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Commentary

ICPEM Annual Conference 2022 Part 5

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Nathan Hazlehurst MICPEM MEPS – Response and recovery under fire: how civil defence juggled response and recovery during WW2. This was an absolutely fascinating talk. History is not my area of expertise. But Nathan is a fantastic presenter, with an electric level of enthusiasm that can make anyone interested in history and eager to find out more. That in itself is a talent in my mind – something my history teachers back in school could have done with. The biggest lesson I took from this was the role of the local community, local leadership and the VCS. This makes me wonder, why do we only look forwards, and not backwards. What can we learn from the past and reintroduce into new hybrid ways of working? What are the lessons from the past, that should not be forgotten in time. It seems Whole of society resilience can learn a lot from our past. It reminded me of an old favourite: From civil defence to civil protection – and back again by Professor David Alexander (2002) Nathan’s presentation allowed me to draw parallels between the structures discussed, and the work of the National Preparedness Commission – the independent review of the civil contingencies act, I see parallels between the old and new – So, I am just going to leave this little extract here from the National Preparedness Commission for consideration “A key contributor to the report has been the voluntary and community sector (VCS), which has a raft of experience in providing support to public authorities in recent crises, from the Grenfell Tower fire and the Manchester and London terror attacks of 2017, to Covid-19 and Storm Arwen. These events exposed clear gaps in the support available to impacted communities both in the immediate aftermath of a crisis and in the longer-term.” Another extract for consideration; the joint submission from the National Preparedness Commission and Resilience First in response to the on-line questions in the Call for Evidence from the Integrated Review; As Stephen Dunmore argues in his article for the Commission: The success of volunteering; ‘The fundamental question which now needs to be considered and answered is how can the VCS’s key role in preparedness best be co-ordinated, resourced, and supported, both by central and local government and within the sector itself. When the next crisis hits, the VCS needs to be ready with a fully integrated sector response and volunteering offer at national and local levels.’



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