Select Committee on Risk Assessment and Risk Planning
Preparing for Extreme Risks: Building a Resilient Society

Report of Session 2021-22 - published 3 December 2021 - HL Paper 110


Chapter 1: Introduction

Our inquiry

Box 1: Climate Change

Lessons to be learned from the climate change case study

Defining extreme risk

Why investigate now?

Chapter 2: The UK risk landscape

Risk management in the UK

The National Security Risk Assessment

Reasonable Worst-Case Scenario

Figure 1 Reasonable Worst-Case Scenario Construction

Lead Government Departments (LGDs)

National Risk Register

Local governance of risk management

Civil Contingencies Act 2004

Recent policy developments

Integrated Review

UK Health Security Agency

Office for Science and Technology Strategy

The Climate Change Committee

Biological Security Strategy

Chapter 3: Resilience

What is resilience?

Box 2: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) definition of resilience

Why resilience?

The National Resilience Strategy

Box 3: Severe Space Weather

Central government approach to risk

A culture of secrecy

Politics and risk

Risk appetite

Long-term approaches to risk

Risk governance

Spending on risk and HM Treasury

Skills and capabilities

Box 4: Futures, Foresight and Horizon Scanning

Risk and resilience on an international stage

Box 5: Biological security, bioterror and bio-error

Chapter 4: A whole of society approach

Whole of society approaches internationally

The local level

The purpose and role of Local Resilience Forums

Governance and engagement

Funding of Local Resilience Forums

Community risk registers

The devolved administrations

Building resilient business and industry


Box 6: Pool Re


Using the voluntary sector

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and the voluntary sector

A volunteer reservist cadre

Box 7: The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership

The use of volunteers internationally

Mobilising the public

Box 8: COVID-19 Case Study

Lessons learned from the COVID-19 case study

Chapter 5: Risk Assessment

The National Security Risk Assessment

Timeframes and the velocity of risk

Impact and likelihood

Risk or consequence

Box 9: Professor Ortwin Renn’s Risk Classification System

Interdependencies and systemic risk

The number of risks and their breadth

Data - access and analytics

Business, industry and risk assessment

The voluntary sector and risk assessment

Communication with the public

The value of communicating risk

The National Risk Register

Box 10: Eyjafjallajökull Volcanic Eruption Case Study

Chapter 6: Risk Planning

Central government

The Lead Government Department and siloes

Assurance and audit

Mitigation and prevention


Local planning: information access and adequacy

Business and industry: planning and response

Box 11: Toddbrook Reservoir Case Study

Lessons learned from the Toddbrook Reservoir case study

Summary of Conclusions and recommendations

Appendix 1: List of Members and declarations of interest

Appendix 2: List of witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for evidence

Appendix 4: Summary of reserved and devolved responsibilities

Table 1: Summary of reserved and devolved responsibilities relevant to risk and resilience

Appendix 5: Acronyms and abbreviations

Evidence is published online at

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence.

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