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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-05423
Asked by: Finlay Carson, Galloway and West Dumfries, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 24 December 2021


To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the role that the Scottish National Resilience Centre in Dumfries will play in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current status: Answered by John Swinney on 13 January 2022


The National Centre for Resilience (NCR) whilst an independent body is fully funded by the Scottish Government, and works closely with it. In the past its remit had focused on natural hazards, but early in the pandemic it adapted its efforts into health resilience - bringing to bear its existing work on recovery to the particulars of the emerging threat.

The NCR was already working with the Scottish Government’s Resilience Development Service (ScoRDS) on recovery as the pandemic began. In collaboration with ScoRDS it had held a series of national workshops where policymakers, practitioners, and academics shared their experiences and the challenges faced when supporting communities through recovery from significant disruptive events. An initial findings paper was published. That laid very firm groundworks for recovery across sectors, and has also placed the NCR in an excellent position to continue to support those sectors.

Building immediately on this work, and following participation in the Scotland responders’ Covid lessons group in the summer of 2020, the NCR identified a need to help responders understand an evidence-based approach in order to not only recover, but to build back better. It used its networks to connect with the third sector responders and SG policy teams, to gain a clear understanding of new issues arising, and also how existing challenges were being amplified by the pandemic.

As a result, a series of symposiums were hosted - bringing together senior leaders in response organisations, academia, and policy teams in order to engage and identify cross sector ways to help find and deliver practical solutions, to improve and mitigate reported issues. Full reports on these symposiums were shared with all participants and have been published on the NCR website.

The NCR has also conducted literature reviews, looking at areas such as mutual aid and the role of the third sector through the lens of the pandemic, as well as mapping changes in policy in Scotland over the last ten years. Reports on these reviews will be published on the NCR website. Its staff and researchers continue to engage in a spectrum of activity across Scotland and the UK in support of the recovery from the pandemic, but also to understand how the pandemic has affected other aspects of resilience.

The Chair of the NCR Steering Group has also been invited to attend the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Post Covid Future Commission's Resilience Roundtable event on 19 January.

In summary, the NCR has been building its understanding and knowledge of the effect of the pandemic on its relevant audiences, as part of its ongoing strategic objectives. It has been seeking ways to collaborate and work together across sectors in order to provide robust evidence to inform policy. It has fostered ways to provide a gateway to networks of academics for government and responders, and it has identified the challenges and barriers that need to be addressed to promote and adopt the concept of evidence-based transformational change, in order to build back better across the wider resilience sector.