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Solace blog

23rd November 2018

Strategic Preparation for Emergencies – its MAGIC!

There has never been a time when the local authority role in civil emergencies has been more firmly in the spotlight. It is vital that strategic leaders who perform the role of Gold commander are prepared for the complexities of the role, which may be very different from their day to day responsibilities.

Recent events in Salisbury have demonstrated how wide-ranging civil emergencies can be. Who would have imagined an iconic city, renowned for its idyllic setting and historic cathedral, would have to deal with the complex response to and recovery from a nerve agent attack? Similarly, terrorist incidents in London and Manchester in 2017 as well as the Grenfell Tower fire, all demonstrated the need for local authority leaders to be at the forefront of response and recovery operations when disaster strikes.

That’s where MAGIC comes in!

Since 2012, the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP) have ensured that blue light services and key partners train together to deliver effective coordination in emergencies.

The Multi-Agency Gold Incident Command (MAGIC) course, run by the College of Policing, in partnership with the National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) and the Fire Service College, prepares strategic leaders across all category 1 and 2 responders for the role of strategic command in emergencies.

Responding to training needs analysis undertaken in 2017 by the Cabinet Office, Local Authority strategic leaders are being offered the opportunity to complete the MAGIC course in two stages:

1. Phase 1 (classroom-based facilitated learning and key speakers) – 2 days
2. Phase 2 (Immersive learning exercise and recovery from emergencies) – 1 ½ days

Both phases must be undertaken within 2019 to successfully complete the programme.

Chief Superintendent Nicky Searle from the College of Policing, who is piloting the phased delivery programme said, ‘Local Authority strategic leaders have a vital role to play in the initial response and longer-term recovery from emergencies. Working closely with emergency service colleagues and other key partners, the MAGIC course supports the JESIP principles of interoperability and a greater understanding of the different roles and strengths of each agency. It also encourages early consideration of the recovery process. The course provides invaluable networking opportunities with colleagues from across the UK and abroad and promotes consistency across partner agencies.’

Laurel Niven, from Ashford Borough Council, attended the MAGIC course in June 2018. She said, ‘I would recommend that other local authorities encourage strategic leads to attend. It is a great course and sets an excellent environment for discussion. It will highlight to them the importance of emergency planning within your organisation and help raise the profile. ‘

She added, ‘The course was, for me, a great opportunity to work with multi-agency partners on a national basis, sharing learning, and listening first-hand to the experience of others. It proved that Local Authorities have an equally important role to play during a major emergency, and helped demonstrate how recovery should operate alongside the response phase of an emergency. ‘

The four-day programme covers:

  • The role of strategic civil contingencies command
  • Legal liabilities addressing human aspects of emergencies
  • Addressing the human aspects of disasters
  • Understanding Disaster Victim Identification
  • Understanding strategy
  • Role of powers, policies & procedures in strategic decision making
  • The Joint Decision Model
  • Importance of effective recovery management
  • Immersive learning through the Hydra system
  • Media & Social Media
  • Government expectations
  • Role of the military in civil emergencies

Located at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, the programme attracts delegates from all over the UK and overseas, including leaders from the blue light services, Environment Agency, Network Rail, Transport for London, UK Atomic Energy Authority, local government, and utilities companies.

For further information please contact Chief Superintendent Nicky Searle, Course Director –

By Chief Superintendent Nicky Searle, Course Director