The Local Resilience Support Initiative

Victoria Clifford, Chair of the Community Resilience Subgroup at the Lancashire Resilience Forum, discusses the experience working with a Business in the Community emergency volunteer, part of the Local Resilience Support Initiative

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Background

The risks in Lancashire are varied, from pandemic flu to severe weather and chemical incidents. Emergencies do unfortunately occur and can be unpredictable, but through a co-ordinated way of working, the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF) looks to minimise the impact that they have.

The LRF is a group of organisations that includes the police, fire and rescue service and local authority, who work together under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004) to prepare and respond to emergencies.

READ MORE Find out more about the Business Emergency Resilience Group

For about 18 months, the LRF has been working alongside Business in the Community (BITC) to see how a BITC emergency volunteer could support their work. Although the LRF organisations have worked with businesses before the chance to explore this in a more formal way was seen as a positive step.

What is BERG?

Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG) is a campaign at BITC. It aims to use influence and collaboration to urgently consider and seek to deliver any requests a local resilience body considers important and that will make a difference.

BERG is network of businesses and strategic partners that collaborates to find ways to support small businesses to prepare for disruptions, such as floods, storms and cyber-attacks. BERG also has a response side, which works with BITC Members to provide more coordinated support for local resilience bodies following emergencies.

“It can be difficult to obtain certain resources during an emergency and to know that there is a huge pool of businesses that may be able to help, at no cost, is useful.”

As part of its work BERG has set up the Local Resilience Support Initiative, which collaborates with businesses to find ways to support local resilience forums and the communities they serve during times of crises.

Working with a BITC emergency volunteer

The LRF was allocated a BITC emergency volunteer from Aviva, Bill Fraine, who acts as the link into the Local Resilience Support initiative. Bill’s roles involves ensuring the LRF knows what support BERG can provide and to be BERG’s eyes and ears during an incident.

In his Emergency Volunteer role Bill is a representative from BITC, not Aviva and it was understood by all parties that there was no underlying ‘sales pitch’. The support BITC member companies is offering through the initiative is altruistic, not a business development opportunity.

READ MORE How businesses are helping the UK prepare for emergencies

It took a little time for everyone involved to understand how each other operated, and the LRF was daunting for Bill to understand, but a strong working relationship has been forged.

As a volunteer, Bill always strives to support the LRF’s work. He has presented to the General Purposes Group (which is responsible for implementing and coordinating work delegated by the LRF), taken part in exercises, and been the gateway to the wider BITC network, such as setting up introductions to The Prince’s Responsible Business Ambassador for the North West.

It can be difficult to obtain certain resources during an emergency and to know that there is a huge pool of businesses that may be able to help, at no cost, is useful in times of need.

The offer is also consistent with the nature of emergencies, as it is not always known when support will be needed local resilience bodies can ask for assistance by calling a hotline owned and managed by SecuriGroup, which leads on the Local Resilience Support Initiative. The hotline is available 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year. The requests for support are forwarded to the BERG team to action.

So, what happens next?

The BITC Local Resilience Support initiative is a positive contribution to the vital work carried out in times of difficulty by emergency services and responders. Therefore, the Lancashire Resilience Forum will continue to develop its relationship with the BITC emergency volunteer and see how it can further strengthen links to BITC’s work in the future.

More information

If your company would like to be involved with the Local Resilience Support initiative or you are from a local resilience body and would like to find out who your regional BITC Emergency Volunteer is, contact: Hannah Tankard, Programme Manager – Response and Recovery, BERG Team.

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