To undertake an independent review of Greater Manchester’s preparedness for and response to the Manchester Arena Terrorist Attack. To advise the Mayor, in the exercise of his Police and Crime Commissioner function, of those aspects of the preparedness and response that were effective and those that may inform future good practice, together with where necessary and appropriate to advise on what steps might be taken to address any areas that may be strengthened or improved.



In the period from 22nd March to 19th June 2017 the UK was subject to four separate terrorist related events each causing loss of life and life changing injuries. The scale, nature and consequences of the Manchester Arena Terrorist Attack on 22nd May were unprecedented in Greater Manchester with a disproportionate impact on our children and young people. The UK threat level from international terrorism at the time of commissioning this review is at 'severe', and in the days after the Manchester Arena Terrorist Attack it briefly stood at 'critical'. This underscores the need to do all we can to ensure our communities are safe and for learning to be shared and recommendations acted upon as promptly as possible.  There is also a responsibility to identify where Greater Manchester led or delivered good practice and to share this in order to drive the next level of response in the UK.



The review will cover the multi-agency planning and activity to prepare for a terrorist attack (prior to 22nd May 2017). It will also explore the effectiveness of and joint working between services in the response phase (22nd May to 31st May 2017), together with how effective the response was in supporting those directly impacted by the Attack.

The Coronial Service will be one of the agencies included in the Review as outlined in the Commissioning Report. However it is important to note that the nature and extent of the Coroner’s involvement in the Review will be informed by the Coroner’s judicial role and the fact that the Coronial investigation is ongoing.

The review will seek to identify learning in relation to the following:

  • Governance and oversight arrangements of the preparedness for a terrorist attack.
  • Risk and threat assessment to inform preparedness but this is not intended to address the adequacy/appropriateness of the assessment of the national threat level.
  • Training of responders and exercising of plans prior to the attack.
  • Leadership and governance in the response, including command, control and primacy at different locations, together with coordination of effective communication between agencies.
  • Interoperability of responders (including co-operation and information sharing) to enable preparedness and to respond effectively.
  • The use of plans, policies, procedures and specialist capabilities during the response.
  • Clarity of roles and responsibilities during the response.
  • Risk assessment to inform the multi-agency response but this is not intended to address the adequacy/appropriateness of the assessment of the national threat level.
  • Warning and informing the public before and during the response.
  • Response and provision of support to those physically injured.
  • Arrangements for the provision of humanitarian assistance, including family reconciliation and the management of financial donations.
  • Arrangements for the identification and care of the deceased and their families.
  • Arrangements for managing implications for the transport network and damaged infrastructure.
  • Arrangements for consequence management and for ensuring community cohesion.
  • Finance and resource capacity to achieve preparedness and to respond, including national and regional mutual aid.
  • The process of handover of the response phase to the recovery phase.



Placing the experiences of those directly affected by the Manchester Arena Terrorist Attack at the heart of the review:

To assess the preparedness of Greater Manchester for the Manchester Arena Terrorist Attack, including multi-agency planning and capacity development

  • To assess the preparedness of Greater Manchester for the Manchester Arena Terrorist Attack, including multi-agency planning and capacity development.
  • To explore the effectiveness of the working relationships, cooperation and interoperability between all of the agencies involved during the response to the          Manchester Arena Terrorist Attack.
  • To identify and share good practice to enhance future preparedness and any future response to a terrorist attack both within Greater Manchester and beyond.
  • To identify any gaps or other opportunities to increase preparedness and strengthen any future response to a terrorist attack in Greater Manchester and propose actions to address these.


Out of Scope

The review will not seek to identify learning in relation to the following:

  • The availability and use of intelligence prior to the attack and specifically relevant to the attack, and any question as to whether the attack could or should have been prevented by policing or intelligence organisations.
  • Issues concerning the cause of death of the individual deceased, the immediate circumstances in which each of the deceased died, and any question of the potential survivability of the injuries sustained by any of those who died.
  • Ongoing criminal investigations
  • Any question of civil or criminal liability of the agencies involved.
  • Any questions of individual misconduct which would ordinarily be for organisations themselves as employers to investigate and address should such issues arise.
  • Matters being considered by the Mayoral Commission to tackle violent extremism and promote social cohesion in Greater Manchester.
  • Any activity within the ‘recovery’ phase i.e. any activity beyond 31st May 2017.

The panel will, at appropriate times throughout the review seek advice from Counsel, the Coroner and the North West Counter Terrorism Unit on the points outlined above.



The independent review will be phased as follows:

  • Individual organisational and specific debriefs - commenced and ongoing
  • Initial tactical and strategic multi-agency debriefs to capture early learning – 17th and 19th July 2017 respectively
  • Independent Review commences - September 2017
  • Follow-up multi-agency debrief – September 2017
  • Interim findings published – early January 2018
  • Final report and recommendations published - March 2018



  • Interim findings of the review will be published in early January 2018
  • A final report containing recommendations will be published by Lord Bob Kerslake Chair of the Independent Review Panel in March 2018
  • The intention is to publish the final report in full and in light of the nature and remit of the Review, this should be achievable. However consideration will need to be given to anonymization of personal information, and any potential impact on security or ongoing legal processes.

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