Five Months In: Reflections on the EPC Insight Programme
What did we set out to do?
The programme exists to give the whole resilience community a better understanding of who we are, what we do, why we do it and how we do it.
It is, fundamentally, about adding value. That means developing the depth and breadth of services we provide – going beyond our learning curriculum, exercising and consultancy activities.
Providing excellent resilience learning, exercising and advisory services is our aim. It always will be. But we want to go further and position ourselves at the forefront of the resilience profession. So, it’s about a collaborative approach based on trust in our capabilities, our people, our connections, our reputation and, above all, our commitment to the resilience of the UK.
This is done with the full backing and mutual commitment of the EPC’s owners, the Cabinet Office, and Serco, who operate and invest in the college on their behalf.
How do we do that?
Primarily, by supporting practitioners in their continuous development and daily working life. We see this as a social responsibility and as good professional practice.
The Story so Far
Since February this year we have launched and developed a number of learning platforms. These are available to you, free of charge, through our website. They are all works-in-progress. They are developing, expanding and improving all the time. And you are invited to take part in their selection and in their presentation.
That’s the collaborative part. So, take up our challenge, join in, make suggestions and help us shape the programme! These works include:
The Disaster Database. This is a powerful resource for practitioners, trainers, students and researchers – or anybody with an interest in learning from (currently) over 400 UK and international disasters. It is aligned to, and reflects, the evidence base of the National Risk Assessment and its public expression – the National Risk Register. In each case we try to provide an overview and links to associated texts, articles, reports and video resources. It has an interactive mapping tool with it.
The Top Texts. This is what we and the community generally consider to be the essential books drawn from a vast literature on resilience. This narrows that huge field down to a sure and collective understanding of the “must know” guides for busy professionals. They are not usually texts on specific disasters; these appear in the Disaster Database. Instead, they are the “big ideas” books that have (or will have) enduring significance and or have shaped key elements of our professional narrative.
The Book of the Month. Every month we publish a full review of one of these texts, to discuss its importance, its relevance and its lasting value.
Tools and Templates. Every month we publish more of these, drawn from the ever-growing library of top-class EPC training material and publications, with expert authorship and professional graphic design. They are there for you to take and use; they will develop your thinking, improve your practice and, generally, raise our collective game.
The Resilience Round-Up. Do you struggle to keep up with developments in this incredibly fast-moving field? Do you need an insightful “filter” that links you to the essential professional guidance and evolving practice, so that you don’t miss out? Or have to go looking? The Resilience Round-Up is an expertly selected and wide-ranging weekly digest that helps you do exactly that – keep up without having to go looking. It is supported by the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management (ICPEM) and the Emergency Planning Society (EPS).
The Resilience Calendar. This is an evolving list, with contact details, for all the key events, conferences, shows and open workshops on resilience and related themes. It’s a “one stop shop” for this sort of professional development opportunities.
EPC Occasional and Position Papers. You will find more than 30 of these available as free downloads from the EPC website. And we will regularly be adding more. They are professionally researched, fully referenced and rigorous examinations of key professional topics. They are serious reading, but worth the investment.
This year we have published papers on horizon scanning (Anticipating and Preventing Emergencies) and crisis management (Controlling Your Crisis). In the pipeline are papers on the local impact of globalisation and expert teams. Both are due out this year, so watch this space. They are all peer reviewed.
Free Lectures, Webinars and Filmed Interviews. There is an extensive recorded “back catalogue” of these on the website, on a wide variety of subjects. They make great “lunchtime learning” and reflection opportunities.
Conference Presentation Slide Decks. When EPC staff and associates deliver presentations at seminars and conferences, we publish the slide deck for all to see and learn from.
E-Learning Packs. We know that the future is in blended learning approaches. At the moment you will find on our website the JESIP All Staff Awareness pack (which we produced for JESIP) and a link to our hugely successful MOOC (Massive On-Line Open Course) – called Staying Safe: How to be Prepared in the Modern World.
Digital Social Media. Being meaningful and noisy don’t always go together, but we’re working on it! Follow us on social media; our followership is growing every day and we are thankful for your interest in our Insight Programme and your support for it.
Coming Soon: What’s Next?
Five-Minute Features. These are short insight pieces, or mini articles. They give you a “quick fix” or “heads-up” on a topic and are usually about 5-800 words or so in length. We will be publishing the first handful of these very soon in a strand called “Risks in the Spotlight”. Other strands and more will follow – regularly and frequently!
EPC Short Guides. These are, well…short guides to specific aspects of critically important subjects, arranged in collated strands. The prototype will be out shortly. It’s on Crisis Leadership, and there will be 8-10 Short Guides in that strand, with the first three out this summer. They will be very user-friendly, using lots of imaginative graphics and a minimum amount of text. Expect them shortly.
New Learning Technology. We are investing in, and will have working by Autumn, a new interactive remote learning delivery tool that is fantastic. There will always be room for face-to-face classes and the “visiting lecturer” experience, but this system will render the current way of delivering events like webinars obsolete. Immediately. Watch this space.
New Website. We are in late-stage development of a completely new and re-designed website. It should be live within a few months and it will transform our digital presence. The Insight Programme will be front-and-centre.
An Expanding Cohort of Associates. We’ve spent over six months selecting and recruiting to expand our Associate cohort, bringing in new perspectives, new skills and new talent. This was mainly driven by the sheer volume of work we’ve been doing in the last year. We just needed more capacity. The result is a bigger and even better cadre of expert trainers. We get the best because the best know the value of our brand.
Research Fellows. We will soon be inviting a group of leading academics to become EPC Research Fellows. Why? Well … We can connect you to today’s policy and practice already. But the profession also needs connection to the research base – the work being done now that may shape tomorrow’s policy and practice.
Surveys. To keep a finger on the pulse we must be surveying the field more-or-less the whole time. We try not to saturate the internet with these things, but they are necessary and useful. So, there will be more of them. When you see them or hear of them, please don’t just “click off”. Take a few minutes to help us work for you!
EPC Newsfeed. This will be superseded on the new website by a blog. However, for the time being please keep an eye on it – it runs across the home page of our current website and serves as a pointer to lots of stuff we think you’ll like.
The Information Centre (former library). Later this year we will be having a deep look at how we can make this resource more accessible and more useful to you.
A Personal Message from the author, Mark Leigh (Head of the EPC Insight Programme)
This programme is a deliberate act of faith – on several levels. First, we think it is the right thing to do and that it is in everyone’s best interests – including our own. We’re not “giving away our crown jewels”, as one competitor suggested (gratefully) after seeing the Tools and Templates platform. We know you don’t come to us for training, exercising or advice because we produce outstanding graphics and the best courseware. Those are important, but they are a given. And we will never let that standard slip.
Actually, we think you come to us for two reasons: because we have the best people, who bring the subject to life with talent, experience, energy and enthusiasm (they are live-it resilience people) and because we have the best connections to the sources of policy, guidance and practice. Also, we can “give stuff away” because we are always working on the next thing – not relying exclusively on the current thing.
But all investment must be justified. That’s true everywhere. It must work for you for it to work for us. So, if you value the EPC Insight Programme tell us. And tell others. But mostly tell us!
But there’s more. Join in, engage and add to the debate. All of the platforms described above ask for, and would benefit from, your input: suggest a subject or a resource for the Disaster Database; suggest a Top Text; write book review; write a paper; suggest a theme for a paper or a feature or comment on the tools and templates. Talk to us about this or any other suggestion you may have and, on social media, if you like it then Like It! First with your support, and then with your engagement, we can keep this thing going!