Friday, 6 November 2009
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill visits Ayrshire
THE Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP paid an inaugural visit to the new Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team offices, located in Robertson Road at Glasgow Prestwick International Airport.
[Pictured: Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill and South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan are pictured holding the plaque that the Cabinet Secretary unveiled during his inaugural visit to the new offices of the Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team, located at Glasgow Prestwick International Airport, also pictured are representatives from North and East Ayrshire Council along with representatives from the agencies the team work with.]
Employees from North, South and East Ayrshire Councils, who previously worked in the Emergency Planning sections of their respective Councils, have now been formed into one Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team. The Team was formed following discussions between the three councils about the benefits of merging this service. A Steering Group was formed to oversee the transition and future development of the service.
Since December 2008 the employees have been working together. Funding contributed by the Scottish Government enabled members of the Team to relocate, refurbish their office accommodation to meet their specialised needs and to update their IT capability.
After his inaugural visit, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP said: “Working together with local authorities, law enforcement agencies and other organisations, we are committed to enabling our communities to withstand emergencies of all shapes and sizes where these cannot be prevented. We must use resources flexibly and pragmatically, and promote resilience across the public, private and voluntary sectors.
“The Scottish Government was happy to assist with the start-up costs for the Joint Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team. This new service will ensure strategic priorities in Ayrshire can be identified together and decisions taken jointly about how the vital civil contingencies specialists are deployed.
“There has been a great deal of detailed work involved in creating this new service which will enable more effective multi-agency working and help the three Ayrshire Councils work together in preparing how they respond to any emergency incident in or affecting their council areas.”
The Team address all aspects of civil contingencies planning, which is governed by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Under this Act local authorities have been classed as a ‘Catergory 1 Responder’, giving the Council the same powers and duties as the emergency services. Each council has a statutory duty to respond to emergencies, their main role being to care for uninjured people who have been affected by an emergency incident, to assist and support the emergency services and to lead the recovery process.
The aim of the Team is to ensure that the Ayrshire Councils provide a high quality and effective emergency planning service, by working to wherever possible prevent emergencies taking place. If an emergency situation does occur, the Team will make sure that all Ayrshire Councils have plans and arrangements in place to respond to and counteract the effects of any emergencies that do occur.
The Provosts, Leaders, Chief Executives and members of the Steering Committee from North, South and East Ayrshire Council were present were representatives from Scottish Resilience Civil Contingencies Unit, Strathclyde Police, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Scottish Ambulance Service, Maritime Coastguard Agency, Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
Everyone was welcomed to the event by South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan who said: “Communities across Ayrshire are diverse, by having one highly skilled Ayrshire Team we know that we are prepared for whatever emergencies may face us in the future. The Team are involved in a range of ongoing training programmes and exercises so that they maintain their skills. The offices have been refurbished to meet their requirements so that they can help prevent emergencies arising and also to deal with them when they occur.”
North Ayrshire Provost Robert Rae said: “I am very pleased that the Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team is now established. Thanks are due to all the staff who have brought about this successful merging. I welcome and support any initiative that means improved services to the public and prevents duplication of effort. The new Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team does this.”
East Ayrshire Council Provost Stephanie Young said: “It is good to know that in the event of any contingency, we will be well prepared in Ayrshire. No one can predict what might happen in the future, but having this trained and capable team on hand gives us a measure of security. It is essential that East, North and South Ayrshire work together, and I am delighted to be present at the opening of this new base.”
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