MCDEM shift will strengthen emergency management and resilienceCivil Defence State Services
State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman and Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye say civil defence emergency management will be strengthened by transferring the agency to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).
“We are shaping our government agencies so they can deliver better services to New Zealanders out in the community when they most need it,” says Dr Coleman.
“Transferring the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) to DPMC provides the agency with a better platform to plan and manage across government for large scale events like the Christchurch earthquakes.”
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is making a shift in strategy and capabilities towards a strong technology leadership and information management mandate. This makes it appropriate for MCDEM to move to a department more aligned to its hazard management approach.
“The shift to DPMC is a positive move for MCDEM and will strengthen our country’s ability to respond to and plan for major disasters. It will also better align civil defence emergency management to DPMC’s role in leading the co-ordination of national security planning, risk management and resilience,” Ms Kaye says.
“Our civil defence emergency management system is world-leading in involving communities and local government in emergency management.
“However, I believe there is a need to strengthen our ability to coordinate planning and management for large-scale events. This shift will help achieve this and ensure there is improved planning across Government
“I believe the transfer will strengthen Government’s capabilities around risk management, resilience and response to emergencies,” Ms Kaye says.
A staged transition from DIA to DPMC will begin by 1 April 2014 and MCDEM will remain fully capable of supporting a response to an emergency during that time.
“As a result of the move there will be an opportunity for MCDEM to take a greater role working with other departments in whole-of-government issues, such as building more resilient infrastructure.”
The Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management remains the head of MCDEM and keeps all his statutory powers. DPMC will support some of the functions previously supported by DIA, such as policy and back office functions.
Frequently asked questions
Why does the move need to occur?
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) has been a relatively independent unit within the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). Under this Government’s direction the role of DIA has been reoriented towards a strong technology leadership and information management mandate. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) has also been strengthening its role in leading the co-ordination of national security planning, risk management and resilience. The transfer will provide a closer alignment between MCDEM and DPMC and strengthen Government’s capabilities around risk, resilience and response to emergencies.
What are the benefits of transferring MCDEM to DPMC?
The transfer will strengthen co-ordination across the national security and intelligence sector and provide closer alignment of civil defence emergency management with national security directions. It will enhance the ability for MCDEM to take a greater role working with other departments in whole-of-government planning and resiliency issues. It will strengthen the capacity to plan and manage, across government, large-scale emergencies such as the Canterbury earthquakes.
Who is responsible for managing the transfer?
DPMC will work with MCDEM and DIA to plan the transition.
When will the transfer take place?
The transfer of responsibilities and staff will begin on 1 April 2014.
How many staff does MCDEM currently have? Will they all make the transfer?
MCDEM currently has 37 staff but it also draws on DIA for support for policy advice, communications, financial management, human resources and ICT. All the MCDEM positions will be transferred to DPMC and positions will be established in DPMC to ensure the required capacity is available to support MCDEM.
Will there be any jobs lost in the transfer?
No jobs will be lost in the transfer.
Will MCDEM remain as a Ministry or will it be absorbed into DPMC?
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) will be retained as a unit of DPMC. The Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management will report to the Chief Executive of DPMC. He will retain the statutory responsibility for advising the Minister of Civil Defence and the authorities available in the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, to undertake the function of National Controller in the event of a declaration of a state of national emergency.
What will happen to the role of the Minister of Civil Defence?
There will be no changes to Ministerial responsibilities. The Minister of Civil Defence will remain responsible for the civil defence emergency management portfolio and functions.
Are there any legislative changes required to implement the transfer?
The transfer of MCDEM to DPMC does not require any change to be made to legislation.
How will MCDEM be provided with the support it needs to manage a big emergency?
As a business unit of the Department of Internal Affairs, MCDEM has been able to draw on staff and support services to supplement MCDEM resources in its management of an emergency.
As part of the transition planning DPMC will make arrangements with other major government departments and agencies for them to provide staff and support to supplement MCDEM staff when an emergency requires the National Crisis Management Centre to be activated for long periods.
Will MCDEM be required to physically relocate its offices?
MCDEM will continue to occupy its current office space at 22 The Terrace, Wellington and its staff in the two regional offices in Auckland and Christchurch will continue to be located in shared offices alongside staff of DIA.