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Question for Department of Health

UIN 35866, tabled on 27 April 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the infrastructure cost was of installing a national emergency operations centre at the head office of Public Health England in 2011.

Answered on

9 May 2016

The Department and Public Health England (PHE) have specific responsibilities for planning and managing the response to emergencies and health protection incidents and outbreaks in an extended team that works across government. The Department commissions PHE to exercise specific functions on behalf of the Secretary of State under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, including a duty to ensure effective plans are in place, take part in national exercises, and co-ordinate responses. The Secretary of State has cross-government responsibility to provide assurance on the health system’s emergency preparedness. Thus PHE is required to complete an annual assurance exercise for the Department to ensure arrangements are in place for a sustainable and interoperable response in the event of an incident, emergency or business continuity event.

The PHE National Emergency Operations Centre operates when the response requires national leadership and co-ordination. It coordinates PHE’s activities and as one of its functions produces briefings and situation reports for Ministers, the Cabinet Office briefing room system and officials.

PHE was established in 2013. The National Emergency Operations function was previously carried out by the former Health Protection Agency. Therefore the Department has not been able to specifically identify the historical costs of creating the National Incident Coordination Centre in 2011.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care