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Learning to be prepared

NTU staff inform the National Preparedness Commission independent review

NPC cover

Two years ago very few people knew what a Local Resilience Forum was or what it did but the longest UK emergency in recent times has shifted the understanding of the role many people in our communities and across government. As with any civic organisation, NTU played an important role to help its staff and students to cope with the pandemic and its effects on their lives. A few members of staff played a role in the local response helping on a range of projects. Alongside this local response staff at NTU led by Associate Professor Rowena Hill played an important role through the C19 National Foresight Group which brought together key departments, agencies and organisations to consider the longer-term implications of the pandemic helping to consider how the people protecting us managed the systems and ensuring their voice was heard.

As the restrictions are removed and people begin to live with the impact of Covid-19 many people are reflecting on the pandemic period and looking to re-build and re-design processes and systems to ensure they can bend and flex to suit a new world. This is happening within NTU, organisations we work with like the National Emergencies Trust and central government with the Public Inquiry and commissions like the National Preparedness Commission which has now published its review of the legislative scaffolding that supports the resilience ecosystem across the UK.

The independent review led by Bruce Mann, former Director of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat conducted a thorough review interviewing 300 individuals and making 117 recommendations to ensure the systems are fit for current and new emergencies that will require our attention and response.

Due to the expertise held at NTU, we were interviewed during the Commissions review and our reports, knowledge and insights are built on through the report helping to ensure the UK is in a better place to cope with the emergencies that will shape the future of the UK and its communities and citizens. We hope that the recommendations made by the Commission are considered by central government and can be implemented to ensure we have a resilience system that can flourish in the years ahead to help us be prepared for any and all eventualities.

At NTU we are continuing to build on our learning helping to create the Nottingham Expert Advisory Partnership as part of our Universities for Nottingham commitment to the city and county alongside the University of Nottingham. Dr Hill has also secured two secondments to further embed her expertise and learning with the National Police Chiefs Council exploring the impact of Climate Change (Civil Contingencies) and Adverse Weather alongside a Policy Fellowship on Climate Change to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Together with NCE she is also furthering the impact of our time with the C19 National Foresight Group and developing foresight methods with NTU to embed this learning and approach.

Please watch this space for updates on our future work in this space and follow this link to explore the full report and executive summary of the National Preparedness Commission independent review. A brief summary of the recommendations is shared with you below.

Key recommendations in the report include:

  • Need a major investment in skills, and new arrangements to check that people and emergency response teams at all levels are competent.
  • Fundamentally reboot the training system, including creating a Centre of Resilience Excellence (CORE).
  • Creating proper partnership arrangements which involve all the people, voluntary organisations and businesses who can contribute. Covid-19 showed what a true ‘Whole of Society’ response could look like
  • Publish more information on risks and their consequences to enable families, communities and businesses to be better prepared.
  • Give people affected by emergencies a voice in developing policy and operational practice.
  • Remove people’s concerns around data protection that is stopping the sharing of personal data and hindering people getting the support they need when they need it.
  • Increased funding to strengthen local partnerships.
  • Designate the National Security Adviser (or Deputy) as UK Government Chief Resilience Officer with personal accountability for what is done to build UK resilience.
  • Create a single dedicated national body to lead and drive the improvements needed with a clear mandate, authority and resources.
  • Better recognise the role of metro mayors in a crisis, as a clearly visible local leadership figure, with significant agency and authority.

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