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UK Resilience - Joining up the Sectors Print

 Date:    5 Oct - 6 Oct 2006
Venue:    RUSI, Whitehall, London SW1A 2ET

There is a requirement for better security and resilience in all sectors of society in the UK to address increasing threats and challenges.  Whilst the last five years have seen considerable progress in this area, both in the public and private sectors, many challenges remain for those seeking to build a coherent effective cross-sector emergency preparedness capabilities. There is currently little public awareness of the national government response aside from the  central Government’s crisis-management machinery; the UK ‘Lead Department’ Response Structure and Capabilities Programme. Knowledge of individual department crisis arrangements is not widely promulgated and the Government’s ability to lead a successful corporate approach also remains in question. One of the key issues and one that has been debated again recently is, whether the UK Government should adopt a more centralised approach, installing a Department or at the very least, a single Minister responsible for all security and resilience matters.

The Civil Contingencies Act (CCA), passed in 2004, transformed the UK emergency planning landscape, establishing both clarity and direction. However, despite this good progress on paper, in reality the state of emergency planning is still fragmented and inconsistent, with considerable strengths in some areas and significant weaknesses in others.

 The urgent need to develop more resilient organisations has, of necessity, moved business continuity to centre stage prompted by the need for Companies to be able to respond to an array of threats.  The Government is encouraging the business community to take a more integrated, cross-functional approach to risk awareness and business continuity planning.

 There currently exists a patchy sense of preparedness across the UK, within both the public and private sectors which, coupled with the presence of weakly integrated networks joining them together, presents a blind spot during a regional or national crisis. Although there are emergency plans in place by the public and private sectors throughout the country, there are still too many local authorities and businesses functioning without adequate networks of emergency structures, plans, equipment or experienced staff. 

 Few modern crises come in neat packages of local power failures and annual flooding.  To effectively handle the diverse forms and manifestations of new emerging crises, new levels of resilience are necessary.  Overall, there has been a positive trend in current emergency management in the UK. The CCA has revolutionised civil protection legislation and as a result key players are operating from common definitions and increased awareness of their roles and obligations.  However, this is merely scratching the surface of realising the potential benefits of a joined up, community based approach to resilience.  If the UK is to truly build on the advancements of the Act and the Lead Government Department principle, we should continue to be constantly critical of our actions to keep ahead of modern day crises.

 Conference Themes

·This two-day conference will firstly review the Lead Government Department and Capabilities Programmes, with the aim of identifying its strengths and weaknesses throughout differing Government departments.  The efficiency and consistency of individual Department’s risk and capability assessments, planning and training will be questioned, alongside analysing the necessary interoperability of department’s activities in this area.

·This conference will question whether the CCA has strengthened weaknesses in communication and cooperation between the local authorities, among local authorities and Central Government departments and local responders with external parties.  The ability to communicate quickly and effectively is an essential national capability, and one which needs to be further investigated and developed in the UK.  

·Without Situational Awareness, agencies in a crisis run the risk of passing down information through multiple, insecure, ad-hoc arrangements that are susceptible to misinterpretation and delay.  Having a common operational picture is essential for effective responses to local, regional and national crises.  This conference will illustrate how protocols and practices can be improved to further integrate communication and information sharing to enhance the common operational picture at all levels.

This conference will examine how in the private sector, business continuity and other related functions such as crisis management, information security, risk management and crisis communications are contributing to the core overarching discipline ‘Corporate Resilience’ and why it is now more important for Senior Management to understand and lead this new business focus.

Bringing together key speakers from central, local and regional government, business and the emergency services, this annual HSR conference aims to address the key issues regarding doctrine, interoperability and responsibility.  A joined up approach to resilience is ideal; the reality is far more challenging.

Confirmed Speakers include:

  • Richard Barnes AM, Chairman of the 7 July Review Committee, Assembly Member for Ealing & Hillingdon
  • Patrick Mercer MP, Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, Conservative Party
  • Eve Coles, Senior Lecturer in Risk and Emergency Management, Coventry Centre for Disaster Management
  • Rear Admiral Chris Parry, Director General Defence, Concepts & Doctrine Centre.
  • Erik Thomasson, Department of Policy and Performance, City of Bradford MDC.
  • Fiona Davidge, Business Resilience Manager, Thames Water

  • more Info here
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