Virtual debate: 15 July 2021, 3pm to 4pm BST

Resilience First is delighted to present an Oxford Union-style, virtual debate on the topic of standards. The essence of the debate is around the proposition that:

Current resilience standards, as exemplified by the ISO compendium, have become increasingly burdensome, complex, subjective and allied to vested commercial interests. The original BSI’s Royal Charter injunction for ‘simplification’ of processes has been lost in a morass of definitions, clauses, guidance and unsubstantiated best practice formulated by a cabal of consultants with no academic validation of their efficacy.

Their imposition on global companies by third parties, clients or regulators is wholly impractical and for most SMEs it is, in several respects, overburdensome. Cost-benefit analysis even by the BSI themselves reveal benefits are questionable and resulting bureaucracy often distracts organisations from their core business. Furthermore, the audit process is often conducted by consultants who have little understanding of the company in question and have rarely practised resilience. The consequent recommendations and observations are often risible.

Therefore, the concept of standards needs to be reviewed, simplified and made more accessible. If action is not taken soon, resilience standards risk falling into disrepute and becoming little more than a distress purchase and ‘tick-box exercise’ and losing their original intent of improving efficiency.

Confirmed Panel:

Chair: Claire Ward, Chief Executive, The Institute for Collaborative Working

For the motion:

Dr Chris Needham-Bennett, Chief Executive, Needhams1834

Against the motion:

Dr Rob MacFarlane, Deputy Director, Civil Contingencies Secretariat, Cabinet Office


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