This case study describes how the Western Australian Office of Emergency Management developed its emergency management assurance and lessons management frameworks. Their relationship with the Capability Framework underpins successful implementation.
The connection between capability, assurance, lessons management and exercising is, in our view, quite innovative. Strategic decisions create better prepared and more resilient communities. The capability framework provides the context and currency for this decision making.
Following devastating bushfires that destroyed the township of Yarloop during January 2016, the Western Australia Government appointed a Special Inquirer, Mr Euan Ferguson, to review the management of the fire response. Crucially, the review also considered what has been learnt from previous major bushfires.
The narrative to this point is one heard before: An emergency occurs, the incident is reviewed and recommendations are made. Agencies work to implement the recommendations. Recommendations can be tactical or strategic, simple or complex. Difficulties or debates may arise that relate to research, funding or legislative change. This process is repeated following the next emergency event.
New recommendations may add complexity where they duplicate or contradict the previous set. Further, because a new implementation team is established, the momentum of implementing the new recommendations overwhelms the previous, which (unofficially) becomes a lesser priority. Once another incident happens... the cycle continues.
This was the position in Western Australia ahead of the Ferguson review in 2016.
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