A group of 25 charities of various sizes, umbrella bodies, regulators and fundraising platforms have come together as part of a roundtable hosted by the Charity Commission to discuss their emergency response plans with regards to domestic disasters, including large-scale crises, terror attacks and natural disasters in the UK.
The working group was created after a series of events in the UK last year, including the attacks in Manchester, London Bridge, Westminster and Finsbury Park, and the Grenfell Tower fire. Such events attracted a huge amount of public support, with charities playing a pivotal role in providing services and support to the victims involved.
The meeting involved agreeing to the principle of creating a collective framework so that future sector responses to critical incidents can be coordinated and enabled. It was also agreed that a working group be set up to develop this framework and operating principles behind disaster responses from charities in the future.
This group will be working closely with charities, as well as national and local government so that a swift, impactful and efficient response is ensured should disasters take place in the future.
Deputy chief executive of the Charity Commission David Holdsworth observed that technological advancements combined with the generosity of members of the public mean that now is the perfect time for charities to see how they can collaborate so as to best maximise the support for people in the UK in times of need.
He went on to add: “Charities by their very nature help people in times of need and the tragic disasters that we’ve seen in the UK over the past year have highlighted the great work charities do to support victims and channel the public’s compassion and generosity. Charities’ experience and expertise, as well as their ties to local communities, often make them best-placed to respond in these situations.”
The charities that attended the event included the British Red Cross, City Bridge Trust, Clement James, Crisis, GoFundMe, Just Giving, the London Community Foundation, Mind, Muslim Aid, London Emergencies Trust, and the National Association for Voluntary Community Action, among others.
It might prove useful for charities to visit the official government website in the meantime to read guidance on emergency preparedness, response and recovery – which could benefit all staff of responder agencies. It can be used for both training purposes before emergencies take place, as well as for reference during emergencies themselves.
Chapter three of the guidance would be a good place to start, since it outlines the roles and responsibilities of the principle agencies and sectors that will most likely find themselves involved in the response and recovery from emergencies at a local level.
It provides information on police, fire and rescue services, health bodies, local councils, the coroner, government agencies, the Armed Forces, the private and voluntary sectors, and the community. The guidance also includes other links that may prove useful if you’re looking for further reading on this topic.