John Tesh retired from the Civil Service in 2012 after a thirty-six-year career in the Ministry of Defence, which ranged widely over the fields of international policy, national strategy, operational policy, finance and organisation.
His last appointment, 2006-12, was on secondment to the Cabinet Office as deputy director and head of the capabilities team in the Civil Contingencies Secretariat. This is the unit that advises the Government on crisis management and resilience issues. In this capacity, John coordinated the National Resilience Capabilities Programme, a portfolio of twenty-two Government-wide projects to improve preparedness for major emergencies and to improve the resilience characteristics of national infrastructure, and contributed material on national resilience to the first three national security strategies, in 2008-10.
He was probably best known, nationally and internationally, for his work on national risk assessment, developing the UK’s National Risk Assessment to the point where, in 2009, this was acknowledged as best in class internationally by the OECD. He pioneered work on risk communication in the National Risk Register, co-authoring the first edition in 2008 and subsequent versions.
He was awarded a CBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list for his work on civil resilience and the development of the National Risk Assessment.
He is currently continuing this work through consultancy work to the OECD and to governments.
He is a visiting senior fellow at King’s College London, and an Associate Fellow of RUSI.
Recent publications have included 'Trends and Directions in Disaster Risk Management in "Europe and Others Group"' – a paper prepared for the World Humanitarian Summit Regional Consultation in Budapest, 3-4 February 2015.