Our recommendations

Ministry for Primary Industries: Preparing for and responding to biosecurity incursions.

Being better prepared

We recommend that the Ministry for Primary Industries:

1. Make all biosecurity planning more realistic by ensuring that plans reflect likely constraints on resources and reflect more accurately the capacity available to deliver them.

2. Complete response plans for high-risk organisms, including foot and mouth disease, and review them at regular intervals to provide assurance that they are fit for purpose.

3. Prepare better for a potential outbreak of foot and mouth disease by:

  • building on Exercise Taurus 2012 and developing and delivering a regular programme of foot and mouth disease testing and simulation;
  • completing an early simulation to test the Animal Health Laboratory's foot and mouth disease readiness, which is a potential bottleneck but remains largely untested;
  • reducing the risk of a breakdown in the enhanced bio-containment laboratory by replacing it at the earliest possible date;
  • creating a plan to undertake carcass disposal across a range of outbreak sizes; and
  • creating a plan of how the vaccine could be used, demonstrating that it is practical to do so, and the potential value for money that would be provided from investing in the vaccine.

4. Improve its:

  • staff capability by preparing a plan to deliver better response experience, training, and induction;
  • workforce planning so that it has the appropriate number of staff, with the required skills; and
  • creation, use, and storage of information by preparing a formal approach to information governance.

Responding better

We recommend that the Ministry for Primary Industries:

5. Make contracting simpler, faster, and more efficient for response partners, and consider the use of a panel contract arrangement for procuring response services from Crown research institutes.

6. Make changes to the Biosecurity Response Services contract and the National Biosecurity Capability Network to reflect its new organisational structure and operating environment.

Ensuring improvement

We recommend that the Ministry for Primary Industries:

7. Prepare a suite of performance measures to:

  • include operational activity, effectiveness and efficiency of response, and individual staff performance;
  • inform continuous improvements to the effectiveness and efficiency of its preparedness and response activities; and
  • report publicly on its effectiveness and efficiency.

Our earlier recommendations

Our 2002 report, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry: Management of Biosecurity Risks, and our 2006 report, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry: Managing biosecurity risks associated with high-risk sea containers, included recommendations about improving how the Ministry works with other public entities to manage biosecurity, more consistent prioritising, and reviewing capability.

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