The complexity and scope of the pandemic has required close collaboration between a diverse array of organisations – from emergency services to multiple levels of government, to private and charitable organisations, and an assortment of experts and specialist bodies.
ResilienceDirect – an online private ‘network’ overseen by the Cabinet Office – has been a crucial technology enabling and enhancing communication, coordination, and collaboration between the diverse bodies that were involved in the UK’s COVID-19 response.
Over the course of the COVID-19 response, researchers based at Loughborough University have been studying how ResilienceDirect is utilised in a major incident.
Dr Daniel Sage and Dr Chris Zebrowski with support from Research Assistant Dr Nina Jörden, have now produced the first independent evidence-based report for emergency practitioners, national policymakers, and scholars, to understand how ResilienceDirect shapes emergency collaboration.
The report identifies the vital role that ResilienceDirect has played in enabling communication and collaboration amongst the many agencies involved in the COVID-19 response, plus a number of areas where ResilienceDirect could be better utilised and further developed in order to maximise its capacity to support complex emergency responses in the future.
The report, which concludes with 10 recommendations to support the role of ResilienceDirect in underpinning and enhancing UK resilience, is based on research funded by a UKRI Ideas to Address COVID-19 grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
The study involved surveying almost 500 ResilienceDirect users and interviewing a diverse selection of users from different agencies and regions.
“This report highlights both the current value of ResilienceDirect to support collaboration and how the technology and its use could be improved in the future”, said Dr Sage and Dr Zebrowski in a joint statement.
“The report is also concerned with developing broader insights into the potential of digital technologies to facilitate emergency collaboration.
“COVID-19 has demonstrated that technologies such as ResilienceDirect can become a critical piece of national infrastructure underpinning emergency planning, response, and recovery activity.
“However, ResilienceDirect will need to continue to adapt to fulfill this function in the years ahead.”
"COVID-19 has provided an opportunity to better understand and assess the UK’s capacity to respond to complex emergency events. We hope this report provides valuable insights that bolster our capacity to respond to pandemics and other complex events in the future."
The ‘ResilienceDirect during Covid-19: understanding and enhancing digital collaboration’ report is available to download via the dedicated ResilienceDirect during COVID Loughborough webpage.