In September 2018, I announced a review of the existing roles and activities of Civil Defence. The intention of this review is to set out a road map for the Civil Defence organisation over the next 10-15 years. The outcome of this review will be a policy document, titled "Towards 2030", which I intend to publish in the coming months.
As part of the review, there has been a wide ranging consultation process with all stakeholders, including Local Authority management, Civil Defence Officers and Assistant Civil Defence Officers, volunteers, and the Principal Response Agencies.
To inform the consultation process, a draft document has been prepared setting out proposals for consideration in relation to future roles.
In terms of the auxiliary fire service, this has been an integral part of Civil Defence since its establishment in 1951. However Civil Defence have had limited involvement in fire fighting in recent years with their role focused on wild land fires in a small number of counties. Frontline fire fighting has become increasingly professionalised in recent years and it requires significant investment in both training and equipment because of the inherent dangers involved. My Department will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that all views are considered in mapping the way forward.
The Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) issue is a different issue and unrelated to the review of the roles and activities of Civil Defence that I launched last September. There has and continues to be on going contact between my officials, the County and City Management Association and PHECC with a view to finalising licensing arrangements for Civil Defence.
I can assure you that I am committed to ensuring that the excellent emergency medical service provided by Civil Defence volunteers continues.