Strategic Emergency Management

26th Jul 2017 Facebook Twitter

Strategic Emergency Management (SEM) National Structures and Framework

The Strategic Emergency Management (SEM) National Structures and Framework document and the associated Annexes were approved by Government on 26 July 2017The SEM identifies 50 different emergency/incident types across a range of Lead Government Departments. It provides the basis for the National-level strategic emergency management and the supports required should such emergencies occur were a national-level response is warranted, including security related emergencies. Emergencies should be dealt with locally wherever possible. The separate Major Emergency Management (MEM) Framework developed in 2006 and currently under review by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, guides the local and regional responses and inputs into the National-level responses, which the SEM addresses through the convening of a National Emergency Coordination Group chaired by the Lead Government Department (LGD) as identified in Annex A of the SEM.

The Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, which is chaired by the Minister with responsibility for Defence, includes senior representatives from all Government Departments and Agencies. It is responsible for the oversight and coordination of national-level emergency management. However, responsibility for the response to an actual emergency at a National-level remains with the LGDs identified in Annex A of the SEM.

The GTF has overseen the development of this SEM Framework, based on extensive engagement with the LGDs concerned: i.e. those Departments who must lead in the identification of risks and the planning to respond to such emergencies and the management of the actual responses when they may occur.

It is testimony to this work that the implementation of the principles, as outlined in the SEM document, by the recent National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather, led by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, received such positive comments from Government, the Public and the Media.

The SEM and the subsequent implementation plans and work programmes from the GTF help Government Departments and key public authorities in responding to emergencies at a strategic and national-level. For example, guidance on dealing with the emergency communications challenges arising from national-level emergencies, such as the recent storms. These guidelines were finalised and endorsed by the Government Task Force in January 2018 and have been published at  These guidelines help to further address emergencies that have a national-level impact or where the LGD or Minister needs support at a national-level in responding to such incidents.

The SEM replaces the ‘Strategic Emergency Planning Guidance’ document of 2004 and addresses the ongoing strategic emergency planning requirements of Government Departments and Agencies. This Government decision approving the SEM and its implementation supersede the decisions taken in 2001 when Government first established the GTF and the OEP.

In summary, the SEM addresses such issues as:

  • identifying and explaining the National structures in place
  • how the Lead Government Department principle works
  • identifying the 50 lead roles and responsibilities and how these should work in practice and the associated interfaces with Government
  • explains the key national level components including risk management, planning and preparedness, coordinating national-level responses and how we manage the recovery phase
  • facilitates the establishment of various GTF Subgroups to deal with key issues such as capability development, critical infrastructure resilience, emergency communications, risk assessment and the development of appropriate guidance to assist Lead Government Departments and their Ministers when having to manage such emergencies
  • facilitates the development of further guidance documents for the GTF and the Lead Departments

Available Documents: