Our wellbeing and livelihood depends on certain essential services being available to us when we need them. Power for heating and lighting. Water for drinking and cleanliness. Delivery vehicles connecting us to farmers and food producers. Internet providers maintaining vital communications and providing news and information.
Resilience Planning provides a structure for ensuring these and other services continue to operate in an emergency and to help all of us keep safe and healthy if any of these services are unavailable.
We can all create resilience plans, for our households, businesses, communities and councils.
They can work individually, but are more effective when they connect together.
Modern reslience planning in the UK has its roots in the Civil Defence Corps, set up in 1949 to take control of an area in a localised emergency. At its peak in 1956, 330,000 people were involved, but all were stood down in 1968.
Internet Technology brought new risks on a global and local scale with concerns that some computer operating systems would not adjust to dates beyond 31 December 1999, threatening organisations and businesses reliant on information technology including health services, banking and communications.
Much effort was put into preparing for 'Y2K' but only a few problems occurred. However, the long-term benefit of the structured work undertaken then is the basis of much business resilience planning today.
The Covid-19 pandemic has tested the resilience of many organisations and services. It has made businesses and service organisations - including local government - to think and function in new ways.
Community - you, your family, your neighbours, your street, your village or estate, your workplace.
Resilience - a measure of how effectively we can cope with an event that threatens people's health, wellbeing or livelihoods.
Planning - being prepared for such an event
Reslience and emergency planning at local level is part of national emergency planning which operates under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004).
At the top of is COBRA. This is simply an acronym for the Cabinet Office Briefing Room A in Whitehall where representatives from various areas of Government, the military and external agencies meet to discuss emergencies.
Instructions and strategies from COBRA are given to Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) based in police force areas. These include the blue-light services, local authorities, the NHS and the Environment Agency. These agencies are known as Category 1 Responders. The LRFs plan and prepare for localised incidents and wider major emergencies. They work to identify potential risks and produce emergency plans to prevent or mitigate the impact of any incident on their local communities. LRFs also work with the military and voluntary sectors.
LRFs are supported by organisations (Category 2 responders), such as the Highways Agency and public utility companies. They co-operate with Category 1 organisations and share relevant information with the LRFs.
Local councils should be part of this framework. We are 'on the ground' and we have the local knowledge.
I have been involved in resilience planning since 1999 when I was a member of the BBC Y2K Team wth responsibility for Y2K emergency planning for BBC East Midlands.
Since then, I have worked with several parish councils to create resilience plans and produced a promotional video for Harborough District Council and the Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Resilience Forum.
If I can help you prepare a resilience strategy for your council or community organisation, please contact me.