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Foresight finale: C19 National Foresight Group concludes its work

As we move into 2021 an extremely productive Covid-19 response group is decommissioned.

C19 NFG example publication

During the very beginning of the UK’s response to the pandemic, a small dedicated group of people across government and the civil response community gathered to provide foresight to the immediate, and long term, challenges the UK would face. Whilst nobody would say the pandemic is over, we now understand the challenges it brings and have begun to successfully deliver a vaccine to our most at risk community members. The C19 National Foresight Group, ably chaired by Shaun West will end its tenure having produced close to 50 publicly available reports and briefings and offered advice and guidance across national and local government and the civil contingencies community.

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is proud to have played a central role in this group. NTU was the lead academic point of contact for the duration of the group’s life and provided a full-time embedded scientist to work within it. Dr Rowena Hill (Associate Professor of Disasters and Emergencies in the School of Social Sciences) led a group of colleagues at NTU to bridge  practice, policy and academia as they supported the group to answer some of the most important foresight questions to help save lives, relieve harm and support communities.

NTU brought together a team dedicated to producing intelligence briefings, a team who analysed and produced reports on purposefully collected data from across the UK on the management of the pandemic. These teams were well supported by our library services team who completed literature searches to ensure scope, range, and equity of academic insights feed into the work for the group.

All publicly available publications can be found on this website which we hope will be used to support thinking, decision-making and planning around the pandemic in the future. For those who have been active followers of our work you will see that this week has seen the publication of three new reports which champion the need to recognise and commemorate those lost to Covid-19, to understand and develop solutions which support children and young people to flourish following the impacts of this pandemic and a summary of our three national Interim Operational Reviews which shares the interlinked findings that showcase the way forward when considering largescale emergencies such as Covid-19 in the future.

Following the formal end of the C19 National Foresight Group, many members will continue to deliver the UK response to this emergency. At NTU alongside our local engagement with the LRF and local communities, we will be working tirelessly to translate our ideas and findings into fresh resources and outputs in the months ahead. We believe we can build on our experiences to amplify the leading practice and innovation we have witnessed and improve areas of weakness that have been highlighted.

“I’m so proud of how NTU responded and invested in this bespoke, novel way of engaging and working with government and multi-agency partnerships. Being seconded full-time, I understand the sheer breadth and depth of adversity and risk the impacts of Covid-19 are having across the country. Being able to respond to the everchanging demands of Covid and play a role in creating an evidence base to inform decision-makers was an honour.  I’m so proud of what we have been able to achieve. The NTU teams have worked effectively and collaboratively with the C19 National Foresight Group to produce over 50 reports and products in ten months to inform and shape the national response. Being a central part of that group was an honour and my colleagues on the C19 National Foresight Group were simply extraordinary, their professionalism, expertise, candour and ability to represent the communities across the UK, as well as their national portfolios, enabled a holistic understanding of the complex situations, and solutions. Their tireless work for the communities of the UK is exemplary

Dr Rowena Hill

Shaun West, Chairman of the C19 National Foresight Group, shared his reflections,

“As we close down, I reflect with pride on the collection of stakeholder insight and foresight doctrine we have amassed, all of which will live well beyond Covid and is as applicable in any civil contingency and emergency threat, worldwide. The values, ethics and professionalism that have underpinned Nottingham Trent University’s approach have been flawless. It is refreshing to work with a team who understand and live by the duty of candour and transparency our communities so richly deserve. All of our recommendations were accepted by government and I have no doubt will be revisited by them over time and, in any case, at the eventual public inquiry”

Though the C19 National Foresight Group is now decommissioned, the C19 National Foresight Group pages will be kept online by NTU to allow their material to be explored and learnt from and as researchers we will continue to share work that aids our understanding and furthers the path to create a whole society approach to disasters and emergencies.

Dr Rowena Hill, Rich Pickford and Kelly Smith

Nottingham Civic Exchange

Nottingham Civic Exchange has been established by Nottingham Trent University to maximise research, policy and practical impact by bringing together university expertise with partners seeking to address the needs of local communities. Nottingham Civic Exchange acts as a resource to look at social and economic issues in new ways. This means facilitating debate, acting as a bridge between research and policy debates, and developing practical projects at a local, city and regional level.

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