Report suggests funding cuts are affecting organisations’ abilities to react to major incidents

Public sector organisations

The future of the UK’s public services is at risk as the threat of major incidents intensifies, according to a report released today.

The report, titled Risk and Response, was published by Zurich Municipal and predicts emerging risks such as cyber crime and increased natural disasters mean that that the frequency of major incidents will increase in coming years.

It warns that cuts to the public sector mean that organisations’ will be less capable of managing and recovering from the impact of a major incident. At worst, some organisations could even face collapse.

The research, carried out by with Ipsos MORI and CIPFA, found that:

  • 58% believe that cuts to funding are affecting their ability to manage a major incident risk;
  • 49% are concerned that funds will be cut even further over the next three years;
  • 71% say that a lack of funds will make it difficult to recover from a major emergency; and
  • 52% agree that new market dynamics may introduce an increased risk of insolvency.

Anne Torry, Managing Director at Zurich Municipal, said: “Against a climate of tough decision-making and cuts for public sector organisations, our research shows that many are being forced to dip into their reserves just to continue delivering core frontline services. This means there will be little spare cash to draw on if disaster strikes.

“At the same time, the types and impact of major incidents is changing and issues like data loss, cybercrime and supply chain failure can have a serious impact on the community.

“While many public sector leaders we spoke to feel confident in their immediate response to an incident, they are much less optimistic about getting communities, services and systems back to normal in the weeks and months after a major event.”