, says that there is a long history of organisations working together in emergency situations.
The Auditor General for Scotland, Robert Black, said: "Recent events have ranged from a terrorist attack at Glasgow Airport, through to the risks to fuel supplies caused by industrial action, flooding as a result of severe weather, and most recently the swine flu pandemic. These have all highlighted the importance of having effective emergency planning and response systems in place. Public bodies in Scotland are working well together, but there is scope for further improvement."
There are eight Strategic Coordinating Groups (SCGs) across Scotland, which are the focal point for local multi-agency planning. They bring together local authorities, health boards and organisations such as utilities and telecommunications companies, and also provide for some involvement from the voluntary and private sectors.
Today’s report says organisations generally work well within their groups and good progress has been made in developing joint emergency planning arrangements.
Mr Black added "The Scottish Government has been very active in supporting civil contingencies work and has ensured that progress has been made. More could be done to share the lessons learned from actual emergencies and to share good practice."
The Audit Scotland report says that the arrangements for dealing with incidents that cross organisational boundaries or borders are often untested and mutual aid agreements for sharing resources between different parts of Scotland during emergencies are often too informal. There needs to be a standard approach to the handling of sensitive information. Greater clarity is also needed on leadership, roles and responsibilities, accountability and priorities.
The report also says that communicating with local communities needs to improve so that the public are better informed.
Chair of the Accounts Commission, John Baillie, said: "Local authorities are at the frontline of service delivery to our communities and are working well with other organisations to plan for handling civil emergencies. They should now ensure continuity and recovery arrangements are in place and further consider how they can improve communication with local businesses, charities and vulnerable individuals.
"Councillors have an important role to play during and after emergencies in providing leadership and assurance to local communities and could be better supported in this role."
Other areas identified in the report as being in need of improvement include agreeing formal business continuity plans, having systems in place for monitoring performance, and better tracking of resources used and costs incurred.