This response to the Cabinet Office call for evidence on a National Resilience Strategy has been prepared by the ICE and supported by risk expertise from the IFoA (Institute and Faculty of Actuaries).
Our response focuses on critical infrastructure, how it is planned, delivered, managed, and maintained and the vital role it plays in supporting national resilience.
Key points from the response:
- Building resilience into infrastructure systems is necessary, however it is rarely adequately addressed. Addressing infrastructure resilience poses major challenges for all stakeholders. It will be necessary to procure projects and operate and maintain infrastructure assets differently, improving the resilience of existing infrastructure.
- Resilience needs to be analysed to identify the impact of a project on interconnected infrastructure systems. These systems should include both critical national infrastructure and strategically important regional infrastructure.
- Most infrastructure that supports our national resilience already exists and will do so for many years. The first issue is to improve the operational resilience of existing infrastructure and its interconnected systems. The second issue is to optimise the impacts of new infrastructure on these existing systems.
- The need to improve resilience of infrastructure systems is known. Examples of success and failure provide opportunities to identify lessons and understand the scale of benefits achievable. The potential impacts of climate change make adaptations of existing infrastructure vital to delivering national resilience.
- The critical time in infrastructure development is at ‘the front-end’ when considering major interventions decisions. Resilience opportunities missed then may be lost as a ‘narrowing-down’ analytical process takes place.
- Infrastructure projects typically focus on delivery to time, cost and specification. However, we recognise that decisions based on ‘best value’ rather than ‘lowest cost’ are needed when considering national resilience. Best value may be interpreted as the optimum cost that provides robust and flexible performance under a range of different future scenarios.
- Adaptive pathways should be considered to the timing of spending on resilience. This requires a much wider ranges of scenarios to be envisaged and analysed. The analysis will often be complex to ensure that the right resilience decisions are made, and expert advice will be needed to a greater extent than now.
ICE submission on the National Resilience Strategy
Content type: Policy
Last updated: October 2021