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Resilience in practice

WALKER Andrew

This paper looks at what resilience means for local authorities and offers guidance for councils in their thinking about the subject. Resilience in this context is defined as the capacity of local areas to respond to immediate crises, to build their resources and adapt to changing circumstances in the future. The paper is based on an in-depth workshop with participants from local government across England, interviews with council officers with responsibility for resilience issues, and case studies that demonstrate some of the innovative approaches that could be taken to enable resilience. The paper begins by summarising existing understandings and definitions of resilience; discusses the issues and concerns that local authorities have with resilience; then looks at some of the ways they are seeking to develop it in their areas. Case examples include a project to develop community resilience in Hounslow and Family Group Conference programme in Camden which contributes to family resilience. The second section outlines a definition and typology of resilience and then applies the typology to the example of climate change. It then proposes a checklist that authorities could follow when developing resilience strategies and interventions. The paper stresses the importance of local authorities working with communities and individuals in partnership to make places more resilient, helping communities use their assets effectively and bringing about holistic change in the way communities function.

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