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Commentary

The Annual Resilience Congress Part 1

This even was brought to us by the Resilience Association. 38 pages of notes later - I can summarise with - This was a fantastic event to end my conference season. A truly impactful event. One that really sought to challenge current thinking. Ask the difficult questions, address the elephants in the room and push us all to challenge and strive for better. From the other conferences I have been on a journey of learning from the focus being on operational learning, organizational learning, people and human aspects both internally and externally, to new and old ways of working. The overarching takeaway from them was a focus on risk, response and recovery. Perhaps a sign of the times we have lived and of the risks we are yet to face and realise. For me prevention and preparedness is still suffering strategic neglect. An issue that no other conference truly addressed head on. Except for this one. This for me was the perfect way to end the season. Its all very well to go to events, network, learn, share, innovate and disseminate knowledge and new ways of working. But if you don’t have the capacity to implement, well nothing really changes with any significant pace to the risks we are faced with. If we are always focusing on writing plans, responding and recovering, are we ever really going to get off the treadmill that’s rapidly increasing in speed? Practitioners, academics and pracademics alike from across industry sectors are calling out for a better way of working. A way and means to prevent, prepare, respond, recover and adapt to the ever-increasing complexity and exponential risk. So, in the absence of strategic leadership, and as we clearly enter into a second decade of national neglect for resilience. Its fantastic to see practitioners and academics alike taking things into their own hands. Working together to collaborate, co-create, share and disseminate. This year for me the epitome of this 'The Independent Review of the Civil Contingencies Act by the National Preparedness Commission which showed us what resilience truly could look like. The opening speech by Lord Toby Harris delivered this message home – there is a better way and the report shows us how. But only if given the capacity to do so, may we become so. The importance of doing this, was particularly driven home throughout the speaker sessions that day, with the crescendo being ‘Thinking the Unthinkable’ by Nick Gowing. Followed by specialist panels that further looked into the issues of operational risk. Both macro and micro, from cross-industry perspectives and the barriers that we face both internal and external, within the broader socio-economic and geo-political contexts. And finally, the launch of BS6500 the new British standard for Organizational resilience. The message being: The business case for organizational resilience in the absence of national resilience.

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