Neighbourhood Watch Involvement in Community Emergency or Flood Response

Describe your best practice
There is a clear expectation that members of every community will be involved in putting together a Community Emergency/Flood Plan, given the lack of resources available from our Emergency and Statutory Services.

Every such plan requires volunteers to do a variety of different things to help and assist each other in the early stages of an emergency/flood, during the course of and the recovery period as well.

This project focused on the need to ensure that all such volunteers were covered by Public Liability Insurance, PLI, which is provided by National Neighbourhood Network beyond what was initially available.

What did you do and why?
The development of Emergency/Flood plans identified and created a number of varying tasks that volunteers would be expected to perform in the event of the initiation of such a plan.

These tasks included warning and informing, helping to erect flood defences, assisting with moving furniture in the early stages to clearing houses and setting up road closures in some cases. (Road closures subject of authorisation and training by Highways Authority)

It was clear that PLI was already available to NW Schemes but only for trivial issues such as putting signs on lamp posts. This project worked with the people associated with the Insurance Company and persuaded them to provide a comprehensive PLI cover than had been available before.

There was also a need to include Employer/Employee cover as well given that volunteers would be tasked to carry out their work.

Duration of the project
The project began following the devastation of Storm Desmond in 2015 and continues to date.

What worked well?
The initial work involved putting the Community Emergency/Flood Plan together in a way that was comprehensive in detail and identified a range of tasks that were likely to be faced by volunteers.

Having identified the tasks, a risk assessment was required and once this had been completed the next stage was to create a training plan so that each and every volunteer knew exactly what they were required to do and how such a task should be performed.

Given the nature of these tasks and the fact that they were being performed by volunteers, it became clear that we needed to look at provision for PLI to recruit, support and reassure volunteers that their work and the risks associated with it were addressed without any financial cost to themselves or the communities involved in the planning process.

How did you overcome any challenges?
The initial challenges involved the planning process, however, the Environment Agency developed a guide that was easy to follow and from that point it was basically a case of looking to create a plan that was comprehensive in detail and catered for as many situations that anyone could think of.

It was also necessary to introduce an assessment process which included a variety of informed individuals representing organisations involved in Emergency Planning etc which was named as the Resilience Network Group. It was also necessary and important to ensure that the Community Emergency/Flood Group and volunteers were registered as members of Neighbourhood Watch, a fundamental and vitally important element to enable PLI cover is secured.

How did you cover any costs?
The cost for PLI for a Community Emergency/Flood Plan is in the region of £550, which is based on cover that one community paid out based on the details provided earlier in this submission. Using the detail provided to the Insurance Company and additional information, we approached the Insurance Company used by National Neighbourhood Network and worked with them until we reached a point where they provided excellent comprehensive PLI cover.

Which main category does this fall into?

Force/ Borough area

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