Role of the Council in an Emergency

NHDC is committed to caring for the people it serves. We achieve this through the Council's ‘Objectives and Vision'. The role of the Council during a major incident will include:

  • Support to the Emergency Services
  • Supporting the Local Community
  • Promoting recovery and return to normality
  • Maintaining normal services

Staff roles during a major incident

Where possible staff roles during a major incident will be an extension of their normal working role.  The Council also has a team of staff who have volunteered to help during an incident, and may assist for example by staffing an Emergency Assistance Centre or helping in the Incident Control Centre.

NHDC response during an emergency

During a major incident Hertfordshire Constabulary will normally take the lead in co-ordinating the emergency response. This will involve liaison with all the organisations responding to the incident. 

The response by NHDC will be led by the Incident Manager; this will be a nominated representative on behalf of the Chief Executive.  The Incident Manager will call out staff as necessary from the Emergency Planning Call-Out list after the initial level of response has been decided upon. Support staff may be called upon from a number of services to help with message taking, information distribution and general duties.

Should the need arise an Incident Control Centre may be established to co-ordinate the Council’s response.  The Incident Control Centre maintains an overview of the incident and keeps a log of requests for information, support and events throughout the Council’s response and provides links to our Liaison Officer at the scene, known as the Tactical (Silver) or Site Liaison Officer and our Liaison Officer at Strategic (Gold) Command, known as the Strategic (Gold) Officer.

Depending on the incident a strategic command centre (known as Gold) may be established to oversee the medium- and long-term strategic priorities of the incident. A Site Liaison Officer from the main responders, including from NHDC, may meet adjacent to the incident at the Silver Command point to ensure the incident site itself has the available resources and equipment it requires to adequately respond.

Information and the media

NHDC recognises the need for timely information in the event of a major incident for the public and the media. Any information must be accurate and provided in a sensitive and consistent manner, therefore all information in connection with a major incident will be co-ordinated through the Hertfordshire Constabulary Press Office.

NHDC will not provide information to the public or media regarding the incident or casualties involved but will direct all enquiries to the Police Press Officer. Casualty information will be handled by the Police Casualty Bureau.

Councillor Role

Some Councillors will play a leading role during a major incident, particularly if they are a Cabinet Member, Party Leader or Ward Councillor. It is important that elected Councillors are kept informed about the incident. This area of responsibility will fall to the Incident Manager in liaison with the Council’s Communications Manager, who will need to maintain contact with appropriate Councillors.

Relevant information will be made available to Councillors, but it must be borne in mind that during a major incident it may take some time to ascertain all the facts. Councillors and staff will be asked not to speculate to the media about the incident as the Hertfordshire Constabulary will provide all information.