Posts Tagged ‘COBRA’

As Greece melts down, is anyone meeting in Cabinet Office Briefing Room A (COBRA)?

17/05/2012, 12:23:22 AM

by Peter Watt

Over the years, you always knew when there was a real crisis on, when you heard there was a meeting in COBRA.  Whenever a news reader announced that the prime minister had chaired a meeting of COBRA it was generally pretty serious stuff.  Apparently, in the interests of accuracy, the meetings are actually called COBR meetings – room A refers to just one of the secret command and control centres in and under Whitehall.

Wikipedia describes COBRA as:

“A term used to describe the formation of a crisis response committee, coordinating the actions of bodies within the government of the United Kingdom in response to instances of national or regional crisis, or during events abroad with major implications for the UK. The constitution of a COBR will depend on the nature of the incident but it is usually chaired by the Prime Minister or another senior minister, with other key ministers as appropriate, and representatives of relevant external organizations such as the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Local Government Association.”

These meetings and their venues were once so secret, it was only in 2010 that a single photograph of “room A” was released.

In recent years, and I may be wrong about this, it seems that COBRA has convened more often:  summer riots, foot and mouth, terrorism, contingency planning for fuel strikes and volcanic ash clouds have all prompted the COBRA to raise its head. It is all perfectly sensible that the government has the ability to bring the right people together with the information they need to make effective decisions quickly. Not a panic move, but a good example of our government working to maintain essential services and keep us safe.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon