UK Resilience Framework – What does it mean for you? | Daily News Byte


The UK has launched its Resilience Framework – what does this mean and what can it do for your organisation?

The global financial crisis of 2008 was a watershed moment, making resilience a leading cross-sectoral challenge. In recent years, the combination of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, the Ukraine invasion and the energy crisis have made it one of the most important priorities for organizational leaders today.

The UK Resilience Framework: What exactly is it?

The UK Government has published its Resilience Framework – promised in the 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy – ​​outlining a bold vision to make the UK the most resilient nation ever. This is an admirable goal, and the framework acknowledges that achieving it is not the sole responsibility of government: we all have a part to play. And resilience is best achieved not through individual efforts but through collaboration, a ‘whole of society’ approach that combines understanding and action across the public and private sectors.

The government’s call to arms is no surprise

The government’s call to arms is no surprise, as the private and civilian sectors are increasingly aware of the need to be resilient. The British Red Cross was recently ranked as the most resilient organization in the UK, followed by market leaders in the finance and telecommunications industries. What they share is a focus on organizational agility, accountability, and maturity, wrapped in a willingness to reform outdated approaches.

While the government’s focus may be on the UK, this is a global challenge. In today’s increasingly international and interconnected society, being the most resilient nation is the strongest link in the chain. As an organizational leader, you have to think big considering your international supply chain, your dependence on other organizations and sectors, and the geopolitical stability of your customer base. How will these elements work against the risks and vulnerabilities you face, from natural hazards, industrial events and actions, and broader security threats including climate change to energy security and cyber?

As we emerge from Covid-19, the potential for nationwide impacts of the type of risks captured in the UK Government’s National Risk Register looks very real. Investing in mitigating and preparing for extreme events looks like tomorrow’s challenge. But getting resilience planned right can unlock a competitive business advantage today.

So how do you approach becoming a resilient organization and what are the opportunities?

First, you must understand any legal obligations your organization may have. The Civil Contingency Act defines the responders covered by the Act and the duties placed on them – including in the energy, transport and health sectors. There may be additional requirements for organizations responsible for critical national infrastructure. The resilience framework continues the principle of subsidiarity, whereby decisions, planning and responsibilities before, during and after a crisis continue to rest at the lowest appropriate level. Here, a whole-of-society approach is needed to energize and empower everyone who can contribute. The framework is clear: institutions at the local level must play their role.

Second, you must take a whole-systems, data-driven approach to building resilience and capacity. The process begins by defining resilience, then conducts diagnostic and stress testing to identify and understand your vulnerabilities. You can then plan capacity building against this broad baseline. In the face of specific challenges, you have to strike the right balance between reducing risk and building your capacity to respond and adapt. And it’s not just about physical resilience: resilience requires behavioral change.

Third, it is about seizing the opportunity and seeing investment in resilience as a strong foundation for growth and competitive advantage. Do the math: A cost-benefit analysis of resilience investments will show enhanced business innovation and success through protection of infrastructure, supply chains and policy approaches. Supporting such arguments needs to rest on business analysis that properly considers pressing risks – including trends in their probabilities and impacts – from climate change to cyber incidents. Such a process presents the ambiguity of risk as a clear and relevant concern. Here are four ways you can take advantage of the opportunity:

  1. Be adaptable. Resilient organizations are more comfortable with uncertainty and can adapt to an ever-changing picture of threats and risks. But adopting an adaptive mindset has far-reaching benefits. The rapid pace of technological development means that organizations must be flexible by design to survive. Organizations are increasingly focusing on time to value—the time needed to finish a project and realize the benefits of a solution—rather than just return on investment. Agile approaches continue to be adopted, adopting an iterative, incremental and lean approach to streamline and accelerate the delivery of projects – embracing the inevitable change along the way. And it’s not just about process and technology: you need to make sure your people have a mindset that embraces change and is resilient in times of crisis. How adaptable is your organization to change?
  2. Provide a secure service your customers can trust. Organizations are waking up to a broader suite of security and cyber threats. Yes, it is important to protect against such attacks and have the resilience to get back into business with minimal financial and reputational damage. But it’s not just about protecting yourself: customers want a cyber-secure business that keeps their data safe. Resiliency here is about enabling your business and meeting customer expectations.
  3. Be resilient and sustainable. Equally, climate change is about more than preparing for increasingly frequent and more severe natural events. It’s about making sure your entire business model is sustainable and able to keep pace with climate-related legislation. More importantly, it is about meeting consumer demand for a sustainable future and demanding big and bold action. Ensuring we remain resilient as we transition to net zero is key to the country’s stability.
  4. Build community resilience. Work with your local community organizations and small businesses to increase the resilience of your staff and clients’ neighborhoods.

Concluding Words on the Resilience Framework

The government has outlined its ambitions. While we cannot predict the future, we can certainly say that we will continue to face numerous and varied resilience challenges. Climate change and our increasingly interconnected society mean that the scale and complexity of the challenge will only increase. We must and can prepare for this. But being resilient is more than surviving shock events. It’s a mindset that can help an organization become adaptive and sustainable, able to keep pace with technological change – and the expectations of climate-conscious digitally-savvy customers.

Written by Carolyn Field and Ben Warner, national resilience experts at PA Consulting

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