Crisis and contingencies management in the context of multi-level governance: the management of disease threats

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This paper seeks to address a lacuna that exists within the crisis management literature: the multi-level governance aspects to UK contingencies and crisis management. It has been acknowledged in the politics of crisis management literature, with the context of devolution and UK membership of the EU, that there are subnational and international drivers and factors that are likely to influence multi-level policy and institutional relationships (e.g. McConnell, 2003). Yet, to date, this has not been subject to detailed analysis. This (Carnegie-funded) research explores multi-level policy and institutional relationships in relation to contingences and crisis management. The case of contingencies and crisis management (particularly pandemic influenza) has been identified as an ‘analytical hook’. The 2009 influenza pandemic was the first significant test to multi-level/cross-border crisis management post-devolution in Scotland (ain the public health area). The paper identifies a) the extent to which contingencies and crisis management with respect to public health threats can be regarded as ‘political’ despite the policy area being grounded in epidemiological and scientific processes and b) to assess the extent of politico-bureaucratic coordination and conflict across multi-level levels of governance in this policy area. The paper concludes that, in overall terms, crisis management efforts employed at sub-national, national and supranational levels of governance in relation to the 2009 influenza pandemic were broadly a success yet, at the same time, the management of disease threats is political due to the challenges and implications associated with risk communication and concerns for state sovereignty. In terms of politico-bureaucratic relationships, the main areas of contention in this area pertain to aspects of Europeanisation and protectionism associated with sharing information across and between levels of governance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


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