Plans To Strengthen Emergency Planning Discussed

The Council is to develop an islanders’ skills so he or she can deal with any emergency the islands may face.

Councillors have heard there’s a need to add strength to the Emergency Planning Department, with a role that Councillor Christine Savill described as “essential for the wellbeing of the community.”

Chief Executive, Philip Hygate told Councillors there needs to be a long term view for the position as there’ll be a vacancy to fill in 4 or 5 years because of retirement.

The Emergency Planning team used to employ two part-time staff, a full time clerical assistant and a Community Safety Officer as well as William Thomas.

Now they are down to a Community Safety Officer for one day per week and an Emergency Planning Assistant dealing with admin for 4 days per week.

Councillor Richard McCarthy said he was nervous over whether such an important role could be filled locally with a trainee but Philip Hygate thinks it can be done and he is was aware of the significance of the position – Philip is personally answerable to both the Cabinet Office and the Council.

Chris Thomas backed the local recruiting plan but he wanted to make sure the applicant stayed with the authority after training.

Philip warned it wasn’t the French Foreign Legion and “you can’t get people to sign for 27 years in front of the Tricolore.”

However, funding the role still remains an issue. The position would cost between £17,000 and £19,000 a year. The Council has made some savings by understaffing Emergency Planning but money needs to be sourced for the service.

Philip said budget given from Government was clearly derisory and it remains an issue.