Act 
  7. Securing the right resources for civil protection 
  8. Transforming the Emergency Planning College 
  9. Playing a key role in helping to co-ordinate the Government's response to emergencies 
  10. Enhancing the UK's international civil protection networks

Current concerns

  • Pandemic flu 
  • Avian flu 
  • Severe Weather, Flooding, Drought 
  • Human Health 
  • Terrorism 
  • Transport Accidents 
  • Animal and Plant Diseases 
  • Public Protest 
  • International Events 
  • Industrial Technical Failure
  • Structural Failure 
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) 
  • Industrial Accidents and Environmental Pollution
United Kingdom - government
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