On Thursday 2nd February 2017 the Cabinet Office presented the EU Civil Protection Funding Information Day in Manchester which was hosted by Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue. The day gave delegates an opportunity to identify the opportunities available to secure European Union funding for civil protection projects, explore the application process as well as gain an insight into previous successful bids.

Mike Owen, Chief Executive of Bury Council provided an introduction and welcomed delegates to the session with the objectives for the day being set out by Dr Owen Jackson, Assistant Director, Civil Contingencies Secretariat. The objectives established for the day set out to:

  1. Raise awareness of the range of funding opportunities available through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and the requirements attached to funding.
  2. Improve understanding of the bidding process and funding deadlines.
  3. Improve understanding of the support that central government can offer to potential bidders.
  4. Provide advice on and an opportunity for networking with other potential UK bidders in order to identify opportunities for cooperation.

The Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM), a community of civil protection authorities, was explored by Maxwell Spence of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat who discussed the nature of the internationally coordinated response mechanism and the 28 EU member states who participate in the scheme. Opportunities of the CPM include training, exchange of experts, projects as well as exercises. During February and March 2016 the UK benefitted from CPM funding though Exercise Unified Response (EUR) which was held in London and became the commission’s largest civil protection exercise. The benefits of the exercise have had a positive impact in incidents and exercises since EUR and will drive aspects of the Local Resilience Forum business plan for years to come.

Dr Kathy Oldham talked of her experience of successful EU funding bids though both the UScore and UScore2 projects. With the aim of developing a city disaster resilience scorecard the UScore self-assessment tool assists cities to measure their resilience. The tool was designed to help cities to create action plans and strategies for strengthening resilience and through the project 5 cities piloted the scorecard, recommending improvements, becoming expert users and advise other cities on using the tool. Building on the learning of the original UScore project is UScore2 which aims to design a practical city-to-city peer review tool for measuring city resilience and resilience action planning as well as establish a peer review methodology for its application. Involving partners from across the EU the project is currently underway and is scheduled for completion in late 2018.

Delegates also heard from the Department of Communities and Local Government who highlighted the role of central government liaison in European funded projects as well as exploring the benefits of central government participation. As the session reached its close it was clear to see the many benefits on offer through applying for EU civil protection funding and the support that was available across the emergency planning network for potential bids.