Actions to take


1. Review the recommended general actions


2. Find out more about different forms of collaborative working, its principles and processes you can follow. Figure 1 illustrates the ‘participation pathway':

(1)    Find out what information is needed and identify the extent of participation required – identify your target groups as part of this process

(2)    Develop your strategy for outreach, including a set of proposed activities

(3)    Identify what resources are required to support the proposed activities and carry out a feasibility check.

(4)    Produce a detailed plan of actions, timescales, milestones and deliverables.

(5)    Prepare your final communication strategy for achieving your objectives.

Figure 1: The participation pathway


See the Further Resources in Section 5 (above) for guidance on working in partnership, for example from the Department for Communities and Local Government - Resilience and Emergencies Division (DCLG-RED), from Skills for Health for the health and social care sector and from the NCVO’s Volunteering for Stronger Communities project.


3. Identify existing partnerships and networks in your area, identify their scope and any overlapping groups or lead participants. Review what is in place and if you need to develop new networks and partnerships, start with your immediate colleagues and internal networks before engaging outside of your organisation. Partnerships need to be set up so that they meet local needs in the best way. They can be strategic or project specific. They can build on existing arrangements (such as sustainability forums, local resilience forums, or coastal partnerships) and can cover a range of activities before, during and after an event, such as sharing information, ways of working, communications, incident response, developing strategy, and designing new works.

  • See the Further Resources in Section 5 (above) for a range of available resources and contacts to help.


4. Find out about local plans. Your local council has an emergency plan covering major incidents like flooding, flu pandemics and transport accidents . The Environment Agency has produced tools to help Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) consider the impacts of climate change on sources of local flood risk. This will help LLFAs to develop their local flood risk management strategies in England. As a LLFA, your local flood risk management strategy must:

  • assess the local flood risk
  • set out objectives for managing local flooding
  • list the costs and benefits of measures proposed to meet these objectives, and how the measures will be paid for 

• See the Further Resources in Section 5 (above) for a range of available resources and contacts to help.



5. Identify opportunities to connect professional networks of organisations working with vulnerable groups with those working on issues of climate change and extreme weather events. These connections may be effectively made through regional coordinating bodies and the regional branches of national organisations and agencies, such as those run by the voluntary and community sector, such as through NCVO or via local resilience fora.

  • See the Further Resources in Section 5 (above) for a range of available resources and contacts to help.


6. Consider entering research partnerships with institutions and local universities.

  • See the Further Resources in Section 5 (above) for case studies about different types of research partnerships, and what they can do to support your work.


7. Look for communities where there is a risk of floods or heatwaves but where the community may not be fully aware of it or does not perceive itself to be at risk. Without the initial knowledge, even a community with strong social ties and the ability to share information will not be able to build resilience1. Therefore awareness raising is an important first step, though it should also be linked with actions that give communities information on and agency to respond.


8. Identify community ‘champions’ or lead residents who can help to engage other residents who may otherwise be reluctant to get involved (e.g. in retrofitting their properties with flood resilience measures).

  • See the Further Resources in Section 5 (above) for links to examples and sources of further information. The Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities project has recruited and trained community champions who, amongst other work, will be helping to raise flood awareness within their community as well as providing peer support on energy efficiency measures, which can help to ease the burden of rising fuel prices. Self-help materials are also available to support volunteer managers.


9. Recognise that potentially vulnerable groups, such as older people and tenants, may not be well integrated into local support networks and often do not receive assistance from neighbours during and after extreme weather events, such as floods2.  Fostering social and institutional networks, and connecting the most vulnerable groups into them, may lead to better neighbourhood support mechanisms. 

  • See the Further Resources in Section 5 (above) for links to examples and sources of further information. For example Gloucester Village Agents initiative which specifically works with older people in order to promote healthy and independent living3.


10. Consider how community networks can specifically assist more vulnerable members of the community. For example during flood events, identify those who are more able can help to fit temporary flood resilience and resistance measures for those who are less able4.

  • See the Further Resources in Section 5 (above) for a case study about the Snow Angels network, which demonstrates how one neighbourhood in Cheshire uses these ideas to cope with extremely cold weather.


11. Consider that when householders are displaced because of flooding it can lead to an erosion of existing social networks and feelings of increased social isolation5. As well as negatively affecting individuals and making the recovery of affected communities longer and more difficult, this also puts stresses on the networks necessary to deliver on shared recovery plans.


12. Recognise that once people are brought together participants in a group could have different values, expectations and aims, or there may be a lack of clarity over roles or responsibilities. A Memorandum of Understanding, Terms of Reference or similar document, can help to clarify roles and responsibilities and to identify a point of contact. This may also be used to develop a shared understanding of key terms or points of reference, such as expected outputs and guiding frameworks. This is important because poor communication and split responsibilities can lead to ambiguity over what actions should be taken and who should take them, particularly in terms of climate change. This can lead to apathy within local communities and can be particularly prevalent in flooding where different agencies have different responsibilities6.

  • See the Further Resources section for examples of existing agreements between organisations. For example Gwent Local Resilience Group has developed a Memorandum of Understanding to meet the requirements of the Civil Contingencies Act (2004) for working with voluntary groups during flood events.
  • See the Further Resources section for a link to the National Flood Emergency Framework for England (which contains links for equivalent guidance for organisations in the devolved administrations). The framework provides guidance for planning, building, maintaining and reviewing partnerships for flood emergency response in order to “protect human life and alleviate suffering; and, as far as possible, property and the environment” as given in the Cabinet Office’s Concept of Operations. The guidance stresses the need for effective communication and the identification of roles and responsibilities, specifically in relation to preparing and responding to flood emergencies.


13. Help professionals to move away from seeing adaptation as a problem that should be fixed to being an ongoing process and think about how the abilities within a given community can be better harnessed to increase resilience, as has been noted as important for responses to other issues7. This may require additional investments to build staff skills to work in new – and informal – ways.

  • Review the case studies in the Further Resources in Section 5 (above). This section also contains a list of tools and other resources which you may find helpful, including a case study explaining the process of building a community group and the work of the Transition Town network aiming to build community resilience and reduce carbon emissions.




  1. Wolf, J.,  Lorenzoni, I.,  Few, R.,  Abrahamson, V., Raine, R. 2009. Conceptual and practical barriers to adaptation: vulnerability and responses to heat waves in the UK. In W.N. Adger, I. Lorenzoni, K.L. O’Brien (Eds.), Adapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 181–196
  2. Parker, D.J., Tunstall, S.M., McCarthy, S., 2007. New insights into the benefits of flood warnings: Results from a household survey in England and Wales. Environmental Hazards 7, 193–210.
  3. White, I., O’Hare, P., Lawson, N., Garvin., S and Connelly, A. 2013. Six Steps to Flood Resilience: Guidance for Property Owners. University of Manchester, Manchester.
  4. Whittle, R. et al. 2010. After the Rain – learning the lessons from flood recovery in Hull, final project report for “Flood, Vulnerability and Urban Resilience: a real-time study of local recovery following the floods of June 2007 in Hull”, Lancaster University, Lancaster UK
  5. Bovaird, T. 2007. Beyond engagement and participation: User and community coproduction of public services. Public Administration Review, 67(5), 846-860.
  6. Zsamboky, M., Fernández-Bilbao, A., Smith, D., Knight, J., & Allan, J. (2011). Impacts of climate change on disadvantaged UK coastal communities. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
  7. David Boyle, Sherry Clark and Sarah Burns. 2006. Co-production by people outside paid employment. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.