The Civil Contingencies Act (CCA), passed in 2004, transformed the UK emergency planning landscape, establishing both clarity and direction. Key players are now operating from common definitions and there is increased awareness of individual roles and obligations.At the same time a survey of the national Capabilities Programme, a government led programme to ensure that a robust infrastructure of response is in place to deal rapidly, effectively and flexibly with the consequences of civil devastation and widespread disaster inflicted as a result of conventional or non-conventional disruptive activity, demonstrates a sharp positive trend in emergency management in the UK.
However, if the UK is to build on the advancement of the Act and the Capabilities Programme, we should continue to be constantly critical of our actions to keep ahead of modern day crises.
The aim of this two-day conference is not just to provide information on the UK resilience agenda but rather provide a forum for debate around a set of specific issues that have been identified as weaknesses.
The relationships between local, regional and national resilience
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, coordinated resilience is necessary. Although there are emergency plans in place throughout the country, there are still too many local authorities and businesses functioning without adequate networks of emergency arrangements, equipment or experienced staff. Likewise the UK “Lead Department” response structure means that there are a plethora of individual departmental crisis arrangements that are not widely promulgated leading to a widespread perception of fragmentation and inconsistency. The conference will debate if there is any truth behind this perception.
The relationship between the public and private sectors
Response to emergencies and disasters requires diverse organisations, within both the public and private sectors, to work together toward a common goal. This means that not only does information need to flow between these organisations but someone, somewhere needs to have a strategic overview of the entire event. Currently it is not clear where such responsibility rests.
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. However, where once corporate security was typically managed in safety-silos, business is now being encouraged to take a more integrated holistic approach to becoming more resilient. The concept of Corporate Resilience is the uniting of response silos, the assessing of real threats and embedding resilience into everyday operations. Taking a more strategic, more unified look at crisis management and business continuity is a responsible approach in the current climate and should also help companies tackle more regular business and technical issues. This conference will approach why it is now more important not only for senior management in the private sector, but also for government and regulatory bodies to understand and lead this
Bringing together key speakers from central, local and regional government, business and the emergency services, this annual HSR conference aims to address the fact that a joined up approach 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.
Erik Thomasson, Department of Policy and Performance, City of Bradford MDC.
Fiona Davidge, Business Resilience Manager, Thames Water.
Helen Shannon, Director, Octo.