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Improving national resilience

This reminds me of a skit on Alas Smith and Jones in the 1980s. Mel Smith was a Conservative candidate relating to a conversation he had with an old dear in the constituency.

She asked "why, oh why can't things be like they used to be?"
So I took away her pension and sent her grandson up a chimney!

We might chide H&S and the risk averse culture, but ultimately it has saved a lot of lives. Do we get to play with asbestos now? Does moving machinery have to have tamper-proof guards? Are we better informed about potentially harmful chemicals in everyday use?
The problem is that despite its undoubted benefits ‘health and safety’ has become a cloak for the workshy and risk averse. There’s not much that cannot be done simply because H&S ‘forbids’ it, but it’s a handy excuse to trot out if you can’t be arrsed to work out how to do something safely or simply don’t want to bother.
 
It's one of the reasons the UK doesn't have an equivalent of the French CRS; a full time paramilitary heavy mob who's only job is to cave rioter's faces in, then arrest them for, Bleeding in a Public Area Without Due Care and Attention.

Riot control is only one of the CRS tasks. When there are no riots (it happens, sometimes) they patrol "hard" areas or participate in general security patrols.

In the Summer, they provide added security to touristic areas and sometimes even provide life guards to public beaches.

The CRS also have mountain and motorway units.

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CRS-secours-montagne.jpg
 
This reminds me of a skit on Alas Smith and Jones in the 1980s. Mel Smith was a Conservative candidate relating to a conversation he had with an old dear in the constituency.

She asked "why, oh why can't things be like they used to be?"
So I took away her pension and sent her grandson up a chimney!

We might chide H&S and the risk averse culture, but ultimately it has saved a lot of lives. Do we get to play with asbestos now? Does moving machinery have to have tamper-proof guards? Are we better informed about potentially harmful chemicals in everyday use?
You might be better informed but you would be amazed what small companies get away with and idiots disregard. Actually not always small companies either.
Thankfully I'm out of industry now and involved in a much safer and safety aware part of the economy. Small scale farming
 
Usually smoke it (as in kippers not canabis). Bought it as out of date stock 15p a can. Usually about £1.80.
Very similar to the old compo ration "cheese possessed".
I only try to get into the freezer when pissed so they are a safety device.
Very good, if Scott's scoff at the pole was edible after 100 years then yours would be fine, just hold your nose!
 
I was quite impressed how the food supply chain did during Covid. Despite lunatics hoarding bog roll and tinned tomatoes, things were only disrupted for a couple of days.

A few ideas from me:

1. Improve our defences against disinformation. Years of cr@p on social media has eroded our national resolve, adherence to rules and I'm sure will reduce uptake of the vaccine. This will cost UK PLC billions of pounds. You could see the end game last week on Capitol Hill. I am still not sure we are taking this seriously enough.

2. Resilience costs money. We need to spend it. I am sure if we had followed through on some of the pre-COVID wargames we would have spend more money on preparing the NHS and associated supply chains. For example not being able to manufacture a vaccine here pre COVID was a huge oversight. The NHS have done a great job but it was an organization prepared for the wrong tasks. The vast majority of it is used to treating Marjories Type 2 diabetes and Tom's obesity not acute viral infections.

3. Double down on organised crime and dark money. These effectively impose a tax on the rest of society at great cost to us.

4. We were more susceptible to COVID as the country's feckless residents probably like a pint of full fat coke and a Maccy Ds a bit too much. Obesity and general chronic ill health in the population has cost us billions of pounds and will slow down the recovery from the pandemic. We need a concerted effort on healthy living but this is politically a non starter.

Can I pick up on a couple of points.

The NHS was doing what its client base required at the time; dealing with ingrowing toenails, and fat people. There should have been training and equipment for addressing a potential pandemic, but the various regional NHS bodies will point their collective fingers at central government for not having a big cupboard full of PPE, etc. I will slap the NHS though for lack of training on working in contagious environments - my own experience of that with the NHS saw me in rooms with people suffering from MRSA and C-Diff. I received no training other than "wash your hands" and was appalled at the onward transmission of infection, and re-infection rates. I put together my own protocols based on drills learned during NBC training and was asked by the ward manager to teach the other staff - transmission and re-infection rates came down.

Organised crime needs a serious, hard, slap. Forget the nicey, nicey, law enforcement approach at the sharp end. The Russian, and other former Soviet mafias are either trained intelligence officials, or career gangsters. The admonishment they were likely to receive in the former WP was a Gulag holiday, or a bullet in the back of the head. Similarly south american narco gangs/cartels and asian syndicates are more likely to face instant justice back home. In europe what do they get, fair play, a stiff talking to, and time in a prison system that would look like a holiday camp where they come from. Organised crime needs more drastic, permanent action taking - they only do it because they can, and because the punishments are minimal. If Osama can be tracked down, then mafia and cartel bosses can be tracked down.
 
This reminds me of a skit on Alas Smith and Jones in the 1980s. Mel Smith was a Conservative candidate relating to a conversation he had with an old dear in the constituency.

She asked "why, oh why can't things be like they used to be?"
So I took away her pension and sent her grandson up a chimney!

We might chide H&S and the risk averse culture, but ultimately it has saved a lot of lives. Do we get to play with asbestos now? Does moving machinery have to have tamper-proof guards? Are we better informed about potentially harmful chemicals in everyday use?

Here we have a house full of elves in Washington, but they don't seem to have got around the States yet judging by some of the stuff I see. They seem to work more on the basis of fining people after things have gone wrong rather than preventing things going wrong.
 

QRK2

LE
You might be better informed but you would be amazed what small companies get away with and idiots disregard. Actually not always small companies either.
Thankfully I'm out of industry now and involved in a much safer and safety aware part of the economy. Small scale farming

Where on earth were you before?

 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Alternatively it was fascinating eavesdroppoing on calls to discuss claims for payment for PPE in the first lockdown with astronomical sums being requested for items bought from freshly set up explotative web-based suppliers, when the items were readily available from supply chain (if the buyer could be bothered to put an order in).

Edited to add: Re: mop buckets - surely you are the owner of your own risk assessment and if you believe buckets A and B are equally safe then you just crack on. (what does a Covid-safe mop bucket look like?)


Unfortunately I am not the owner of the risk assessment.

Last risk assessment had myself, clinic head nurse, dental nurse manager, operations manager, Assistant Clinical Dental Director and the BDA rep, unison rep sent apologies.

I am just a pair of hands with a degree that does the clinical work.

I have said about buying buckets from Tesco but that's a no-no.
No reason given.

Frankly I was getting frustrated with the system before Covid but the pandemic has been icing on the cake. Will be 55 in 14 months, 2 weeks and 3 days, and then can take early retirement.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Finland encourages its population to store and prepare for 72 hrs without power, water etc.

Finland is probably the best prepared nation in Europe when it comes to resilience. Your average Finn living happily on 4-5 words a day, social isolation is not an issue....

Not unusual up in the Highlands and islands.
Given the disruption caused by the weather
 
I think the argument goes something like "If we have a small number of larger contractors, we only have to manage and audit a limited number of suppliers. If we had every school make its own arrangements with small local contractors, how could we be sure that the small contractors weren't supporting the slave trade, sex-trafficking their employees, using suppliers of their own that we'd have to have them certify that they had vetted, that all consumables they used had fair-trade sourcing methods applied, that the small contractors were applying equal opportunity best practices, that parts and tools were certified to BS or CE standards, that all employees had been subjected to DBS checks, that risk assessments were applied to working at height, with children, in confined spaces, that PUWER regulations were followed and documented, that the contractors were compliant with Data Protection standards and regulations, that their transport fleet was properly licensed, insured and inspected."

Or something like that.
Fook me you'd give an aspirin a headache.

I'm joking of course, it's just what came into my head when reading your post. Which I'd add is probably correct.
 
hasn't the narrative for the last decade or 3 been that centralised gov procurement is terrible and its cheaper/quicker for staff to buy, eg stationary, from Viking Direct

Stuff like copier-paper is very much a commodity item used across every business and industry. Various drugs and medical hardware are more the sort of thing that could rotate through a stores-system leaving (at least) several months in the pipeline were possible. For many items this must already be done though, surely?
 

Yokel

LE
Several months worth in (different stages) of the pipeline? That sounds a lot like Kanban - which has largely replaced Just In Time in manufacturing industry. It was developed in Japan because JIT proved to not only lack any sort of resilience but was also to not be as responsive as one might want.

Applying it to activities other than manufacturing is not always a good idea.
 
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Once upon a time stores were for storing and old boys called Len or Baz, complete with their long brown coats and clipboards managed warehouses. Now smart arses with PHds and excel have gifted us processes such as JiT, Lean, Kanban etc...and thus created a whole new raft of problems!
 

Yokel

LE
Once upon a time stores were for storing and old boys called Len or Baz, complete with their long brown coats and clipboards managed warehouses. Now smart arses with PHds and excel have gifted us processes such as JiT, Lean, Kanban etc...and thus created a whole new raft of problems!

So why did British industry post 1945 have such massive issues with getting parts and spares, as did BAOR etc?

I think reshoring component manufacturing to the UK (which will allow Kanban to be implemented properly) will increase our ability to manufacture things in a crisis - and reduce the amount of things imported. Likewise would putting data centres in the UK reduce our vulnerability to potential sabotage of undersea cables.
 
hasn't the narrative for the last decade or 3 been that centralised gov procurement is terrible and its cheaper/quicker for staff to buy, eg stationary, from Viking Direct

Centralised Procurement needs to be at the level of insurance and fuel, travel and finance, process and procedure.

Delve anywhere near Operations and it’s fcuking useless, built by self serving CPOs who want an empire and accepted by peers who haven’t got a clue or couldn’t care less about Procurement and Supply Chain.
 
So why did British industry post 1945 have such massive issues with getting parts and spares, as did BAOR etc?

I think reshoring component manufacturing to the UK (which will allow Kanban to be implemented properly) will increase our ability to manufacture things in a crisis - and reduce the amount of things imported. Likewise would putting data centres in the UK reduce our vulnerability to potential sabotage of undersea cables.
Horses for courses, Kanban and JiT etc are good for consistent manufacturing (such as a mature aircraft build line) but ramp up or down production too fast or throw in unplanned repair and damage parts you need to Rob from the JiT line, its fooked no matter where it is.

Typhoon contracts were signed with OEMs to be able to produce a rate of say 300 aircraft per year, 2 test sets, 4 jigs etc... all bought by the nations.

Design change, need 400k to update 4 jigs, well we haven’t sold at a rate 300 aircraft per year, still only doing 150 so just update 2 at 200k

Wait, all the nations need spares on the shelf, the nations signed tranche 2 and need 300 per month....guess what happened, JiT didn’t work, we need 600k to refurbish and update our jigs and test sets, Tranche 2 is too expensive it should be going down in cost not up.......

You can finger supply chain but it’s usually being fingered by the budget holders.
 
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In my current role I am supporting the National Test Programme. The work done in building labs, developing incredibly complex logs chains, from scratch against a rapidly changing clinical environment is worthy of any wartime effort.

In April the UK could - at a stretch - test about 3000 people a day, using the PCR test. We can now test c 500,000 a day across a network of 6 new labs, via over 800 physical test sites and, of course, home delivery. The target is 80% of results back within 24 hours - which was achieved in Nov and early Dec. Similarly, we are now rolling out vaccines at a whirlwind rate (only eclipsed by Israel) and alongside this genomically screen 10% of positive PCR tests, which ensured that we identified new variants early (as I have pointed out on other threads, few other countries have this capability). Each day, between 50-80 k Home testing kits are dispatched (via Royal Mail or Amazon) and returned (via Royal Mail - who have done a tremendous job to develop new collection routines across the country). To date, in under a month, 2.5M people have been vaccinated.

Without a doubt, government/political decisions were made late (cf New Zealand) but closing borders - when we rely on c 10,000 lorries a day to deliver food into the UK - was not considered until it was too late. But the scientific, medical, military and industrial response has been miraculous. The quality of the people, both civil service and consultant, I work with is superb.

I can't comment on PPE production and distribution; that was clearly an area that did need attention and Whitehall is seized in this issue. But overall, the country has been very resilient - look how quickly the Nightingale hospitals were sourced and put together - it's a pity no one had looked at the staffing model.

ETA: PCR testing is also conducted weekly of staff and residents in 17,000 care homes.
I've banged on about the local council side of things as well. We've done really well. That I know of locally,
Within a few days of the lockdown starting we had a specialist management team covering the three local councils as all three shared resource's. This was supported by a coordination hub linking local area NGO's and support organisations together. A food distribution centre was created, initially with traffic wardens dropping off food parcels to sheltering individuals, although this was quickly taken over by other organisations.
The local RAF base was prepared and ready to act as an overflow morgue, and be set up to become a nightingale if needed. The local hospital had a portacabin Morgue delivered which increased their capacity by about 200%.
There's now an established routine of test & Trace, and welfare checks for households who are isolating.

Basically, what I'm saying is all elements of state have (at least locally) continued to provide their usual service, as well as getting ready for situations such as we saw in Italy at the start of the pandemic. The fact we've not had the worse case scenario happen is also, I suspect in part down to the work everyone has done.

Equally, add in the shed-engineering habit of the British. Dyson's emergency ventilator, the amount of companies that within a short period of time managed to switch roles to support the fight agaisnt the pandemic.

I'd also suggest that all this is unnoticed by many. Look at what the 'Borris Grrrrr'/'All tories are evil'/opposition have had to complain about over the last year. Apart from manufacturing the "Covid is racist" thing, and complaining that they would have done X sooner (usually with a massive dollop of hindsight). The only valid complaint I've heard is the PPE distribution.
I will suspect that is not so much an issue of unpreparedness, but a logistics one. Simply put there's a massive, if not impossible requirement for PPE, especially in London (mass population, multiple seperate locations, poor road infrastructure linking the main routes to the places that need it). I'll suspect most of the complaints about lack of PPE came from that area. Again locally, the hospital ran low, worryingly low on PPE supplies, but it never ran out. That period of crisis also seemed to last only a short period as well. Now the entire country is saturated with PPE.
 
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