Mitigating the effects of national crisis: the case for a dedicated Civil Defence or Emergency Situations organisation in the United Kingdom

Grant number: COV19\201075

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    British Academy
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United Kingdom, Europe
  • Lead Research Institution

    King's College London - Defence Studies Department School of Security Studies
  • Research Category

    Secondary impacts of disease, response & control measures

  • Research Subcategory

    Other secondary impacts

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group

    Adults (18 and older)

  • Vulnerable Population


  • Occupations of Interest



The United Kingdom was found wanting when the covid-19 pandemic struck. The military had to step in to provide support. Its personnel, for instance, planned and built temporary hospitals, took over the NHS logistics system and ran the vast majority of mobile testing facilities in the country (92 out of 96). The UK government was lucky in that, almost uniquely, a large number of military personnel were available in early 2020. It may not be so lucky next time. Other European countries, though, do not rely on luck. Virtually every one of them has a standing Civil Defence or Emergency Situations body whose sole function it is to deal with sudden national emergencies. This project examines, by comparing and contrasting with other European states badly affected by the pandemic (Italy, Russia and Spain), and which utilised their Civil Defence bodies, whether the UK needs such a body of its own.