Litigation / Enquiries / Complaints

Any organisation involved with people in an emergency situation, particularly the larger incident, needs to keep comprehensive, contemporaneous managerial records. This is also a duty placed on organisations by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and set out in detail in Chapter 4 of Emergency Response and Recovery.

One of the issues that the organisation needs to take on board is that the possibility of litigation is always present after the event is over. People who are involved in the emergency as patients or victims will be approached by agencies willing to seek legal redress on their behalf. Part of that legal redress may be to question the competence of the rescuers and the organisation’s that employed them.

If, during their investigations, it is discovered that the organisation has limited or inadequate records of the actions of its staff and managers, the organisation may find itself with few defences to rebut claims made.

Even if there are no financial claims made against the organisation, there will undoubtedly be an enquiry into the emergency, at various levels of importance and involvement, possibly up to and including a full public enquiry. In any enquiry, or for producing internal reports, the records of the incident team, role holders and others in a management capacity, will be needed. It will be necessary to substantiate the actions taken during the incident and the information received on which decisions and actions were based.

To enable organisations to provide such records, CWC services' series of Log Books has been developed.

How our Log Books help

Each Log Book is itself numbered and each page in each book is sequentially numbered. The organisation's managers can easily assemble all the books related to an incident, after the event, confident that the records available are as full as possible, contemporaneous, and that no allegation can be raised that pages may have been deleted. With both signatures and initials of the manager or operational member of staff contained in the book, a clear and definitive legal record can be provided for any report, enquiry or court process.

In the event of a complaint or comment about one person’s actions at a specific incident, or comments made, the logbook should clearly show, to the respective manager investigating that complaint, the detail necessary to deal adequately with the complainant.

It is also vital that any record made is permanent and that it is filed away securely as a definitive record. All of our Log Books are designed as a permanent record and should be filed in secure storage for at least 7 years.

Protect the organisation, and your managers, by insisting on contemporaneous records being produced for any large scale incident where they attend, using our range of Log Books, tailored to each type of record keeping.

The contents of this book may be open to an application under the Freedom of Information Act though the exemptions allowed under that Act could be claimed for specific items. The contents of the book will also be open in any enquiry, inquest or other court process though applications to withhold sensitive or other specific items from scrutiny may be granted by the Judge, Coroner or Enquiry Chair on application.