On 12th January 2022, the House of Lords debated a motion to take note of a report from the Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee: Preparing for Extreme Risks: Building a Resilient Society (Session 2021–22, HL Paper 110). The Bishop of Leicester spoke in the debate, advocating for greater inclusion of faith groups in emergency planning:
The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, I, too, am grateful for the Select Committee’s work in tackling such an important subject and, in particular, I concur with the authors’ recognition that,
“the UK must move away from a risk management strategy which … often ignores or fails to appreciate the interconnected nature of our society”,
and that we must instead,
“produce a risk management system that ties all sectors of society together.”
Interdependence is a fundamental part of human nature and policies that follow the grain of that nature are far more likely to succeed.
I was disappointed, therefore, that although the report advocated for a whole-society approach, no reference was made to the role of faith groups in emergency planning and response. Faith groups and leaders across the country were an integral part of the response to Covid-19. A 2020 report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society, based on research with local authorities, found that faith communities were instrumental in local responses by offering buildings, running food banks, information-sharing, befriending, collecting, cooking and delivering food, and providing volunteers for local authority programmes. Accordingly, the APPG found that local authorities developed a new-found appreciation for the agility, flexibility and professionalism of faith-based organisations, and that local authorities were keen to continue and build on those relationships in the future.
Continue reading “Extreme Risk Management: Bishop of Leicester highlights benefits of including faith groups in planning for response to crises”
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