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In this bulletin, Charlie shares his thoughts and opinions on the current controversy revolving around the Scottish Government. He dissects how some actions during the COVID pandemic might have affected the country, comparing it to other recent disasters faced by the UK.

This week, we saw a sight that, if you are from Scotland, we haven’t seen for a little while – Nicola Sturgeon ‘suited and booted,’ giving evidence to the inquiry. Lately, she has been surrounded with controversy. The first insight we witness, was the footage of a police tent outside her house, and the second, was her dressed casually to plead her innocence after being arrested and questioned about the alleged misuse of Scottish Independence money. Having watched her on the news, she seemed to be back to her competitive self, claiming that we handled things better in Scotland.  After watching Nicola Sturgeon at the inquiry, I decided to put together my thoughts and comments about the recent events.

It’s a positive that we are holding an inquiry, as it gives people the opportunity to learn from the events, and I suspect, for some, it will provide closure or at least a chance to express their feelings if they have lost loved ones to Covid. Each news bulletin on the inquiry holds coverage of the people who are attending, often with pictures of their deceased loved ones. Additionally, I think it’s beneficial that this inquiry is being conducted soon after the event has ended. Other inquiries, due to legal processes, are often conducted years after the event, when memories have faded, and we have moved on.

One of the podcasts I mentioned a while ago was based around the Grenfell inquiry, and it focused on the narratives of those who survived; what happened to them on the night, and how they managed to survive. I was extremely impressed by the level of detail the inquiry went into and how each person was allowed to tell their tale. Many of the accounts were very harrowing, but I personally felt that at least they had an opportunity to tell the story of what happened to them and had their accounts recorded.

Listening to the coverage of the Covid inquiry on news bulletins, it has struck me how unprepared we were as a country for Covid. It seems to be a constant theme that repeats itself in this inquiry. It was always at the top of all risk registers, but we prepared for the wrong type of pandemic. Preparation was superseded by concerns over a ‘no-deal Brexit,’ and where we did prepare and exercise, it didn’t involve a lockdown, which had one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic. Perhaps  in this industry, we should all take some responsibility for the poor level of planning, as we all knew about the risks.

I am hoping that there may be a further push from the government on the importance of planning for future disasters. The Civil Contingencies Act may provide a good legal framework, but from what I have seen in the implementation of the business continuity element in the public sector, in many organisations, it is merely given lip service or is outdated. The threat of cyber-attacks has risen to the top of the agenda for organisations to spend money on and prepare for. Therefore, I think there needs to be either a further revision of the Civil Contingencies Act or new legislation to inform organisations that the existing legislation also covers cyber threats. The only difficulty with this approach, is that we are always chasing the last incident, and we should be prepared holistically for the next one, which may be something we have not yet thought about, or prepared for.

Nicola Sturgeon spoke about the Covid exercises Scotland conducted. I have linked below the two bulletins I have discussed within this bulletin.

https://planbconsulting.co.uk/knowledge-zone/20-20-vision-comments-on-exercise-cygnus-uks-pandemic-exercise-in-2016/

https://www.b-c-training.com/bulletin/20-20-vision-comments-on-exercise-iris-scotlands-virus-exercise-in-2018/

So, I would urge you to look at the enquiry or sign up for the newsletter and see what we can all learn from it!

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