Art of the Possible Emergency Services Workshop

On 23 June BAPCO and techUK partnered up to deliver an interactive event – Art of the Possible Emergency Services Workshop.

The event was chaired jointly by BAPCO CEO Ian Thompson and techUK’s Justice & Emergency Services Programme Manager, Georgie Henley, who were delighted to welcome over 70 attendees, from across both organisations, representing a wide variety of industry and emergency services roles.  

Key stakeholders and speakers on the day were; David Bailey and Wayne Parkes from the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) National Enabler Programme (NEP), Ian Taylor from the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and Matt Leat from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA). The intention was to bring together the wider emergency services eco-system with the tech industry to understand challenges and look to design solutions. This event was an excellent opportunity to understand how technology is enabling collaboration with organisations and across the public safety eco-system.

The event kicked off with a series of presentations by our key speakers from across the emergency services .

The event presentation slides are available to BAPCO members here.

Our NEP colleagues started by taking us through their strategy, aims and how their vision can be delivered by working through the key principles from the National Policing Digital Strategy. We learnt the key role technology is playing in supporting policing across communities and some excellent use-cases from recent months.  It was explained how forces have accelerated their adoption of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on Microsoft Teams for both operational and internal management, just to name one of many. NEP have worked closely with techUK and will continue to be moving forward to engage with the wider tech industry.

Ian Taylor from the NFCC outlined challenges being faced and opportunities ahead. There was a particular focus on interoperability, not just across Fire & Rescue Services but also across the wider emergency services and public safety network.  He explained how data is being used effectively but there is room for better collaborative working. Interoperability is important but so is intra-operability. It was excellent to gain an insight as to what is needed directly from Ian.

To close our presentations, we heard from Matt Leat of the MCA who began by explaining the wide variety of work undertaken by the service including that;

"HM Coastguard is responsible for the initiation and coordination of civil maritime search and rescue within the UK search and rescue region. This includes the mobilisation, organisation and tasking of adequate resources to respond to persons either in distress at sea, or to persons at risk of injury or death on the cliffs or shoreline of the UK."

It was great to have Matt attend this event to learn more about the operations of the MCA and their work as one of the 4 blue light services. We were given an insight into their work across search and rescue alongside their operations room technologies and how it is best utilised to improve public safety outcomes. In addition, attendees heard more about the coastguard rescue service, mission control centre and their coordinated working with the other emergency services personnel, both employed and volunteer, in response to  incidents of all types.

Following the presentations, attendees were split into 3 breakout rooms with a different  topic or theme to discuss, as well as a common question

Breakout Room 1 

Chaired by, Paul Roberts – APD Communications

The time intensive data entry required for recording / reporting incidents on the ground is acting as a barrier to tech being used to its full potential.

Breakout Room 2

Chaired by, Chris Ullah - Blackberry

Real-time tech solutions to co-ordinate data between agencies and individuals are currently inaccessible.

Breakout Room 3

Chaired by, Andy Rooke - BAPCO

What is needed to move towards an interoperable emergency services?

All rooms also discussed what the future of our emergency services might look like in a post-COVID-19 world.

From these discussions breakout room chairs led feedback and next steps section with key notes and summaries from each room.

There were some noticeable over-arching themes that related to work around interoperability within each sector but more importantly the wider emergency services community. These included how data is shared effectively; which platforms are being used and the importance of multi-agency working and collaboration. The discussions were informed by some excellent use-cases highlighted from participants own experience including The Manchester Arena Inquiry and others.

It was clear from the informative feedback notes that there were some excellent discussions in the breakout rooms. Thank you to everyone who participated.

To conclude, next steps from BAPCO and techUK were highlighted and how the outcomes from this event will shape future conversations and work. More on this will follow in due course. We welcome any feedback on this event from both BAPCO and techUK members so please do get in touch with Georgie or Ian should you have any questions or anything to raise.

We look forward to continuing to work with teckUK and the wider emergency services ecosystem. To learn more about JES programme contact Georgie

The event presentation slides are available to BAPCO members here.