This interim report paper, from an ongoing RUSI research project investigates attitudes towards joint working between the emergency services and the other organisations and agencies involved in the response to major emergencies.
The 7 July bombings of 2005 posed a number of challenges for policymakers, not least the need for better communication between the emergency services and other agencies. RUSI subsequently published its research findings in 2007 recommending that 'there should be a unified communications policy encompassing all responder communities that ensures interoperability.'
Though this recommendation was already adopted in 2005, it became apparent that there is no mechanism or framework to ensure that such interoperability recommendations, policy or guidance are adopted or taken forward. It was also evident that interoperability depends on much more than technology alone.
In September 2009, RUSI began work on Communications Interoperability in a Crisis 2: Human Factors and Organisational Processes. The new research investigates attitudes towards joint working between the emergency services (fire, police and ambulance) and the other organisations and agencies involved in the response to major emergencies. It considers the role and uptake of a variety of interoperability enablers, including technological solutions and operational procedures as well as more informal methods that have evolved organically. The research seeks to identify which current enablers are seen as most effective by emergency responders and which are being resisted. Where enablers appear to be resisted, the research is seeking to explore the reasons why, in order to identify barriers and to suggest ways in which they might be overcome or avoided.
This interim report presents the findings from the first part of the research project, conducted between September and December 2009. It includes initial analysis and sets out intentions for the future.