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Surge capacity & assurance   |   GDPR & data sharing   |   Information & data flow   |   State of emergency


Roles and responsibilities

Chief Secretary

  • Receives initial notification from contact tracing team
  • Receives information and advice from the Director Public Health and acts and escalates as necessary including comms team
  • Engages with and advises the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers
  • Takes the decision to stand up Gold

Director Public Health

  • Chairs the Health Protection Review and Outbreak Management Team
  • Informs and advises Chief Secretary of context relating to cases, outbreaks and clusters
  • Provides advice as to the most appropriate disease control mechanisms

See also:  Public Health response to COVID-19

Gold Command

  • Chaired by the Chief Secretary
  • Formulates strategy based on advice from relevant professionals
  • Stands up silver groups
  • Sets direction/actions for silver groups
  • Makes recommendations to NSG/CoMIN

Council of Ministers

  • Responsible for determining policy response based on clinical, professional and political advice
  • Makes recommendations to Governor in Council for enactment of state of emergency and emergency regulations

National Strategy Group

  • Council of Ministers sub-committee
  • Comprises : Chief Minister, Treasury Minister, DfE Minister, DHSC Minister and other Ministers as required. Officers in attendance
  • Responsible for considering policy options and making recommendations to CoMIN

Health Protection Review Group

  • PH, clinical and other officers
  • Reviews findings from Contact Tracing to identify possible clusters and outbreaks and convene Outbreak Management Team as required

Outbreak Management Team

  • Investigate and determine the cause of outbreaks
  • Recommend containment measures
  • Recommend changes


  • Advice and support to public including clinical assessment and testing
  • Provides reliable, consistent information and data

Contact Tracing

  • Carries out contact tracing
  • Advises Chief Secretary of new cases
  • Follow up high risk contacts and provides data set

Surge capacity and assurance

Each individual organisation is responsible for managing its own day-to-day operational response and to ensure the escalation of appropriate information internally.

Each agency must be sufficiently resourced and be prepared to contribute resources (people, capabilities, funds, assets) needed to make the plan effective.

Each agency will provide assurance that Surge Capacity plans are in place and are regularly reviewed and tested using lessons learned.

Where additional funds or resources are required, Departments should bring a case through Gold command in the first instance unless alternate governance arrangements are put in place.

GDPR and data sharing

In planning and responding to emergencies, Departments, Boards and Offices will often find it necessary to share information in order to co-ordinate responses, and make effective plans. In many instances the information shared will contain personal data, and it will be necessary to ensure that the sharing of personal data is done in a way that protects the rights of the individual.

GDPR should not be a barrier to keeping people safe – there is an overriding public interest in doing so.   Data protection law does not stand in the way of the provision of healthcare and the management of public health issues.

For health bodies, including public health, there are specific conditions in the data protection law that makes such processing, which includes disclosures, lawful. (See paragraphs 2 and 3 of Schedule 2 to the GDPR and LED Implementing Regulations)

As the Departments and Boards are separate legal entities in order to ensure there is a lawful basis for sharing the information, a number of data sharing agreements have been created.  All agencies are responsible for ensuring where there are specific requirements for sharing information, they have a robust information sharing agreement in place with other parties as required.  An overarching policy document describing the policy drivers for sharing is being developed.

Information and data flow

State of emergency

In the event that the Council of Ministers considers that the situation in respect of Covid-19 is likely to prove a serious threat to life or health, then Ministers may recommend to the Governor in Council that a State of Emergency is declared.

This gives powers to the Governor in Council to make emergency regulations under the Emergency Powers Act 1936.

Under this situation, the governance structure on the next slide will be invoked.