The response and recovery to COVID-19 has been a whole-of-society effort where every individual, community group, business, and organisation has had a role to play.
To maintain the outpouring of goodwill, local government and voluntary organisations have long been discussing how to renew their efforts on community resilience to ensure that a positive legacy of the pandemic is a more cohesive, risk-aware, and prepared society that can work with local government to enhance its own local resilience.
With this aim in mind, Alliance Manchester Business School has now co-founded the National Consortium for Societal Resilience [UK+] with Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum, to pursue the ambition of whole-of-society resilience outlined in the Government’s recent Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.
To ensure the Consortium is focused on making evidence-led change happen, membership is limited to those organisations that have strong local connections to communities to implement approaches for whole-of-society resilience.
In total the Consortium comprises of 60 member organisations that are central to building resilience in the UK[+]. These include organisations representing the business community, such as Business in The Community and the Federation of Small Businesses, those representing the voluntary sector such as British Red Cross and local voluntary organisations, and almost every local authority.
Consortium co-founder Duncan Shaw, Professor of Operational Research and Critical Systems at Alliance MBS, said Consortium members would now be working together on the national endeavour outlined in the Integrated Review. “Each member has different starting points on how they understand their risks, pinpoint vulnerabilities, enhance preparedness, and leverage their agency. This is a multi-year endeavour to raise the ability of whole-of-society to anticipate, prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from risks.”
Professor Shaw added that whole-of-society resilience must be built from inside communities. “It is about utilising available partnerships which offer important support, facilitation, and intervention within a national framework of guidance and good practices. This explains why building whole-of-society resilience is not top-down from national or local government, because society is not controlled by them.
“We recognise that the value of such an endeavour is not in having the Consortium itself. The value comes from the Consortium making a difference on the ground to enhance whole-of-society resilience so that every individual, community, business, and organisation can all play a meaningful part in building local resilience.”
Among the Consortium’s key objectives are for members to strengthen relationships with each other, while also learning from each other on how they can build whole-of-society resilience. It will also seek to develop nationally consistent approaches, and develop and implement an evaluation methodology to assess the changing confidence and maturity of whole-of-society resilience.
More in-depth detail around the rationale and make-up of the Consortium can be found in the latest issue of The Manchester Briefing, a document aimed at those who are planning and implementing Recovery and Renewal from COVID-19 and which is put together by AMBS and the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute.
Meanwhile the Consortium will be officially launched on October 13th at a webinar where members will share more about their ambition, activities, and events. The webinar will be hosted by Professor Shaw and involve a panel of Consortium members from across the UK as well as resilience partnerships and sector partners.
You can register here to attend the launch webinar