In Scotland, our experience over many years has taught us the importance of Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR), whether the challenges we face include severe weather, pandemic disease, or man made threats from crime or terrorism.
I am pleased to say that since the publication of our CIR strategy ‘Secure and Resilient’ in 2011, we have come a very long way indeed. One of the key developments I would like to single out is the way in which we have become much more pro-active in our collaborative approach to mitigating the impacts of the challenges we face.
So whilst we are in a much stronger place than we were only a few short years ago, there is still a long way to go and we should never lose sight of the fundamental reason why we need to commit our time, effort and resources to build effective Critical Infrastructure Resilience – to ensure that Scotland is a safe, strong and resilient Country where our communities feel safe and are safe so that our economy can flourish.
This is why we are refreshing our strategic approach to CIR. Continuous improvement is at the heart of everything we do in Government and ‘Keeping Scotland Running’ is an example of this. There are four key elements within the new strategy and guidance, which I personally believe will make a significant contribution to resilience in Scotland.
The truth of the matter is that when a crisis strikes, we are all in it together – Government, Industry, local and national Responders – Resilience is everyone’s business. We all need to be fully engaged from the outset to ensure that our arrangements are effective and that we all bounce back stronger from disruptive events.
Planning, Responding and Recovering from disruptive events will continue to be key to our resilience effort in Scotland. However, I believe that a new focus on the Preventative elements of our resilience approach – Assessment of risk and Prevention activity to mitigate risk – will help to improve and enhance our already World Class resilience arrangements and ensure that Scotland remains a leader in this field.
Resilience involves a diverse range of stakeholders across Government, Industry, Responder Organisations, Academia and Communities at Scottish, UK and International levels. It is a highly complex field of work that requires a high level of coordination and collaboration. In order to achieve this, we will continue to work hard to build strong relationships and to establish effective networks across Scotland. Information sharing and removing barriers to effective communication will remain a key aspect of this work.
This will be a key aspect of the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Programme as we go forward. I recently received the first Ministerial Summary of Critical Infrastructure Resilience in Scotland, which highlighted the need for a greater level of connectivity between the Prevention activity of CIR and our Infrastructure Investment programme in Scotland. This I believe, is an area where we can realise huge benefit in the future and exploit the opportunities that are available to us in understanding and mitigating our essential services vulnerabilities.
While real progress has been made over the last few years, we must never allow ourselves to become complacent. By working effectively across Government, Resilience Partnerships and Industry, we can make a significant difference together in making Scotland a Safe and Strong place to live and work.
Deputy First Minister