A report by the new Counter Terrorism Preparedness Network that examines the ways in which strategic co-ordination can be developed in cities and communities.

Key Points:

  • Strategic Co-ordination Structures
    • The efficiency of the network to achieve its goal relies not only on co-ordination mechanisms and collaboration but also on its structure.
    • Cities should consider reviewing strategic multi-agency structures to ensure appropriate connectivity, responsibilities and information-sharing in response to a terrorist attack.
  • Strategic Planning and Preparation
    • At a city level, strategic planning and preparation are critical to responding to and recovering from terrorism.
    • Cities should develop a counter-terrorism framework. Consideration should be given to the different types of terror attacks including marauding terrorist attacks and the use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials.
    • Cities should consider commissioning a strategic training needs analysis to inform the development and delivery of a training and exercising programme for strategic leaders with consideration to wider international sharing and participation.
    • Cities should consider undertaking a full multi-agency capability analysis to understand the city’s true ability to respond to and recover from a terrorist attack and subsequently identify any risks, gaps and solutions.
  • Strategic Leadership and Decision-Making
    • Cities should consider investing in the co-location of emergency services and key stakeholders to improve monitoring, information sharing, co-ordination and response.
    • Cities should consider investing in digital and physical infrastructure, such as secure electronic platforms and facilities to enable live feeds into and from strategic meetings.
    • Cities should consider developing information sharing protocols to include sensitive information.
    • Cities should consider developing a 24/7 monitoring function, as well as reviewing and updating early warning and activation mechanisms, for the strategic multi-agency structures.
  • The Importance of Building Trust between Partners
    • The ability to deal with a crisis situation is largely dependent on the structures that have been developed.
    • City administrators should promote a culture of trust and inclusivity within and across organisations at a city-policy level, harnessing the influence of strategic and political leaders.
  • Participation of Actors in Strategic Co-ordination
    • Cities to consider the benefits of a neutral commander to work alongside the lead agency during the response to a terrorist attack or another incident.
  • Strategic Communications
    • Having designated owners or communication leads is important so that there is consistency and direction in communications, rather than the release of inaccurate, contradictory or confusing information from partners.
    • Cities should initiate city-to-city learning on strategic communications.
  • The Application of Lessons Identified
    • Cities should consider using joint multi-agency debriefings as well as city-to-city peer reviews as opportunities for continuous improvement, and to establish an oversight committee to ensure the integration and implementation of lessons in a timely manner.