Brexit

Civil servants sought to help manage 'no deal' disruption

David Sterling has written to the north's 23,000 civil servants about a potential 'no deal' Brexit

THE head of the Northern Ireland civil service is putting measures in place to prepare for the possibility of "sustained and widespread disruption" in the event of a no deal Brexit.

David Sterling has written to the north's 23,000 civil servants to see if any would be willing to join "contingency response structures" that will be required if the UK crashes out of the EU in March.

Mr Sterling stresses that he does not believe a no-deal Brexit is the most likely outcome or that it will be necessary to implement the contingency plan.

"This is simply the next step in readying our plans for exit day," his letter says, before noting that even a Brexit on the terms of Theresa May's withdrawal agreement could result in "some disruption".

The no deal plan, which is being co-ordinated at a UK-wide level, would see the establishment of a regional "command, control and coordination (so-called C3) structures" staffed by civil servants and designed to respond to "potential disruption".

The response would be co-ordinated by a newly-created 'central hub', operated jointly on a "24/7 basis" by the Executive Office and Northern Ireland Office.

The appeal for staff is aimed primarily at higher civil service grades.

"We must be ready to respond quickly and decisively, whatever the future outcome may be," Mr Sterling's letter says.

"To do this, we must have effective, well-resourced structures ready to move into operation quickly should the need arise."

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