Step one is only step one

Jason Helps’ responses to the enquiry into quarantine management (Victoria) included the reflection on structure below.

Ref: The Age 19 Sept 2020

The structure to which Helps refers is depicted in the diagram below. It relies on the assumption that an incident management system (which evolved from the context of fighting fires in the USA in the 1980s and since then adopted, adapted, and refined as AIIMS for Australian contexts) can be “scaled up” to manage large, socially complex disasters. This has been, and remains, a contentious issue.

Scaling Incident Management to Disasters (Ref The Age 19 Sept 2020)

Given the most senior public servants in Victoria have now adopted an approach based on the coordination of “missions” (medical; economic; social etc – depending on context) one might take heart that the qualitatively different nuances of disaster contexts are starting to be appreciated. (This despite decades of such recognition outside of command and control dominated cultures).

Observations such as those by Helps are neither mature nor helpful. They are a starting point to asking “why”. They are the first step in the first diamond of a Double Diamond Design based review process.

It is best to see submissions as being neither definitive nor conclusive. This is not to downplay their value. They are valuable “grist to the mill”. Indeed, they may be gold – but that has yet to be considered.

Author: John Salter Consulting Services

John Salter - owner of John Salter Consulting Services - specialising in the facilitation of risk-based capability reviews; needs-based training; business continuity planning; crisis management exercises; and organisational debriefing. Recognised for “preventing disasters, or where that is not possible, reducing the potential for harm” Ref: Barrister H Selby, Inquest Handbook, 1998. Distracted by golf, camping, fishing, reading, red wine, movies and theatre.

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