A summary provided to London Resilience Forum in April 2011 outlining the delivery of resilience across the UK, comparing local and regional resilience forums and providing outions for further development
The review of the CCA, the changing nature of the public services and the handover of the functions of the London Resilience Team to the Greater London Authority all present and opportunity to review the arrangements that we have to make sure they offer the best value. The position of London, and the nature of the emergency services increase the likelihood that an emergency will be responded to on a regional basis. However we need to be aware that at the local level – i.e. borough and below, there are a wide range of organisations in both the public and private sectors which can add considerable value to the preparedness of the community and businesses. We thought it would be helpful to look at how some other areas have approached managing the complexities of regional organisations operating at local levels, and the perspectives of local organisations being suitably represented at regional forums without over representation. The areas covered are not necessarily examples of best practice, but offer alternative approached to managing resilience at a regional level. These approaches should be considered by the London Resilience Forum to identify any improvements which could be made in the way in which London Resilience arrangements operate.
The first question to ask, is ‘Why do we need a regional level of multi agency resilience?’ Firstly, it’s required by law. The CCA requires a level of regional resilience, the precise detail around that is still being finalised though the Enhancement Programme, but we understand that the London arrangements will be amended to include a statutory obligation to have a pan-London LRF (this group) and borough level resilience forums, supported by a sub regional arrangement which is yet to be clarified. The CCA guidance outlines the required core membership – primarily single senior representatives from Category 1 organisations, the Military and the Voluntary sector, in addition, if the resilience forum feels that local circumstances require additional attendees they should be included. Due to the seniority of the representatives, it’s expected that the regional forums would only meet infrequently – in some regions this is quarterly, in others it’s just twice a year. Regional resilience forums are required, by the CCA to meet a number of outcomes – a regional risk register, consideration of central government policy, information sharing, and provide senior support to the multi-agency preparedness activities It’s also worth noting, that the publication of the national risk register is a large driver for resilience, and should be considered by the regional forum in respect of it’s own regional risk register
Many elements of the response to an emergency are generic, and largely independent of the nature of the incident. There has therefore been a shift in central government policy towards a more capability based approach – which provides a greater degree of flexibility to tailor the response in proportion to the level required. But what is capability – it’s is the quality of being capable, to respond and recover from an emergency - and is provided through proper planning and organisation, and investment in equipment, training, and exercises. In general, a combination of capabilities will be required to respond effectively to an emergency in total, but they represent an effective way of carving up the issues into manageable sections. The Cabinet Office have identified 22 Workstreams Four Structural Six Essential Services Twelve Functional Each of these workstreams has a nominated lead government department to coordinate the overall planning for that capability. For instance, the lead department for the Swine Flu pandemic was the Department of Health, as this fell within the Infectious Human Diseases capability. LRT have done some research with other regions which employ a capabilities approach to see how that model has been rolled out in their areas.
There are 8 Strategic Coordinating groups in Scotland – the same term is used for both planning and response phases but I’m going to refer to them as LRFs to avoid confusion. The chairmanship of the LRFs is dependant on locality, being a mixture of Police Force Chief Constables, Council Chief Executives and in one LRF a joint chair arrangements between Police and Local Authority. The Scottish Government provide a minimum of one full time member of staff to support the secretariat work of each LRF. An Audit Scotland report in 2009 confirmed that each LRF is working well, and has contributed to multi-agency engagement and cooperation. However the report also stressed that a significant barrier to effective multi-agency working was dificulties in engagement of a large number of category 1 responders over wide geographical areas Despite addressing comparable issues and having broadly similar work programmes, there was little evidence of cross-border working between SCGs. In general, pan-scotland planning is currently only conducted routinely for certain aspects (media, mass fatalities), however there are regional arrangements being developed to share best practice in other areas. http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/docs/central/2009/nr_090806_civil_contingencies.pdf
The first of two examples from the West Midlands region is the Conurbation including Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. This area spans 7 LAs, each of whom produce a local CRR, which feeds into a wider West Midlands CRR. The LRF is supported by a Working Group however, the majority of the LRF work programme is supported by identified Local Authorities taking a ‘regional lead’ for driving certain aspects. Each LA coordinates regional planning for 2/3 risks on the CRR, which allows regional responders to engage locally with each area, but avoids duplication. The LRF working group does have a small number of standing sub-groups which cut across multiple risks on the CRR – Warning and Informing, Training and Exercising, and for during the Papal Visit, a specific time-limited group to coordinate arrangements for that event. Thematic sub groups were tried in a previous structure of the LRF, following a review and consultation with all responders, the new structure was implemented in 2008, and has remained little changed.
On a national level in Wales the Wales Resilience Forum is reflective of pan-London arrangements. The forum is politically led by the First Minister and is attended by representatives from the highest level of Cat 1's, plus a single agreed spokesperson for Local Government and a representative from each of Wales’ four LRFs. Also at a National level is the Wales Resilience Partnership Team. This isn’t a permanent team as with LRT, but is more analogous to the LRPB, essentially being the working group of the Resilience Forum. This group is supported by 18 subgroups looking at specific capabilities (including mass fatalities, training and exercising, CBRN, flooding etc). Each of the four LRFs also has a number of sub groups which link with the national thematic groups. To avoid conflict and duplication the roles of the groups are that local groups focus on delivery and national groups coordinate, share best practice and where required problem solve issues which cannot be resolved at the local level. The majority of those sub groups started out as task and finish groups, however once the identified piece of work had been completed, the group maintains a shadow form to ensure implementation and regular review of arrangements. Currently the task and finish groups which are most active are those looking at training and exercising and risk assessment. There is limited direct involvement of the pan Wales team in the ‘local level‘ activities - however they ensure regular communication cascades to all agencies directly, and act as a central source of advice document repository - often offer advice on economies of scale with other areas In terms of driving the work programme for the Wales RF – key agencies have been given the lead for certain areas of work as project lead rather than delivery - so still involving counterparts from other organisations
There are several options which the London Resilience Forum is asked to consider. The first Option, is for all resilience arrangements to be devolved to the borough level. This is similar to the approach currently taken in Greater Manchester, which has experienced problems around degrees of influence, effective representation and cross-border compatibility of arrangements. It is therefore felt that this would not be an effecting solution for London The Second Option is to devolve responsibility for the work streams to a number of sub tier multi agency forums. This is similar to the approaches in Scotland, where each of the 8 LRFs leads on a capability for Scotland. From early informal discussions, there does not seem to be a large appetite for this approach in London, and it raises questions regarding accountability The Third option is that the London Resilience Team lead on all capabilities. In order for this to work, with the new look LRT, capabilities would need to be prioritised, focusing on just three or four each year on a rotational basis. The fourth option is that for each capability work stream, the London resilience Forum agrees a ‘lead responder’ to coordinate and drive forwards the planning and preparedness activities for that capability on a pan London basis. This offers advantages around economies of scale, and also fits strongly with the Government lead department model in the Cabinet Office Capabilities Programme. This approach is also similar to that used in Wales and in the West Midlands. These options offer varying degrees of feasibility – looking at option 4, which we consider to be the most feasible of these
Approaches to Resilience
Approaches to Resilience Partnerships:How other places do itMatthew HoganLondon Resilience Team4 April 2011Resident Pop: >7 MillionDaytime Pop: >14 Million
– The Regional Resilience Forumis the main focus for multi-agency co-operation– Will have a core membership– Should meet relativelyinfrequently– Compilation of regional risk map– Consider of policy initiatives– Information sharing and co-operation including lessons– Support multi-agency planningand coordination of exercises andtraining eventsThe Requirement & Outcomes
The Scottish Approach• 8 SCGs (LRFs) each with CRR– Based on Police boundaries butpolice not always chair– Each LRF receives direct ScottishGovernment assistance– Each has an LRF Working Group– Liaison Groups established toprogress capability specific workat LRF levelPop: 5.2 Million
• 4 LRFs each with CRR– Regional Resilience Forum – widemembership meets infrequently– Regional Resilience ForumExecutive Group – narrowermembership meets morefrequently– Capabilities led by combination oflead agency and multi-agencygroupThe West Midlands ApproachPop: 5.7 Million
The Welsh Approach• WRF comprising 4 LRFs– All-Wales coordination achievedthrough First Minister-chairedWales Resilience Forum– Supported by working group– Each LRF maintains CRR– Capability groups at nationaland sub-national levels led byidentified responderPop: 3 Million
1. Devolve to Borough Level (Local Authority lead)2. Devolve to Sub Regional Tier3. LRT to lead for all capabilities4. Devolve to nominated London-wide lead agency5. Mix of central coordination and lead agency foridentified capabilitiesDeveloping Resilience Capabilities