UK govt resilience framework

The UK Government Resilience Framework: Strengthen the underpinning systems that provide resilience to all risks

The Framework released in December 2022 is the first articulation of how the UK Government will deliver on a new strategic approach to resilience.

The Context:

Countries are witnessing an increasingly volatile world, defined by geopolitical and geoeconomic shifts, rapid technological change and a changing climate. This context means that crises will have far-reaching consequences and are likely to be greater in frequency and scale in the next decade than the world has been used to.

The UK has launched their Net Zero Strategy, the National Cyber Strategy and the British Energy Security Strategy, all of which tackle some of the most pressing challenges faced by them.

The Core of the Framework:

It is built around three fundamental principles:

  1. A developed and shared understanding of the civil contingencies risks we face is fundamental;
  2. Prevention rather than cure wherever possible: a greater emphasis on preparation and prevention; and
  3. Resilience is a ‘whole of society’ endeavour, so we must be more transparent and empower everyone to make a contribution

The focus of the framework:

  • On the UK’s ability to anticipate, assess, prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from known, unknown, direct, indirect and emerging civil contingency risks
  • On the foundational building blocks of resilience, setting out the plan for 2030 to strengthen the frameworks, systems and capabilities which underpin the UK’s resilience
  • In this context, the framework uses ‘resilience’ to refer to an ability to withstand or quickly recover from a difficult situation, but also to get ahead of those risks and tackle challenges before they manifest

The framework has looked across a range of reports and projects from varying sources to help formulate and inform policy. Amongst the international reports and frameworks, it looked at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Resilience Strategies and Approaches to Contain Systematic Threats (2019) and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction: Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (2015).

The Resilience System:

It is centred on six themes: (i) Risk (ii) Responsibility and Accountability, (iii) Partnership, (iv) Community, (v) Investment and (vi) Skills.

For each theme, the framework aims to demonstrate how the proposals will deliver tangible changes and benefits for those working in the resilience system and the public. It includes a detailed list of actions the UK government is already taking and is committed to taking by 2025 and 2030.

Few Highlights:

  • The starting point of all resilience work is understanding risk.
  • A risk can be any event that poses a serious threat to the safety and security of livelihoods either locally or nationally, this can include, amongst others, threats to lives; health; critical infrastructure; economy; and sovereignty

The National Security Risk Assessment (NSRA) will remain the main tool for assessing the most serious civil contingencies risks facing the UK.

  1. Using data to better embed risk in decision-making.
    • It is important that decision-makers and experts have access to the right information at the right time during an emergency
    • This requires them to continue to improve their understanding of data flows, ownership, and interoperability as part of the UK’s preparedness
  2. Recovery
    • Recovery is a key stage in the resilience cycle and can have an important role in catalysing regeneration, renewal, and future prevention in the aftermath of an incident
  3. Critical National Infrastructure (CNI):
    • Businesses, especially those that run essential services and CNI, are an active partner in building UK’s resilience
    • The UK Government will introduce standards on resilience and develop an action plan to deliver these across the private sector, where these do not already exist, to give a clear benchmark on what ‘good’ looks like for resilience
    • It will build upon the resilience standards for CNI which already exist to create common but flexible resilience standards across CNI
  4. Skills:
    • By 2025, UK plans to deliver a new UK Resilience Academy, built out from the Emergency Planning College, making world-class professional training (and skills pathway) to drive professionalism and support all those pursuing a career in resilience

The UK Government had established in 2021 the UK Resilience Forum (UKRF) to strengthen UK resilience by improving communication and collaboration at a national level on key discussions about risk, emergency preparedness, crisis response and recovery.

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