Crisis measures get extra funding boost in Wigan
Extra investment has been ploughed into emergency planning to protect Wigan residents against everything from floods and heatwaves to a terrorist attack.
Over the years Wigan Council has recruited a number of new roles to the civil contingencies response team, including emergency humanitarian activation co-ordinators, health and wellbeing managers and reception centre managers.
It is the first council in Greater Manchester area to have such roles on 24-hour standby, and has also invested in two high-volume water pumps.
Through the identification of additional funding by the council, the revenue spend on the wider emergency planning function for 2018/19 is projected to be £165,000.
Prof Kate Ardern, director of public health and lead officer for emergency planning, said: “Making sure we are prepared for any emergency which arises in the borough is hugely important to us and something we invest a lot of time and resources into.
“Each year different emergencies on different scales will occur, therefore we work hard to make sure we are best prepared for each eventuality with our more integrated approach, delivered through staff having wider less self-contained roles.
“Making sure our residents are as safe and protected as possible is our biggest priority, even during a time when local authorities have seen significant cuts in funding, we have still made significant improvements to our 24/7/365 response capabilities.
“We have also been creative in the way we have relocated our Emergency Control Centre, which has additional capabilities that the former one did not have that will assist us to manage incidents, while keeping cost down.
“We will continue to work hard with all of our partners to keep the borough protected.”
The council has invested in staff volunteers to form a specialist Emergency Care Team to give advanced emotional and mental health wellbeing support to those affected by an incident.
By maintaining funding in this area, Wigan is bucking a trend. Across England, spending on emergency planning has dropped significantly in real terms, from £39.3m in 2013 to £25.9m last year.