Report describes how taking an ‘engineering perspective’ can enhance resilience

Published: Tuesday, 25 May 2021 08:30

A new report published by the Royal Academy of Engineering makes recommendations for a new approach that could enhance the resilience of UK infrastructure, communities, and organizations. Entitled ‘Critical capabilities: strengthening UK resilience’ the report recommends that taking an ‘engineering perspective’ could help the UK to build a more resilient future.

Engineers are trained to make things work better says the report. They see emergency response and planning as a series of interdependent and interconnected systems of capabilities. An effective response to an emergency or crisis is one that can rapidly call on the right capabilities to deliver the most effective response at the required pace.

The report describes this in terms of ‘critical capabilities’ and focuses on the actions needed to identify and build these critical capabilities ready for future emergencies.

The critical capabilities are divided into six interdependent groups: research and innovation; national assets; industrial capability; skills and labour; resources; and networks and coordination capability. Networks and coordination are essential as the bridging capability that brings the others together to understand the issue and accelerate solutions.

For national emergencies, the usually well-networked elements of the public sector and emergency services, though vital, are not sufficient and the emergency response will also need to draw on organizations, people and resources in the private and third sectors. Taking a systems view of the capabilities available in the UK could help anticipate which organizations would be relevant to different kinds of emergency responses and identify crucial connections and weaknesses ahead of time.

The report’s recommendations include:

Read the report (PDF).