DARWIN Resilience Management Guidelines (DRMG)
The DRMGs are
- The DRMGs are guiding principles to help or advice a certain organisation* in the creation/assessment/improvement of its own guidelines/procedures.
- The DRMGs are guiding principles to help or advice a certain organisation in developing a critical view on its own crisis management activities (management of resources, procedures, training, etc.) based on resilience management concepts.
- The DRMGs can be complementary to existing guidelines/procedures/practices in a certain organization, but they do not replace them.
- The DRMGs are intended/directly addressed to for policy makers, decision makers and managers at different levels in a organization. They can only indirectly affect the activities of front line operators or first responders in crisis management.
The DRMGs are not
- The DRMGs are not prescriptive.
- The DRMGs are not intended to replace guidelines/procedures already existing in a certain organization.
- The DRMGs are not directly addressed to front line operators or first responders in crisis management (although their activities will be indirectly impacted by the DRMGs, if their practices and procedures have been revised or designed based on the DRMGs).
* organisation, in this context, is a private or public company, an authority or government agency either at international, national or local level
At the time of a crisis, first responders of different organisations (e.g., fire-fighters, medical teams, police officers, civil protection staff, etc.) need to collaborate to operate effectively and safely while minimising losses. The guidelines described under this theme propose various interventions aimed at enhancing resilience management processes before, during and after crises in order to better support distributed operations.
In order to collaborate effectively at the time of a crisis, the people jointly involved in crisis management from different organizations need to have sufficient understanding of their mutual goals, expectations, capabilities, and operational procedures. This common ground can be achieved by promoting periodic information sharing activities or exercises involving the staff of different first responder organizations.
2.2. Establishing networks for promoting inter-organizational collaboration in the management of crises
Establishing pre-crisis relationships between the organizations that may be jointly involved in managing a crisis, paves the way for more effective collaboration and communication; building trust and create professional relationship across organisations during and post crisis responses.
Stakeholders involved in resilience management need to have clear idea of roles and responsibilities who may be involved in the management of a potential crisis. Each organization should have an adequate knowledge not only of its own roles and responsibilities, but also of those of other organizations they may be required to collaborate with during a crisis. This is vital in order to identify gaps and cooperate before, during and after a crisis.
Emergency situations occur suddenly and without warning. Therefore, organizations must be prepared and adapt their functions to respond to emergency events as quickly as possible. Among those situations, some of the events are expected while others, could be unexpected with different nature. Roles, training, strategies, and procedures must be in place to provide such capacity, using an all-hazards approach which considers the common denominator of emergency situations in different areas, building a generic response plans that can be adapted to a specific event.
3.2. Establishing conditions for adapting plans and procedures during crises and other events that challenge normal plans and procedures
Often, crises challenge the plans and procedures in place. As a result, organisations need to support and maintain a clear and legitimate space of manoeuvre relative to normative plans and procedures. Such space is important for actors engaged in crisis response in order to adapt to unusual (unanticipated) circumstances. After training or real events, investigating why these adaptations occur can feed the processes of revision of checklists, procedures and policies.
To better handle the unusual and changing demands of crisis situations and achieve critical objectives, organisations need to be able to use available resources effectively, sometimes creatively, and potentially to bring in additional resources. For the purposes of this card, resources refer to human resources, such as personnel in various roles and divisions of an organisation, as well as to material or immaterial resources, such as equipment and tools. In other words, to anything that is necessary or useful in order to accomplish the tasks at hand.
Defining, assessing and comparing resilience are the first steps in resilience management. In the context of community resilience, for instance, the ability to measure the concept is increasingly being seen as a key step toward disaster risk reduction.
The assessment and monitoring of community resilience prior to, during and after the occurrence of crises allows policy makers to establish interventions and plans in collaboration with community leaders and members, in order to ensure communities will be better able to manage and recover from future events.
One of the aims of Resilience Engineering is to learn from the everyday performance and from successful operations, rather than by only through lessons learned after failures. In line with this, identifying Sources of Resilience means investigating the mechanisms by which organizations successfully handle expected and unexpected conditions. Such mechanisms (e.g., strategies, processes, tools) allow the organization to adapt, perform and deliver required services in spite of the variability and complexity they experience in their operations. This adaptive capacity can be recognized by looking at the work-as-done, both in daily operations and unusual or exceptional scenarios, in order to identify sources of resilience and to learn from what goes well.
The interventions proposed here aim to support organisations to identify sources of brittleness in order to invest in their correction.
Brittleness is experienced in situations of goal conflicts and trade-offs, or when there is a competition for resources and a need to establish priorities under time pressure. Other difficulties emerge when an organisation struggles to manage functional interdependencies between different parts of the same organisation, or when there is insufficient buffer capacity to provide additional resources. Noticing brittleness also means observing operational variability and comparing work-as-done with work-as-imagined, so to reveal how the system might be operating riskier than expected. In addition, brittleness manifests itself when the organisation is unable to learn from past events, such as near misses and accidents.
Policies are a form of statements of intent and are often used to guide decision making throughout all levels of operation within in both public and private organizations. Policies are not static documents, but evolve with the organization and must thus be managed. The purpose of Systematic management of policies is to support structured development and management of policies for dealing with emergencies and disruptions characterized by occurrence of emerging risks and threats. The aim is to achieve adaptive and holistic policy management involving policy makers and operational personnel, both within public and private organizations. Note, that when this capability card is used by operational personnel, it rather refers to systematic management of plans, procedures or checklists.
The response of the general public that is potentially affected by a crisis, or could be helpful in resolving a crisis, has an impact on the outcome of the crisis response work. Therefore, organizations need to develop and implement communication strategies for Interacting with the public that can help facilitate beneficial responses to crises and crisis response efforts. Communication and interaction with the public during a crisis will be facilitated if daily communication strategies and regular interaction with the public is already well established. The recommendations presented here are aimed at both public and private entities at all levels that are involved in crisis management, in particular crisis managers and roles within the organizations related to design, development and evaluation of communication plans and strategies. Even though not all personnel involved during a crisis or incident needs to communicate directly with the public, being aware of communication strategies aimed at the public and the need of communication competencies can be of use.
To integrate the organization in a network of relevant actors and agencies (community members and local business that typically don’t conduct crisis management). The integration is aimed at enhancing the organization’s ability to respond to the needs of both the organization as well as the local community in times of change and emergency.
The card supports the development and the maintenance of Alternative Working Methods (AWMs) in case of system failure. System failures are situations in which an essential component to ensure continuity in the service offered by the organization is either lost or functioning in a degraded mode and there is no backup, emergency or contingency solution available by design. Applying an AWM means performing one or more activities within the organizations in a way which is remarkably different from what described in existing procedures or practices, in order to bypass the constrain created by the system failure. It may imply following different steps in the way to perform the activity, using different tools or cooperating with different people (or all of the above) with respect to what is normally done without the system failure.
The research leading to these results has received funding from Horizon 2020, the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (H2020/2014-2020) under grant agreement n° 653289.