+44 (01347) 821 972 info@the-eps.org

Emergency Planning Society Annual Conference 2021

September 20th & 21st

“Change Required!”

A Virtual Two-Day Conference

According to Albert Einstein doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results, is the definition of insanity.

Yet change and changing the way we do things during crisis is frightening. We are creatures of habit and making changes is a challenge to overcome. So, how do we take lessons identified from incidents and transform them into learning?

Join the EPS for our Annual Conference where our programme this year has been designed to challenge thinking and ask questions such as “What has become of that learning?” Why do we struggle to transform lessons from identified to learning? and acceptance – change – transformation – scary words or opportunities to improve and develop?

UK and International speakers will share their experiences and the challenges they faced implementing changes based on their learning from incidents, and will ask us to consider how all of this learning should help us to shape the new strategy for resilience.

Our Programme

Monday 20th September 2021

10:00 – 11:00

Getting the world humming again – learning from disaster Jolie Wills, Co-Founder and Director of Hummingly

Disaster has so much to teach us. It is in the worst of times that we learn the most. Yet, this learning is rarely available to guide the next community who finds themselves hit by disaster, and all the supporters and stakeholders involved. Jolie Wills – psychosocial recovery expert, cognitive scientist and survivor of the Christchurch earthquake – will share her personal and organisational mission to ensure the learning from disaster gets paid forward to make it that little bit easier for those struck by disaster. Benefit from the wisdom from 100+ crisis leaders and recovery personnel around the globe and be introduced to a range of practical recovery tools that are changing how we support communities recovering from disaster.

11:30 – 12:30

SEPA Ransomware Attack – Robert MacDonald, Resilience Manager, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

13:00 – 14:00 

People First: Why our crisis communication needs to change, Amanda Coleman, Crisis Communication Consultant, Amanda ColemanCommunication Ltd

14:30 – 15:30 

Food For Thought

Dr Steven Forrest, Lecturer in Flood Resilience and SustainableTransformation, Energy and Environment Institute, University of Hull -“The Role of Civil Society in Flood Resilience”. 

Recent flood events across the world have illustrated the significant damage and disruption that flooding can cause. Traditional approaches to flood risk management are increasingly seen as unsustainable and there is a recognition that we cannot prevent every future flood. Instead there is growing emphasis on more holistic ‘flood resilience’ approaches and involving a broader range of stakeholders. Citizens and communities are increasingly taking an active role in flood resilience, but there are many questions about what these civil society actors can contribute to flood resilience, how they interact with authorities, the new role of authorities, and their impact on equality and justice in our cities. This talk explores these questions, unpacks the ‘resilience’ term, and highlight lessons for future flood resilience strategies.

19:00 – 19:45 Approx

Annual General Meeting

19:45 – 20:45

Seed Planting – A cry from the heart, Gill Kernick, Master Consultant, JMJAssociates 

We can predict with high levels of certainty where we will fail in preventing and responding to the next disaster. Our problem is not one of identifying lessons, it’s of meaningfully learning from them. Of changing. In her book Catastrophe and Systemic Change, Gill concludes that our failure to learn makes sense – that we are perfectly set up to maintain the status quo. In her talk Gill explores what she believes change will take and, in a cry from the heart, challenges us to join her in a quest to disrupt the status quo and plant the seeds of change.

Tuesday 21st September 2021

10:00 – 11:00 – Keynote

Roger Hargreaves, Director Civil Contingencies Secretariat, Cabinet Office

As the Civil Contingencies Secretariat celebrates its 20th anniversary, Director, Roger Hargreaves will explore the evolution of emergency planning and crisis management through our shared history of successes and lessons learnt, and looking to future opportunities through the National Resilience Strategy.

11:00 – 12:00

Disaster Management In The Climate Crisis, Samantha Montano, Assistant professor of emergency management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Disaster scholars and practitioners have long noted the shortcomings of our approach to disaster management. Taking a reactive approach to disasters, not addressing equity issues, and the more operational challenges of coordination and communication are familiar to all doing this work. Today as we stand at the forefront of the climate crisis disaster management must now overcome these long held challenges while simultaneously dramatically scaling up our work. How do we do this?

12:30 – 13:30

Learning from COVID-19: Global insights from the Recovery,Renewal, Resilience (RRR) project , Andrew McClelland, Research Associate at the University of Manchester

The RRR project team at the University of Manchester is working with partner organizations in the UK and globally to support those designing and implementing recovery strategies and renewal initiatives to help reinstate preparedness and deliver major transformations to local resilience post-pandemic. To date, deliverables from the project include an international standard (ISO 22393) on Recovery and Renewal for Resilience, and an online database of over 500 lessons to stimulate thinking on recovery and renewal from COVID-19. In this presentation,Andrew will introduce the project and its impact so far and talk about emerging activities that the team is progressing to ensure that the learning from the pandemic translates into improved policy and practice.

14:00 – 15:00

‘The Darkest Day; Communication lessons from the Manchester Arena, Amanda Coleman, Crisis Communication Consultant, Amanda Coleman Communication Ltd

15:30 – 16:30

“Never Gonna Give You Up” – Professor Lucy Easthope

In a #planthem themed finale Professor Lucy Easthope will provide one of her unique and unprecedented riffs on what is next for the most exciting profession in the world and how we can personally ensure that emergency planning becomes as mainstream as any other discipline.

Our Speakers

Gill Kernick

Gill Kernick is a Master Consultant for JMJ Associates, working with senior executives in highhazard industries, to develop a culture and leadership which prevents future catastrophic events.She lived on the 21st floor of Grenfell Tower from 2011 to 2014, seven of her former neighboursdied. As she watched the fire she promised to do whatever it took to make sure we learned fromthe fire.

Gill has just published her first book, ‘Catastrophe & Systemic Change’ Learning from the Grenfell Tower Fire and Other Disasters’, which explores why we fail to learn from and prevent catastrophes. She has also produced a 6- episode podcast series together with journalist Matthew Price to explore some of the themes from the book. She edits “The Grenfell Enquirer” dedicated to learning and preventing such events. In 2020, she was voted as one of the top 20 most influential people in Health and Safety in the UK.

Jolie Willis

Jolie is the Co-Founder and Director of Hummingly – an organisation dedicated to taking the learning from disasters and making them accessible so that everyone has access to theworld’s best advice in the toughest of times.

Jolie has a Masters in Cognitive Psychology and is a leading psychosocial expert in disaster and disruption. Jolie has studied how the mind works under prolonged pressure, how we make decisions and how our reactions and behaviours are impacted by stress.Jolie is a survivor of the Christchurch earthquake and has lived disaster recovery with her family first-hand. She developed services and training to help her fellow citizens for theRed Cross, local government and academia. Jolie is a Winston Churchill fellowship recipient (studying strategies for better supporting those working in disaster recovery), aLeadership New Zealand alumni, an Edmund Hillary Fellow and the co-author of Leading in Disaster Recovery: A Companion through the Chaos, primary author of the New Zealand Psychological First Aid guide and is Co-Chair of the New Zealand chapter of Australasian Women in Emergencies Network and an humanitarian assistance advisor to the global Counter Terrorism Preparedness Network.

Andrew McClelland

Andrew McClelland is a Research Associate at the University of Manchester with diverse researchinterests in the public policy challenges confronting places experiencing or emerging from crisis and conflict. He is currently working on the Recovery, Renewal, and Resilience from COVID-19 project which aims to develop a generalizable, theoretically underpinned framework for howrecovery and renewal from the pandemic can enhance resilience. He previously worked as a postdoc at the University of Liverpool (2018 -2020) where he latterly coordinated and edited a series of COVID-19 Policy Briefs focused on the Liverpool City Region. Prior to that position, he led on a two- year project at Maynooth University in Ireland under an EU- funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship. Andrew obtained his PhD from Ulster University in 2014 where he investigated the destruction of the historic urban landscape of Belfast during ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. He also completed an MA in Town and Country Planning at theUniversity of the West of England, Bristol (2008).

Robert MacDonald

Robert served as a police officer with Northern Constabulary from 1983-2013 specialising in a number of areas but most particularly in child protection and emergency planning. On retirement, he joined the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and, on promotion in 2017, became the national Resilience Manager covering Emergency Planning, Business Continuity and Physical Security.

Samantha Montano

Samantha Montano is an assistant professor of emergency management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. She has a doctorate in emergency management from North Dakota State University and is the author of Disasterology: Dispatches From The Frontlines of The Climate Crisis. You can find out more about her work at her website www.disaster-ology.com

Amanda Coleman

Amanda is the director of the crisis communication consultancy Amanda Coleman Communication Ltd. Based in the UK, she has 20 years’ experience in emergency services communication and leading law enforcement communication at a time of crisis.In 2017, Amanda led the law enforcement communication response to dealing with the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. She has more than two decades of experience in managing crises.

She is the author of Crisis Communication Strategies published by Kogan Page in May 2020. It brings together advice for preparing for a crisis, dealing with it and moving effectively into the recovery phase. Amanda has worked as a journalist and is a Chartered PR Practitioner as well as a Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Public Relations and Communication Association. She is an advisor for the Resilience Advisors Network and a senior associate of the Centre for Crisis and Risk Communication. Amanda is a member of the Emergency Planning Society and the International Public Relations Association.She is an international speaker on crisis communication. Her blog can be found here https://amandacomms1.wordpress.com/


Dr Steven Forrest

Steven is a lecturer in ‘Flood Resilience and Sustainable Transformations’ at the Energy and Environment Institute (University of Hull). His research explored civil society and its contributions to governing flood resilience.  Steven is currently academic lead for the ‘Mapping the Gaps’ project that is investigating effective post-flood recovery in collaboration with the Aviva Foundation. He is currently a Programme Leader on the MSc Flood Risk Management course at the University of Hull.

Professor Lucy Easthope

Professor Lucy Easthope is a leading authority on recovering from disaster. For over two decades she has challenged others to think differently about what comes next, after tragic events. She is a passionate and thought-provoking voice in an area that few know about: emergency planning. However in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, her work has become decidedly more mainstream.

She is a special Fellow of her Emergency Planning Society, awarded for her work in the field. Her book The Recovery Myth was published in 2018 and her next When The Dust Settles is published by Hodder in March 2021.She is a Professor in Practice of Risk and Hazard at the University of Durham where she co-founded the After Disaster Network, Fellow in Mass Fatalities and Pandemics at the Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Research Affiliate at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University, New Zealand.

Roger Hargreaves

Roger Hargreaves has been Director of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat since October 2020. He has had an extensive career in the civil contingencies field, including several postings in CCS. He has held a range of senior roles across government, most recently in DfT, where he was Maritime Director.


Registration is free for EPS members and non-members

Register for Day 1 Here 

Register for Day 2 Here