The NIC has published the finding of its scoping study that will help steer a fuller report on the state of the nation’s resilience, expected in spring 2020.
The scoping report looks at the current resilience landscape, the case for change and next steps for the study. There are three key questions that the full report is trying to answer:
- What are the systemic issues that make infrastructure vulnerable to current shocks and future changes and how could they be addressed?
- What does the public expect of infrastructure services and how should their views be considered in decisions about resilience?
- What changes to governance and decision making could improve current levels of resilience and ensure future challenges are addressed?
The report not only makes a call for evidence but also publishes the submissions to date from various organisations. Resilience First was one of those organisations expressing its views.
In summary, Resilience First made the following key points:
- The true meaning of resilience in the national debate. There is a primary need to state and explain what resilience means in the context of the study.
- The importance of long-term sustainability and competitive advantage over short-term profitability. Gaining consensus that survives the electoral process and international issues requires broad, cross-party consensus on national goals.
- Operationalising resilience. Resilience can only work if the strategies and policies at the top end can be interpreted at the lower end.
- Comparison with (and lessons from) other countries. We should learn the good practices and be willing to adapt our methods in that light.
- Measuring resilience and priorities. In order to manage, one needs to measure: this is true also of priorities.
- Generic frameworks v risk matrices and registers. There is a need to shift to a more general or threat-neutral position, one that covers all stops across a broad horizon scan.
- The importance of people and communities. It is worth exploring the role of people and communities in both absorbing the challenges and adapting to change when looking at infrastructural needs.
- The role of regulation and legislation. While government is reluctant to regulate and legislate, there is a clear requirement when it comes to protecting the national infrastructure i.e. ensuring our national security.
- Mapping interdependencies. The mapping of cross-sectoral relationships has begun but it is at a rudimentary stage and much more needs to be achieved. This could and should be a key priority of the study.
- Failing to adopt the Fusion Doctrine. The issue of national resilience should be part of government doctrine as it affects national security.
- Lack of co-ordination by government departments. There is a need for greater central co-ordination e.g. a minister and ministry for civil defence / protection that could muster the resources of various departments in time of national need or planning ahead.
- Limitations of Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Category 1 and 2 responders in the Act could well be expanded to include a third category that involves more businesses connected with the sustainability of the national infrastructure.
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