After the emergency services have left the scene of a major incident the local authority will take on the lead role in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the community. The transition is likely to be formalised through the multi-agency strategic co-ordination group, often known as ‘gold’, and may occur within hours, days, or even weeks, of the incident.
There will come a time when the immediate response is at an end and the police will hand over the chair of the strategic coordination group to the local authority. This point marks the start of a new phase of the incident, although preparation for the recovery phase should begin much earlier. This period is unpredictable; can be labour intensive; and may stretch local authorities to extraordinary levels.
Consideration of recovery should be part of day to day emergency management. The aim is to reach a point where additional demands on services have been reduced to the level at which they were before the incident occurred, often described as ‘a return to normality’. However the incident, and its effects, are likely to create a new ‘normality’, raising serious issues for the local authority.
This booklet addresses the main challenges confronting a local authority and identifies five key aspects of recovery.