Vital societal functions – a recommended approach to assess risk and vulnerability
The term societal security can be defined as “society’s ability to protect itself against and deal with incidents that threaten fundamental values and functions and put life and health at risk”. The core objective of the work in the field of societal security is to maintain this ability. To systematise societal security work, the authorities have defined 14 vital societal functions that must be maintained at all times.
The vital societal functions are cross-sectoral, and ministries, directorates and other actors have a partial responsibility for their functioning. To contribute to better management and coordination, the Government has appointed a primarily responsible ministry for each of the 14 functions. This responsibility is formalised in the “Instructions for the Ministries’ work with civil protection and emergency preparedness”. This entails, among other things, maintaining an overview of the status related to vulnerabilities for these functions and providing status and condition assessments. The respective primary responsible ministries shall perform status and condition assessments according to a schedule laid down by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
The purpose of this report is to propose an approach and a methodology for assessing the status and condition of vital societal functions. The final part of the report provides a practical guide for those who carry out such assessments. The first part of the report explains the methodology, empirical data and background for the proposed approach.
The study is based on a comprehensive review of relevant articles, public documents, similar methods and interviews/conversations with relevant actors. In addition, we have evaluated the status and condition assessments carried out during the period of the study. This has served as useful input in the development of our recommended method.
In this report, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) provides recommendations on what should be emphasised in the process of conducting a status and condition assessment – both in terms of who should be involved, what should be assessed and how. Finally, FFI provides a recommended six-step procedure for the ministries’ status and condition assessments:
- System description
- Method and procedure
- Background information
- Relevant incidents, threats and/or scenarios
- Assessment and overview of risks and vulnerabilities, including dependencies; and
- Ongoing measures and recommended additional measures.