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Preparing Scotland

September 2018

4. Post Exercise

4. Post Exercise

Cold Debrief Post Exercise

Follow Up Meeting


Cold Debrief

Debriefing is an essential part of the exercise process. It allows for collated data to be reviewed and new data to be collected. It is learning through reflection and should be used to identify learning from the experience of the exercise and how best to move forward.

Following a multi-agency exercise, individual organisations may opt to have their own debrief led by their representative from the exercise planning team, who can attend and feed in to the multi-agency debrief at a future date.

There are many different methods of debriefing available and the chosen method of debriefing will depend on the aim and type of exercise, the individuals involved and the time available. Within the National Debriefing and Lessons Identified Protocol (available via ), the following principles should be applied in all cases:

  • The debrief should be conducted at an appropriate time after the exercise (no sooner than 2 weeks, and no later than 6 weeks after is advisable).
  • The date, time and location should be agreed and scheduled during the planning process.
  • It should be planned in advance to ensure that it is focused. It should encourage feedback on all aspects of the exercise, including the response as well as exercise planning and delivery. The main objectives should be to:
    • Identify the positive aspects and what went well
    • Identify the challenges and what did not go well
    • Identify future learning points and what could have been done differently
  • All players and participants should be afforded the opportunity to input.
  • Written feedback should also be sought in the event that a participating agency are unable to attend a debrief meeting in person.
  • A specific length of time should be allocated and adhered to.
  • If single agency debriefs are carried out, the relevant points should be taken forward to the multi-agency debrief by an allocated individual. Additional debriefing sessions may be required for personnel involved in specific or specialist operations
  • Appropriate participation should be agreed and participants invited.
  • Participants should be encouraged to be open and honest.
  • The facilitator of the debrief should encourage an equal level of input from all participants.
  • Both positive and negative feedback should be encouraged.
  • Any supporting material should be prepared in advance.
  • A report, including actions should be prepared, agreed and circulated to relevant organisations

The debrief should consider a range of issues and can be organised into the following categories:

  • Activation Notification
  • Command, Control and Co-ordination
  • Interagency Communications
  • Public Communications (including Warning and Informing)
  • Plans
  • Resources
  • Care for People
  • Environment
  • Training
  • Recover
  • Other (including Legal, Finance, Reputation Management, Specialist Response)

These categories are already recognised by the RRPs and correlate with the National Debriefing and Lessons Identified Protocol.

A number of civil contingencies staff and practitioners across Scotland are trained in different debriefing techniques and are available to carry out independent debriefs. If you are interested in using an independent debrief facilitator or would like some assistance in planning and conducting your debrief you should contact

The debrief facilitator will produce a report which will tie in with the action plan and be agreed in consultation with the agencies involved. A standard report and action plan format should be adopted for consistency.

The finalised debrief report and associated action plan will be circulated to all responding agencies and, where possible, will be made available on the relevant RRP/LRP Resilience Direct page and retained for audit purposes.

Key highlights from the debrief report will be summarised and published in lessons report (currently produced quarterly by ScoRDS). This report will be shared across the resilience community in Scotland to enable appropriate work groups to incorporate learning within their own areas.

Consideration must be given to the information contained in the reports and the correct protective marking, in line with the Government Security Classification (GSC) policy, must be applied. Reports must also consider that some individual agencies may have their own internal protective marking schemes for commercially sensitive information.

Report authors should also note that information gathered during the debrief process may be requested and released under Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.



Exercise Guidance - Annex J.docx


Cold Debrief Post Exercise

Follow Up Meeting


Post Exercise Report

Evaluation of exercise activities is critical to the continual improvement of civil contingency capabilities. This phase consists of collating and analysing data, documenting findings and making recommendations for improvement.

Several types of data should have been compiled during and following completion of the exercise activity. This information includes documentation of player responses and performance in view of objectives, as well as feedback on the effectiveness of the exercise design, preparation and conduct.

A Post Exercise Report meeting allows the exercise staff and a representative of each of the key groups involved to come together and explore the degree to which each of the objectives was satisfied. The meeting/s will normally be chaired by the Exercise Director.

Depending on the security classification of the exercise it may be the case that there are several Post Exercise Report meetings after the exercise in line with the relevant security clearance of the various individuals involved.

Before the meeting is convened each of the groups involved should have had an opportunity to submit an outline of their input to the Post Exercise Report. This will allow the Exercise Director to structure the agenda in order to make best use of time.

The output of this phase is the Draft Post Exercise Report. The draft should be issued to all the key groups and individuals involved. Each group should then be given an opportunity to make amendments before its publication.

The report should then be made available to everyone involved in the exercise. Individual organisations should take responsibility for cascading information internally, however, to assist with a wider sharing of the lessons identified it is recommended that it should also be published on Resilience Direct.

By applying a common approach it is hoped that information sharing and the learning of lessons will be assisted across Scotland, whilst also providing a common and comparable historical record for training, audit and review purposes.



Exercise Guidance - Annex K.docx


Cold Debrief Post Exercise

Follow Up Meeting


Follow Up Meeting

It is recommended that a follow up meeting should be held approximately 6 months after the exercise. The date, time and location of this meeting should be agreed at the post exercise report meeting. The timing of the meeting should relate to the timescales applied to the actions within the Post Exercise Report and the aim of the meeting should be to confirm the appropriate progression of each action.

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