Reflections from The Manchester Briefing on recovery and renewal from COVID-19

The Manchester Briefing has been at the forefront of research into recovery and renewal from COVID-19.

Over the past year, academics including David Powell, Drs Nat O’Grady, Ayham Fattoum and Professor Duncan Shaw from HCRI, and colleagues at Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS), have shared global learning, best practice and research findings to a network of over 52,000 people in the emergency planning and humanitarian sector.

Since launching in April 2020, the Manchester Briefing has been an invaluable source of information for stakeholders in local government, communities, NGOs, and those on the frontlines of disaster management. The breadth of skills and combined insight from a multidisciplinary team of academics at HCRI and AMBS have been pivotal to this.

In a recent webinar with a panel of emergency managers, Professor Duncan Shaw showcased the achievements of the Manchester Briefing over the past year, and plans for the University-wide team on COVID-19 recovery, renewal, and resilience going forward.

Achievements to date 

  • Published over 32 bi-weekly briefings.
  • Created a growing mailing list of over 52,000 people. 
  • Worked with international collaborators, sharing work from organisations such as the International Emergency Managers Society (TIEMS), The Royal College of Nursing, and the British Standards Institution (BSI) to find the best lessons from over 93 countries. 
  •  Secured close to £1m in funding to support research into the long-term recovery of local communities from the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Contributed to the creation of a new British Standards Institute (BSI) international standard (ISO 22393) on recovery and renewal for resilience. The ISO connects lessons on recovery and renewal to give guidance to communities.

Key learnings from the past year

Prof. Shaw emphasised that the impacts highlighted through the work of Essex LRF allow us to understand which areas require commissioning and support.

  1. The group has worked in close partnership with the Essex Local Resilience Forum (LRF) who found that the impacts of COVID-19 can be felt across all aspects of society in the following areas:
  • The mental health of the population
  • Educational outcomes
  • Children and young people
  • Vulnerable adults
  • Levels of mortality and excess deaths
  • The physical health of the population
  • Health and social care services
  • Volunteering, voluntary sector and civil society
  • The Essex economy
  • Public transport
  • The environment and climate change
  • Crime and community safety

Prof. Shaw emphasised that the impacts highlighted through the work of Essex LRF allow us to understand which areas require commissioning and support.

  1. COVID-19 is distinct from other crises due to the unique factors of scale, disconnect, fragilities and change. Prof Shaw outlined each in the recent webinar:

Opportunities for the future

There are unique opportunities for change and to build resilience in the recovery and renewal from COVID-19. Prof. Shaw explained what this means and what is required to implement these changes:

Looking ahead to next year

The Manchester Briefing will continue to work with stakeholders and external partners to share international lessons. It will explore the themes identified with the Essex Local Resilience Forum to see what can be done from understanding where the impacts of COVID-19 have been and what activities or commission tools are needed.

The team will analyse a number of areas of recovery, including: microbusinesses, refugees, heritage cities, tourist economies, community resilience, recovery where there has been recovery before, and frameworks.

Researchers will be working with national and international partners (below) to better understand what is being done at a local level in recovery and renewal to build resilience.

 Partners in England and Scotland:

  • Essex resilience, Avon and Somerset resilience, Greater Manchester resilience, Thames Valley resilience, Clydesdale COVID Cooperation Group.

International partners:

  • Talcahuano Municipality, Chile; City of Vancouver, Canada; Ramallah Municipality, Palestine; National Ministry, Argentina; Miami, USA.

View the full webinar or listen to the podcast to hear from the other panellists to learn more.

The full panel of speakers include:

Duncan Shaw – Professor of Operational Research and Critical Systems, Alliance Manchester Business School

Piero Pelizzaro - Chief Resilience Officer, Milan, Italy

Luis Carvalho - Civil Protection, Municipal Service, Amadora, Portugal

Katia Tynan - Manager, Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction, City of Vancouver, Canada

Chair: Harald Dragar, President of The International Emergency Managers Society (TIEMS), Norway

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