The British Science Association (BSA) has today, Wednesday 15 December, launched a new publication as part of the For Thought series. ‘Developing a new relationship with risk’, supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, brings together insights from a roundtable of cross-sector experts in risk and risk know-how, chaired by Lynne Berry CBE which took place on Tuesday 23 November. The report will be discussed by an online panel, culminating the For Thought events in 2021.
Read 'Developing a new relationship with risk' (opens in new tab)
Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and climate emergency, leaders around the world are attempting to manage risks unique to this moment in history. Build better (BSA, 2021) posed the question: how do we develop a new relationship with risk? Nations and other bodies are capable of foreseeing seismic events but, despite being armed with this knowledge, responses and preparedness remain ineffective.
The roundtable participants debated a range of issues related to risk and risk perception, such as cross-sector collaboration, adopting whole-systems thinking, and the National Risk Register, providing examples from their own experiences and professions. These have been distilled into a set of ‘Established principles’, reflecting current understanding and decision making in industry and society, alongside recommendations for transforming the public relationship with risk:
- Communicators must be credible and embrace a wide range of formats and mediums through which to communicate effectively
- Successful risk communication is two-way and requires a strong network of trusted and trustworthy intermediaries
- Risk literacy and risk know-how must be accessible to all
- Risk may also offer opportunities and these potential “upsides” are often overlooked
Recommendations for a better relationship with risk:
- A longer-term approach is required to identify and plan for future “slow burn” risks, not just sudden shocks
- We need a diversity of decision makers, not just a focus on how best to communicate with a diverse audience through diverse mediums
- Decision makers need to be (and feel) empowered to make necessary but unpopular decisions
- The UK National Risk Register needs to be more accessible – and more useful in giving practical guidance on risk – to the general public
The final For Thought event of 2021 invited the following panellists to share their thoughts on risk and the world’s future relationship with it:
- Stephanie Boyce (President, Law Society for England and Wales)
- Lord Toby Harris (President, National Preparedness Commission)
- Nina Schick (Author, advisor and speaker, specialising in how technology is transforming politics and society in the 21st century)
- Dr John Taylor (External member of the Prudential Regulation Committee, Bank of England)
- Professor Charlotte Watts (Chief Scientific Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
Follow the discussion on Twitter via the #ForThought hashtag.
Download 'Developing a new relationship with risk'.
Find out more about Lloyd’s Register Foundation.
Get involved in For Thought.