Civil Contingencies Act 2004

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 makes provision about civil contingencies by establishing data-sharing protocols and guidance amongst emergency services and utilities and transport companies, including fixed and mobile telephone service providers in the event of national emergency...

The UK government aims to ensure that people are able to go about their business freely and with confidence. The National Risk Assessment and National Risk Register are intended to capture the range of emergencies that might have a major impact on all, or significant parts of, the UK.

These are events which could result in significant harm to human welfare: casualties, damage to property, essential services and disruption to everyday life. The risks cover three broad categories: natural events, major accidents and malicious attacks.

Resilient telecommunications

Telecommunications are a fundamental enabler underpinning the effective response to any emergency. Resilient communications are able to absorb or mitigate the effects of a disruptive challenge. A disruptive challenge is an event or circumstances that disrupts normal life. These can be natural events such as flooding, or may have occurred through human intervention such as an electrical power failure or terrorist incident.

Elsewhere, the government provides advice on how to set about enhancing the resilience of telecommunications organisations may currently use and information about additional resilient telecommunications capability such as HITS (the High Integrety Telecommunications System), the NRE (National Resilience Extranet) and MTPAS (Mobile Telecoms Privileged Access Scheme).

Experience during a number of recent emergencies in the UK such as the BT plc tunnel fire in Manchester (April 2004), floods in Boscastle (August 2004) and Carlisle (January 2005), and the bombings in London (July 2005) all showed that communication systems could be disrupted in an emergency and that emergency planning needed to take that into account.

A number of generic challenges to business continuity have been identified through the national risk register. Drawing on experience and risk assessment work, the government believes that these generic challenges, adapted as necessary to local circumstances, should be used as the framework for testing the resilience of responder communications.

Supervision and enforcement

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 is supervised by the Cabinet Office through the UK Resilience Office.

Further information

See also article on Business Continuity Standards

Emergency Response and Recovery (UK Government)


Civil Contingencies Act 2004