Risk Assessment and Risk Planning

The RSE has submitted a response to the House of Lords Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee inquiry on risk assessment and planning in the context of disruptive national hazards following the COVID-19 pandemic.

This response was facilitated through the Building National Resilience subgroup of the RSE Post-Covid Futures Commission. This work is exploring what a resilient nation looks like, considering how government, industry, and society learns from the pandemic, the future risks and challenges, and priority actions to build resilience. The response provides an update of the group’s work to date, presenting an overview of the attributes of resilience, the potential challenges and suggested priority actions.


Paper summary

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy, welcomes the establishment of the House of Lords Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee. The Committee’s inquiry on Risk Assessment and Risk Planning provides a timely opportunity to learn lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic with a view to strengthening the UK’s preparedness for future shocks and
disruptions. The response to the pandemic demonstrates the importance of taking steps to build up the UK’s national resilience.

The RSE has established its Post-Covid-19 Futures Commission to support Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic by stimulating discussion and activity aimed at building a fairer and more resilient society by addressing both immediate challenges and longer-term policy and practice questions.

Our Commission is based around four thematic workstreams, including one focusing on Building National Resilience. Our Building National Resilience working group is:

  • considering what a resilient nation looks like and the features that underpin resilience;
  • identifying the key future threats and challenges facing Scotland;
  • exploring how resilience can be built up and developed.

This response has been prepared by the RSE’s Building National Resilience working group and represents the group’s evolving thinking on resilience, the attributes of resilience, and the priorities for supporting resilience. We are engaging widely to inform our work as it is important to hear a breadth of perspectives on what resilience means to different individuals and organisations. We would be pleased to discuss our work programme with the Committee and to explore the potential for joint activity in areas of shared interest. In the meantime, our working group is pleased to have the opportunity to offer the following comments in response to the Committee’s call for evidence.

We recognise that through the inquiry the Committee is seeking to generate a fuller understanding of the most significant risks that
the UK faces. We would be pleased to discuss the findings from our engagement and consultation with the Committee following the conclusion of this activity.