Commercial priorities must be aligned with wider societal goals, argue Marsh McLennan and National Preparedness Commission

Concurrent predicaments such as sustained supply chain challenges, extreme weather, large-scale cyber-attacks, energy crises, and a still-evolving COVID-19 virus have exposed vulnerabilities in the UK’s resilience arrangements that could be addressed through increased coordination between business and government. 

In response, Marsh McLennan has launched a report for the National Preparedness Commission, which examines the opportunities for stronger interactions between the public and private sectors to strengthen the UK’s ability to anticipate and respond to strategic risks and crises.

“The new national resilience strategy being prepared by government should stimulate and test new approaches that will position the UK well for the future,” said Lord Toby Harris, chair, National Preparedness Commission. 

“As identified in the report, government will need to play director, client, stimulator, facilitator, and cheerleader with business to fully realise a whole-of-society approach to resilience.”

“The private sector can, should, and is keen to contribute to increasing the UK’s resilience in many ways,” added Richard Smith Bingham, executive director, Marsh McLennan, and author of the report.

“Companies have much to offer by way of finance, physical assets, workforce, capabilities, and innovation. But if we truly want to align commercial priorities with larger national imperatives, we need to refresh how we apportion responsibility for risks, how we regulate for resilience, and how we share data.”

Founded on extensive desk research and interviews with resilience experts in the UK and abroad, Partnering with Purpose offers 18 ideas for achieving better alignment and traction on resilience with the private sector and positioning the country to withstand current and future shocks. 

These ideas include: mandating stockpiles for critical goods, stronger cybersecurity mandates, new approaches to insuring catastrophic risks, greater analytical horsepower for critical risks, more extensive stress testing for critical national infrastructure, public-private sector crisis exercises, and private-sector code(s) of crisis conduct.

Among other things, the report:

  • Proposes how to reframe the goals of national resilience and realign sectoral responsibilities to spur greater engagement
  • Explores key areas (risk allocation, regulation, data sharing, communication) where revised ‘terms and conditions’ would secure better outcomes
  • Puts forward a selection of specific opportunities, in part derived from initiatives across the world, that might be tested in the context of the UK’s resilience strategy review