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Devolved Administrations and Chief Scientific Advisers to give evidence on risk assessment and preparedness

Tuesday 22 June 2021

The House of Lords Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee will tomorrow (Wednesday 23 June 2021) hear from two panels of witnesses, as it continues its inquiry into Risk Assessment and Risk planning in the United Kingdom.

The first session will examine how the current arrangements for civil protection in the Devolved Administrations are supported by the UK Government.

Giving evidence at 10.15am will be:

  • Reg Kilpatrick, Director General of Covid-19 Crisis Coordination, Welsh Government
  • Karen Pearson, Deputy Secretary for Civil Contingencies and Covid-19 Recovery, The Executive Office, Northern Ireland
  • Shirley Rogers, Director Organisational Resilience, Scottish Government

Questions the committee is likely to ask include:

  • How is emergency planning and response managed in your respective administrations?
  • Do you feel you have adequate contact and dialogue with central Government?
  • How in practice does emergency risk assessment and planning split between central and devolved administrations?
  • How do you coordinate a response when a risk or policy cuts across areas which are devolved and those which aren’t?

The second session will examine the contribution of Chief Scientific Advisers to the risk assessment process.

Giving evidence at 11.15am will be:

  • Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser
  • Professor Gideon Henderson, Chief Scientific Adviser, DEFRA
  • Professor Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Adviser, FCDO

Questions the committee is likely to ask include:

  • What is the role of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and departmental Chief Scientific Advisers in the risk assessment process?
  • What mechanisms in the risk assessment process should be adopted to avoid groupthink, obtain diversity of thought and introduce external challenge that is independent of Government?
  • What must the UK do to ensure it is better prepared for the next pandemic?

The sessions will take place virtually and can be followed on Parliament TV.

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