Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation
Dedicated search page with advanced options

Civil Contingencies

The aim of the Civil Contingencies Policy Branch (CCPB) is to promote the development of emergency planning and response arrangements within the NI public sector to ensure that an efficient and effective response can be made to assist the public during and in the aftermath of an emergency affecting all, or a large part, of Northern Ireland.
To achieve this, CCPB will:
  • co-ordinate information and advice to the First Minister and deputy First Minister and the Executive on civil contingencies planning and policy;
  • promote civil contingencies preparedness across NI departments through provision of information and guidance and maintenance of effective civil contingencies policies;
  • facilitate co-ordination of emergency  preparedness across NI departments and the wider public sector when issues are cross-cutting;
  • maintain the NI Central Crisis Management Arrangements (NICCMA);
  • encourage Northern Ireland Departments and Agencies and other public bodies to prepare, maintain and test their contingency plans;
  • encourage good practice in the field of emergency planning;
  • monitor developments in civil contingencies arrangements at UK level and elsewhere to inform planning arrangements within Northern Ireland Departments and their Agencies;
  • where required advise on appropriate training courses/seminars/presentations;
  • ensure that relevant information and guidance material is distributed to the emergency planning community throughout Northern Ireland.
By doing this Civil Contingencies Policy Branch enhances emergency preparedness and resilience in NI while facilitating other Departments and agencies where appropriate in co-ordinating the response to and recovery from emergencies as they occur.  
Programmes and activities include planning for and assisting others to plan for key risks; developing the central crisis management capability; working alongside local government to develop its Emergency Management Strategy 2009 -14; facilitating the wider government response to civil emergencies such as widespread flooding in 2008, the outbreak of swine flu in 2009 and the severe weather and water supply emergency of 2010/11; and leading multi-agency reviews of learning points from emergencies, the most prominent of which was the Ministerial Fermanagh Flooding Taskforce in 2009/10.

Civil Contingencies Structures for Northern Ireland: Preparedness

In order to facilitate co-ordination of emergency preparedness CCPB manages a cross-cutting Civil Contingencies Group (Northern Ireland) (CCG (NI)) structure which brings together representatives from the key public service organisations involved in emergency preparedness.

Civil Contingencies Group (NI) (CCG (NI))

The Civil Contingencies Group (NI) (CCG (NI)) is the public service strategic emergency planning policy review and development group. The emergency planning and response arrangements developed and endorsed by CCG (NI) will be those used in a major emergency.  It will normally be chaired by the Director of Corporate Services in OFMDFM. Its core membership comprises officers from Northern Ireland Departments, representatives from the Executive Information Service, Food Standards Agency, Northern Ireland Office, district councils and the emergency services.  To help deliver its objectives CCG (NI) may form sub-groups or working groups.  

Civil Contingencies Structures for Northern Ireland: Strategic Response

In addition to policy development and day-to-day promotion of preparedness, Civil Contingencies Policy Branch maintains arrangements to deliver strategic co-ordination for very large-scale emergencies through the Northern Ireland Central Crisis Management Arrangements (NICCMA).  These arrangements consist of a number of possible elements which would be activated as appropriate for the most serious emergencies affecting Northern Ireland which require strategic co-ordination by central Government.  
Key elements of NICCMA include:

Crisis Management Group (CMG)

The Crisis Management Group (CMG) is normally a Minister-led Group responsible for setting the overall strategy for response to the emergency.  The Group reports to the NI Executive and has the power to direct the response and commit resources across the Northern Ireland Civil Service.  Membership would be at Ministerial and/ or senior official level and the organisations represented would vary depending on the nature of the emergency and its impacts.

Civil Contingencies Group (NI) (CCG (NI))

In addition to its role in emergency preparedness the CCG(NI) may also meet as part of the NICCMA either in support of the Crisis Management Group or as the lead co-ordination group in circumstances where the emergency does not require the direct engagement of Ministers and senior officials.

Supporting Machinery

The Crisis Management Group and the CCG(NI) would be supported by a range of administrative and advisory groups which would vary depending on the nature of the emergency.  This could include a Central Operations Room, a scientific and technical advisory group and liaison arrangements with other co-ordination groups.

What's new

In this section you will find the latest Civil Contingencies news.
Refresh of Northern Ireland Guidance Documents
The Northern Ireland guidance documents, 'A Guide to Emergency Planning Arrangements in Northern Ireland' and 'The Northern Ireland Civil Contingencies Framework' have been refreshed to ensure that the terminology used in them is up to date and that they reflect the latest developments in Northern Ireland civil contingencies arrangements. The refreshed versions of these documents are now available below in 'Publications'.


For further information on these documents contact CCPB on:
phone: 028 9052 8461 or


Useful links

Contact us

If you require further information about Emergency Planning you can contact the Civil Contingencies Policy Branch -
Block A, level 5
Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Belfast BT4 3SR
phone: 028 9052 8461