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The CDEM Act 2002: What it means for local authorities
To help make our society resilient to disasters, the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Act stipulates the responsibilities and roles of key agencies. If you work in a local authority, this Act affects how you carry out continuity planning and how you relate to other authorities, emergency services and your communities.

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What the Act says

Your authority must:

  • unite with your regional neighbours and emergency services to form a CDEM Group
  • develop a coordinated CDEM Group plan for how your Group manages its hazards
  • plan and provide for CDEM in your district
  • ensure you are able to function to the fullest possible extent during and after an emergency.

Through its role in a CDEM Group, your authority may be requested to:
  • help define the Crown’s CDEM goals and objectives in a National CDEM Strategy
  • participate in developing a National CDEM Plan
  • provide technical advice on CDEM issues to the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management or another CDEM Group.

What this means

Your authority is expected to:

  • coordinate through the CDEM Group, planning and activities related to CDEM across the areas of risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery.
  • develop plans cooperatively with others
  • ensure individual functions (business units) are capable of managing their own response to emergencies to the fullest possible extent
  • ensure business units coordinate across their respective sectors.

Will your authority meet the CDEM Act’s expectations?
Test your organisation with the following checklist. List the services your authority provides to New Zealanders during a major emergency? For example– “Our Water Service Unit supplies water to households.”

Answer the following questions. Score: Yes = 2, Partially = 1, No = 0

Has your authority…
  1. Developed procedures to ensure continuity of business for each business unit?
  2. Considered external risks (eg dependence upon other business units, utilities or contractors)?
  3. Assessed risk in consultation with similar authorities, not in isolation?
  4. Considered critical CDEM customer activity when establishing priorities for service restoration (how you support rescue and triage, law and order, medical and welfare, fire-fighting)?
  5. Linked planning and operational relationships with other authorities and emergency services within the regional CDEM Group?
  6. Planned in a cross-authority manner to optimise service during emergencies?
  7. Determined how the authority’s units communicate within and across sectors during an event?
  8. Validated planning by exercising, individually and collectively?
  9. Developed an ability to reconfigure services (contingency planning)?
  10. Established mechanisms to source people and resources unavailable during an emergency?
  11. Shared and applied examples of best practice risk management across business units within your authority and with other authorities?

0-9: Risk management too internally focused. Vulnerable to external risks. Weak relationships with CDEM agencies.
10-17: External risk considered. Continue to improve business resilience by strengthening external relationships and cooperative planning.
18-22: Sound risk, asset and emergency management. Cooperative planning. Continue to protect ability and reputation by improving relationships and testing and reiterating plans. Publicise and capitalise on success.

Note: The above checklist and ratings are subjective examples only