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Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Government liaison

Control measure knowledge

In England the Home Office (HO) Fire Duty Officer and the Resilience and Emergencies Division provide the key arrangements for government liaison.

In some circumstances the scale or complexity of an emergency will be such that some degree of central government support or co-ordination becomes necessary. On these occasions, the Home Office will co-ordinate the government response policy arrangements for emergencies involving fire and rescue services.

The policy arrangements will be delivered by the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) Operations Support Team for no notice major incidents during the initial 48 hours. The HO National Resilience and Fire Directorate (NRFD) Operational Support Team will deliver the response to emergencies policy arrangements for rising tide incidents and for no notice incidents after the first 48 hours.

In both circumstances, the Home Office Fire Duty Officer is the first point of contact in government for a range of responsibilities that are within the scope of NCAF. They maintain close communications with the NRFC, the Chair of the NFCC, NSATs, NRAT and other relevant government departments. The HO Fire Duty Officer monitors developing or emerging issues and incidents, and provides the necessary advice and support.

The Home Office Fire Duty Officer is a critical link to the OSCT and NRFD operations centres which enable strategic decision makers at a national and local level to carry out their role in an informed manner. These centres comprise of government department policy officials and government liaison teams. In consultation with the chair of the NFCC and/or the NSAT, they will provide situational awareness to The Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR) and across central government departments. In addition, they co-ordinate advice for ministers and engage with government liaison officers (GLOs) via the Resilience and Emergencies Division (RED) who provide strategic coordinating groups (SCGs) with a single point of contact for central government assistance.

Liaison officers will be deployed across the UK to strategic co-ordinating groups to provide a link between local responders and the government. The Government Liaison Team (GLT) and Government Liaison Officer (GLO) A framework for engagement explains how the government will deploy liaison officers providing the link between local responders and central government departments and agencies responsible for resilience issues. They will support the local and national emergency management arrangements during and after an emergency and beforehand if the nature of the incident allows. In devolved areas, this role is fulfilled by liaison teams from the devolved administrations who link into COBR via their respective governments.

The decision to deploy liaison officers will be taken following discussion between the relevant government or devolved administration and the lead government department. Each government or administration has its own response arrangements and protocols for government liaison.

Government liaison officers (GLO) will attend any convened co-ordinating group to provide a point of contact for government and assist the exchange of information. They will contribute to the national appreciation of the situation and identify whether there are likely to be issues arising or capability gaps emerging which may require devolved or central government support or input. They enable joint working with partners to identify priorities and provide advice to COBR, lead government departments or devolved administrations to support national discussions on the deployment of scarce resources across the affected area.

In addition to the GLO, the chair of the NFCC and/or the NSAT will also provide situational awareness to COBR and across central government departments. They provide the Home Secretary and other ministers in COBR with advice in accordance with central government’s requirements. Similar advisory roles are fulfilled by senior fire and rescue service officers in the devolved administrations. Further explanation of this requirement is set out in the National coordination and advisory framework for the fire service.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Have procedures to ensure appropriate reporting and communications arrangements with relevant government departments

  • Establish and maintain a relationship with the government resilience division

Tactical actions

At strategic coordinating groups, commanders should liaise with government liaison officers to:
  • Share relevant and timely information with central government

  • Establish priorities and provide advice to COBR when required

  • Request deployment of additional resources where appropriate