What is the UK Petrol Crisis and how can it be managed?

What is the UK Petrol Crisis and how can it be managed?

It started with shortages to Nando’s chicken, followed by McDonald’s milkshakes, then Ikea mattresses, and now petrol stations are being forced to temporarily close due to supply chain issues.

But what is causing this crisis and what is the solution?

Well, the examples above all have one thing in common – they require HGV drivers.

This situation didn’t occur overnight, it’s been more than two years in the making. There is currently an estimated shortage of around 100,000 lorry drivers in Britain. Around 25,000 drivers left for the EU after Brexit and there are around 40,000 drivers who are on a waiting list to take their HGV licence after tests were postponed due to Covid.

Believe it or not, there’s also potential for further driver shortages in future, with a lack of younger people opting for a career in haulage according to the Road Haulage Association (RHA). Rod McKenzie, Managing Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the RHA, said “The average age of a truck driver in the UK is 57, every day this problem is just getting worse as more and more retire.”

Many people will ask if the issue had been known, then why the risks were not mitigated?

This is where Rose Partners speciality lies. We leverage our experience in securing supply chains to identify any potential weaknesses in a client’s system.

We work closely with our extensive network of global contacts in government and commercial organisations to ensure collaboration and best practices with third-party logistics. This in turn allows us to provide a truly end-to-end security solution for the value chain.

So what can the industry do now?

The British government has urged people not to panic-buy, however, for many, this is only compounding the problem by highlighting the potential for consumer disruption. Similar to the toilet roll shortage in March 2020, long queues formed on petrol forecourts last weekend as demand exceeded the supply.

Army drivers have been put on standby to increase the workforce, however additional training is required before they can become fully operational, so this will not immediately resolve any issues.

Ultimately, there’s no magic solution to the crisis, but there are a number of options that can be considered by suppliers to help alleviate the issues:

Distribution: reallocating deliveries of petrol to ensure an even distribution across the UK.

Communication: encouraging drivers to leave at least a quarter of a tank in case they need to travel further to an operational station.

Lobbying: if the Government change the visa and immigration rules for HGV drivers it may help to recoup some of the truckers who emigrated after Brexit

What about the future?

There’s a genuine concern that despite the reactive measures being brought in, the shortfall of drivers might not be cleared until spring next year. This could have major implications for the Christmas food, trees and turkey markets.

The end consumer will also likely see price rises, due to the supply and demand of wages. Some retailers are already offering £1,000 signing-on bonuses for drivers and this increase in labour costs will be passed down the supply chain.

But more than ever before, retailers must invest in risk management to their supply chain security and any potential issues need to be mitigated to prevent a future crisis from occurring.

If you’re part of the industry and would like a free consultation, please speak to one of the Rose Partners’ team today. Our supply-chain security consultants have comprehensive experience in securing the value chain, transport and logistics system of cargo and the processes that support them.

Leadership; from capital cities to post-conflict environments

Written by Adam Honor, Chief Executive of Rose Partners. Read the full post on LinkedIn.

I have had the distinct privilege of leading teams throughout my career. From the time I left The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to join the British Army, to stepping out onto a rugby field with teammates, to the blue-chip corporate life in the capital cities around the world, through to the deserts of post-conflict environments in North Africa. The journey of leadership has been an evolving experience where everyday lessons are learned, new styles assimilated, personal growth is sought, and best practice deployed. All in a spirit of building high performing teams, inspiring vision, enabling others, modelling the way, and building on core values.

Over the last 16 months my career has (temporarily) pivoted and taken me to Libya where I have been leading on a strategically important capability and capacity building programme. The last 16 months have been the most challenging of my leadership journey and one where arguably the most learning and growth has taken place.

This has been due in the main to the fantastic men and women I worked with and worked for. Each one of them a standout professional and leader in their own respective field. It has truly been an adventure of leadership learning that has forced adaptation, challenging of norms and self-reflection to enable change.

It’s with that reflection and as I draw breath from the last year that I consider the challenges of leading in post-conflict environments, especially in a country like Libya where leadership is so desperately needed for it to emerge from years of turmoil.

I would like to add that, to a man and woman, the Libyans I worked with were outstandingly talented people; a zest for life, a will to learn, full of hope for the future, immensely proud, and they are all so desperate for the country to move on and realise its true potential.

The challenges to post-conflict leadership in countries like Libya highlights the need for democratic capacity building, with a clear participatory process involving communities and the development of leadership as a necessary condition to mitigate new or resurrected conflicts. The Security Sector Reform (SSR) programme I have led was a first; a business to government project that sought to deliver capacity and capability, deliver fit for purpose processes and framework based on agreed strategies and create the future leaders, men and women, for the country. Diversity was key to the success of the programme.

Both the team and I had the benefit of working directly to ministerial level. A minister who himself was a strategically focussed, charismatic and visionary leader. These qualities were evident daily, and they inspired not only the members of the MoI, the 25 plus Libyans who worked with us but the 70 plus expatriates who worked tirelessly to deliver on his vision and work in a collegiate and collaborative way with our Libyan counterparts.

Post-conflict countries demand strong leadership. It is required to ensure an equitable distribution of the country’s natural wealth, which for Libya it is their extensive oil and gas reserves and tourism potential. Leadership is required to root out corruption within national institutions and restore trust among international businesses that it is safe to return to the country. Leadership is vitally important in the process of building a modern, inclusive society, a society that recognises the rights of all Libyans.

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In Libya, the importance of leadership could not be more important than in the process of delivering on reconciliation through justice, political reforms including that of decentralisation, and vitally women’s empowerment.

There are many types of leadership styles that I have experienced during my career. There is the classic transactional model where a leader engages in an exchange process where there is an exchange of valued things. This leadership process is essentially deal-making guided by the satisfaction of mutual interests through distributive gains. The second model of leadership is transformational leadership. This is where leaders (plural) raise one another to higher levels of motivation, inspiring innovation, change, growth, and empowerment of self and others.

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The future leaders of Libya will require resolute leadership and the willingness to share and accommodate divergent interests and aspirations. The surest way to establish a society based on globally recognised rule of law is for leaders to act virtuously, exercising discipline in their personal conduct and behaviour, rather than using power and force to strengthen their position.

There are several other attributes to the success of leading through a post-conflict environment;

  1. The first quality is the leaders’ commitment to the national interest, identity and unity. In post conflict countries, personal rivalry and animosity are the main causes of armed conflict and struggle. It is critical that leaders exercise self-discipline and place national interests and unity above their personal agendas.
  2. The second attribute is their ability to integrate universal ideals and principles of governance into local community values and customs.
  3. Thirdly, their leadership is characterized by empathy, courage, compassion, and the ability to communicate and persuade their followers and the nation at large of the efficacy of pursuing universal visions and adapting all-inclusive ideals to local ethical norms.
  4. The fourth leadership attribute is the ability to balance the need to act on injustices and crimes committed in the past with the merit of pursuing the future (the Northern Ireland peace process – The Good Friday Agreement – is a recent example of this), and
  5. The final and most important attribute is the ability to transform the mindset and mentality of the people in order to achieve sustainable peace and development.

Working with members of the Ministery of Interior my team experienced many of the identified attributes above, exercised through the transformational style of many of the leaders we worked with. Seeking to not accept the status quo, the men and women of the Ministry sought to enable others around them, with the Minister himself setting a clear vision, putting diversity, empowerment and change at the centre of his vision. It was the values of the Minister and the qualities of his team that enabled the success of the SSR programme he envisioned. I had a team of 70 plus leaders who every day acted with integrity and professionalism, building on the Ministers leadership and they ensured we executed on our commitment to deliver a world-class reform programme.

The former Minister has himself recently written in a compelling article in the Financial Times where he calls for leadership within his own country to be held to account and identifies the need for key countries to play their role in leading Libya through this key transitional period through to free and democratic elections.

What a 16-month experience I have personally had! I credit the fantastic team I have worked with (internationals and Libyans alike) and the institutions and their leadership we have worked with. How does the saying go? ‘Every day is a school day’ – well it’s been great to be back in class for the last year learning from inspirational people, and dispensing my evolving leadership and learning experience on this strategically important project for the Libyan people.

Engaging leadership to deliver transformational change

Engaging leadership to deliver transformational change

To deliver an effective transformational change programme, it is critical to ensure a clear strategic vision is outlined, or an acceptance of the need to formulate this vision at the very least. It needs recognition of where the organisation is at now and the work that’s required to take it forward and realise that vision.

This vision needs to be a shared vision, right across the leadership team and beyond. When it comes to government organisations such as the police, their first duty is the safety and security of the population. This, therefore, has to be the bedrock of any transformational change programme.

Transformational change can be a daunting prospect for those who would be responsible for delivering it. People know they want the change, but the task at hand can be seen to be enormous, too complex, and bringing too many risks. This can cause a sort of organisational paralysis, particularly when the change goes against cultural norms and the traditional way of doing things.

Change in itself presents a huge operational risk. When change occurs dynamically and quickly from what people have been used to, this can form a barrier for people when it comes to adopting new systems and operating procedures. Strong leadership is required from the top-down – ensuring the necessary corporate communications are in place which lets people know, both publicly and politically,  why the change is necessary, how people will benefit from the change and the potential implications from not implementing that change.

The complexities of transformational change in post-conflict environments

Achieving the buy-in from the necessary leadership figures can be particularly challenging in post-conflict countries. In the case of Libya, which is still feeling the effects of 50 years of Gaddafi rule followed by nine years of internal conflict and strife, there is a great deal of infrastructure building required to facilitate transformational change. This means that leadership has to be committed to the longevity of the project, which could be as much as 20 years, in order to bring prosperity to the population.

Given the instability of the political platform in this type of environment, it can be difficult to reach a consensus at the highest level of leadership, and therefore commit to the timeframe required to deliver meaningful change.

The security environment presents additional risks. In Libya, there is a footprint of ex-combatants and mercenaries and tensions between the east and the west for military power and control of the country remain.

This reinforces the importance of understanding and assimilating the culture. Only then can you build the strong relationships with key stakeholders required to even get a reform programme off the ground. The culture needs to be ready to understand and accept the transformational change with everybody feeling as though they are part of it, owns it and believes in it.

Referring back to the example of Libya, there is a widespread desire to improve the day to day lives of citizens, a want for peace, security and stability and a hunger to embrace the change required to make it happen. The reality is that, as with organisations of any kind, there are winners and losers out of change. While there is a large ground-level presence who are eager for change, there are some who will be fearful of what the future holds for them and their power base.

illicit financial flows - dr peter norris

Combating illicit financial flows with a unified approach

Illicit financial flows are something which has an impact on most countries across the globe, but there is much to be learned if we are to effectively combat them.  Their effects are particularly devastating for developing and post-conflict countries and increasingly undermine international efforts to promote sustainable economic development.

Illicit financial flows refer to any transfer of money which is carried out illegally, either by virtue of their origin, such as stemming from organised crime; utilised in an illegal way, such as to finance terrorism; or if the flow of money is illegal in itself, i.e. money laundering.

While the consequences of illicit financial flows (IFF) are immediately noticeable in regions emerging from conflict, they are a hindrance to the likes of Europe and the USA. With organised crime generating vast quantities of illicit flows and attempting to wash them through financial centres across the world, they pose a significant threat to the likes of the city of London, which generates around 11% of the United Kingdom’s GDP.

While there is usually the infrastructure in place to deal with illicit flows in more developed countries – should they choose to use it – it is much more of a challenge in post-conflict environments with limited infrastructure in terms of policing and rule of law. Dr Peter Norris, national security expert and formerly of the Foreign Office, gives his thoughts on addressing the issue.

‘Developing countries and emerging economies lose more money through IFF than they receive in foreign direct investment and official development aid combined. IFF prevent investment in health, education, and other public services.     

‘Too often in this field you’ll have people sitting in the likes of London, Washington or Paris who have identified a country which is the source of illicit financial flows, and their first instinct is discuss what training needs to be delivered to people in that area.

‘There needs to be a greater understanding of the context people may be living and working in throughout these regions. For instance, someone they’re looking to train up on financial governance and increasing compliance with important international standards in a post-conflict situation could live in an environment which is under the control of a terrorist, militia, or criminal organisation. There is no amount of training which could equip that person to stand up to the threats of that organisation. In addition, a focus on ending the illicit trading in licit merchandise or activity by communities who have pursued an entrepreneurial option in the most challenging of circumstances and where alternatives are few, runs the risk of incentivising their involvement in more serious criminal or militia activity.

‘Furthermore, when it comes to people living in places influenced by, or under control of, terrorist groups that are receiving money via the remittance sector from places like the UK, the banks will have concerns as to whether that money is being used to fund terrorism. They will want to know the recipient is the person the sender says they are, but there’s no real way of doing this when they might not have any form of identity documents, birth certificates, passports or even paper.’

Given IFF cover a broad range of activities, there is no single or simple solution. A widespread, coordinated approach is required, building capacity and capability in policing, education and wider infrastructure to ensure any response is sustainable. This is particularly prevalent in countries emerging from conflict, which may not have proper procurement or transport systems.

‘People can become involved with terrorist units or organised crime from as young as 11,’ Dr Norris said. ‘From early on they’ll be getting inculcated into their illegal ways, even if they’re initially dealing with legal entities. You will often find militia units and gangs dealing with legal products but using illegal means to do so.

‘There also needs to be significant developments in policing. You can’t have a regulatory system in place if there’s nobody with the ability to deal with those who don’t submit themselves to that regulation.

The previous year-and-a-half has been even more challenging in terms of tackling these issues, with the Covid-19 pandemic detrimental to the relationship-building required to endorse the idea of regulating against illicit financial flows and delivering meaningful change. Now in the wake of the fallout from the C-19 crisis, all of the negative dynamics are intensifying, driving up the imperative to illicitly move wealth out of conflict/post-conflict countries as they are set to crash hard. Developing countries have become increasingly reliant on the remittances of their foreign workers, but those remittances are likely to fall dramatically as the effects of C-19 hit economies worldwide.  Developing countries will experience serious economic crises as their exports and foreign investment dry up and as their governments and companies fail to raise new funds in current market conditions.  Those with wealth are very likely to try to get it out now more than ever, and by whatever means possible.

The challenge over the past 18 months has been trying to do my sort of work over video calls and you simply can’t,’ Dr Norris added. ‘It’s all about building relationships and if I started asking you things which were against your instincts with just 20 minutes’ knowledge of each other over Teams, you’re not likely to be very sympathetic to that approach.

‘It’s very different to getting to know them in the area they live, visiting their place of work and understanding the hassle factor of everyday movements like going home and to work – which can involve the threat of IEDs and sniper fire.

‘Sometimes it’s only when you can show you’ve experienced that first-hand and you understand the cultural circumstances in which they’re operating, that you can build that mutual trust and respect.’

The importance of building relationships in post-conflict environments

The importance of building relationships in post-conflict environments

Before a change in regime, Rose Partners had been working with the Government of National Accord to implement a police and security sector reform programme in Libya. Working closely with the Ministry of Interior, Rose helped to reform the police service into one which was accountable, in line with international standards and served the best interests of the public.

Given the scale of the project, collaboration with other areas of government was essential in order to drive meaningful progression and development. Rose Partners has been uniquely positioned to build the relationships necessary to inspire greater collaboration across varying government organisations.

Mark Gower OBE is a Project Delivery, Training and Mentoring lead for Rose Partners, with more than 34 years’ policing experience. He’s a former New Scotland Yard senior officer and SO15 counter-terrorism expert. He was the police lead for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as a strategic advisor on a security sector reform programme in Afghanistan. He reflects on the significance of Rose Partners’ presence in Libya:

‘Having boots on the ground is pivotal because it allows you to get that face time with people and build strong relationships,’ Mark said. ‘It’s not about the first time you meet somebody, it’s the subsequent meetings before you start to build that trust.

‘This will make them more receptive to the support you’re offering and also trust you to deliver what has been agreed.’

Despite the advantage of having a large team in-country, it is not always straightforward to build these relationships, particularly when working with an overstaffed and under-resourced police service. It can be difficult to identify who is responsible for what, particularly when there can be a high turnover of staff in senior positions.

‘By way of example, the leadership at the Criminal Investigation Directorate changed four times in five months,’ Mark added. ‘It’s important to navigate through these relationships, not get frustrated and be conscious of varying cultural affiliations in order to ensure a piece of work doesn’t become compromised.

‘The very nature of policing itself is about finding solutions, so we need to be prepared and accepting of change and any challenges we’re presented with, and provide options for them to solve their own developmental challenges.’

Mark’s training and mentoring team were able to break new ground in Libya, bearing the fruit of building strong relationships in order to facilitate collaboration across different areas of government. This included involving pathologists from the Ministry of Justice in training carried out with the Ministry of Interior – something which hadn’t occurred for six years – as well as bringing a number of organisations together to participate in workshops around the counter-terrorism strategy implementation process.

This relationship-building also extends to the global stage, with a lot of effort going into working harmoniously with international partners, such as the EU Borders & Migration agency.

‘Much of our role involved listening and observing what’s going on across these organisations, identifying gaps that may need filling and capitalising on relationships built with key organisational leaders, inspiring greater collaboration in order for better use of resource.

‘They’ve been very receptive to the support and want to embrace progression. They’ve absolutely bought into the process and they all want to do what they can to improve their communities.’

This buy-in from Libyans is a significant step towards the successful delivery of police reform. It demonstrates their appetite to form an efficient police service that is on a par with international partners and is accountable to the public. This should be the basis of any police or security sector reform programme.