Malicious drone attacks to earthquakes. Pollution to plane crashes… it’s all there. Water… too much of it… floods. Not enough… droughts.

Wrong chapter

It’s easy to talk about risk. Another thing to deal with it.

All the self-help books say; ‘take a risk’, ‘just do it’, ‘have a go’. Mostly written by people who have never taken a risk in their lives.

Entrepreneurs who talk blithely of risk soon learn, the business of business is the avoidance of risk.

Facing risk, calculating risk is a wholly different matter. Write a two hundred page report and you build in the risk that no one will read it. Very smart!

A report of those dimensions has just popped up. Funnily enough, it’s all about risk!

You couldn’t make it up.

It’s HMG’s national risk register. It’s a good read… I doubt few will bother. Great picture on the front cover.  

Malicious drone attacks to earthquakes. Pollution to plane crashes… it’s all there. Water… too much of it… floods. Not enough… droughts.

Mobile signals wiped out. Malicious financial attacks. Cyber, rail, assassination… it’s all there.

It’s a slightly awkward read, ‘thematically arranged’… with no apparent logic?

… the chapters don’t flow and the index isn’t in any sort of alphabetical or logical order that I can figure out.

You just have to make a cup-of-builder’s and plough through it.

The risk scoring formula seems to have been made up by the Professional Head of Intelligence Assessment.

Government departments who ‘own’ their risks, look to me like they’ve marked their own homework.

In fairness, there is some sort of expert ‘challenge’, from industry, academia and charities.

Who? Dunno…  

One of the many risks (of about 90, I think), is industrial action. Ho, ho! Page 180.

Defined as;

… when trade union members are in a dispute with their employers that cannot be solved through negotiations… [leading] … to disruption affecting critical services or infrastructure.’

Sound familiar? There’s more;

… different assumptions apply to industrial action in different sectors.

For some sectors, the risk of industrial action has increased, due to external factors such economic pressures or changes to working conditions and other organisational changes…

… heightened by ongoing pay restraint in the context of inflation…

Sounds a bit close to home!

The document helpfully points out…

… having a comprehensive engagement framework with recognised trade unions is an essential enabler to early dispute resolution and to averting industrial action…

How about this…

… wherever possible, the government encourages negotiation and mediation, such as via the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, as a means of resolving industrial action both before and during a strike…

Let’s stop and have a think about this.

We have ongoing industrial action in the NHS, (which, incidentally, is mentioned throughout the document as being part of the recovery from various doomsday scenarios), where, for the want of a better description…

… both the secretary of state and the prime minister have told key protagonists to clear-off and won’t talk to them.

All this against a background of disastrous industrial relations across the health and care sector.

Trades unions will say they have no opportunity to talk regularly with government. They are obliged to deal with pay review bodies… of which there is mounting distrust, questions about their independence and speed of their work…

… and they are right.

Minister will say they cannot be expected to negotiate with every trades union individually…

… and they are right.

The authors of the risk register highlight the damage to the nation’s economy and infrastructure that strikes in key sectors can do…

… and they are right.

What does the publication of the risk register do to change or improve anything? You could be forgiven for saying… nothing…

… and you would be right. 

What I can tell you is, in my view, the risk to the nation is not strikes but how they are handled…

… and the biggest risk is from Bully-Boy who seems frozen in the spotlights of the juggernaut of a potential 9million NHS waiting-list heading down the road and…

… a PM hell bent on squeezing the juice out of the economy in time for tax breaks at the next election.

Elsewhere the report deals with the impact of a cyber attack on health and care, and concludes (page 57);

… there is likely to be a long recovery time with elective care backlogs lasting months to years…

Right conclusion… wrong chapter.

Have the best weekend you can.

News and Comment from Roy Lilley
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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.