Towards resilient governance

The UK National Preparedness Commission, chaired by Lord Toby Harris, has recently published ‘Making it Happen: Encouraging Government Action on Preparedness and Resilience. This report addresses the urgent need for a more resilient governance framework that manages immediate threats and anticipates future crises.

Our current global landscape, sometime characterised as TUNA–Turbulent, Uncertain, Novel and Ambiguous–presents multifaceted challenges. From geopolitical instability to ageing infrastructure, the need for a comprehensive approach to governance that anticipates and prepares for these varied threats is more pressing than ever. The report outlines recommendations that guide governments on enhancing resilience and preparedness, identifying foresight as a key component.

Anticipatory governance and foresight

Governments increasingly recognise the need to strengthen their capacity for futures thinking and foresight. This recognition calls for a more systemic integration of foresight into policy-making processes, enabling governments to better anticipate and respond to future challenges.

At SOIF, we emphasise an ecosystem approach to governance. This prioritises intergenerational fairness and resilience, moving away from linear solutions to distribute risks and responsibilities evenly across society over time. For example, the Future Generations legislation in Wales demonstrates how successfully long-term thinking can be embedded into public policy.

Practical steps

To advance anticipatory and resilient governance, we recommend the following practical steps, building on insights from the report:

  • Systemic integration of foresight – governmental entities should enhance their structural and procedural frameworks to incorporate foresight methodologies, ensuring that long-term planning becomes an integral part of policy-making. You can explore our report which features effective foresight ecosystems in governments worldwide.
  • Adoption of future-oriented legislation – drawing on successful models like the Future Generations Act in Wales, governments are encouraged to create and enforce laws that prioritise future societal well-being and embedding the principle of intergenerational fairness across policy-making.  Read more from SOIF’s Governance Adviser Sophie Howe on shaping policies for future generations.
  • Promotion of inclusive policy-making – initiatives should be undertaken to involve a wider array of stakeholders in the policy-making process. This includes creating platforms for the meaningful participation of young people, ensuring that governance reflects a comprehensive and multi-generational perspective. SOIF’s multi year programme “A National Strategy for Next Generations” has tested and demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach.
  • Intergenerational fairness assessment – policymakers need frameworks to assess longer-term consequences during the decision-making process. The Intergenerational Fairness policy assessment tool is based on scenarios and alternative futures, aiding in understanding who benefits from a particular policy and its impact on current and future generations.

Implementing these steps moves us towards a governance landscape ready for current challenges and future opportunities.

Join our network of early adopters interested in building and accelerating the adoption of long-term governance by contacting