The Consumer Futures Unit launches a new report today setting out a clear framework to support effective community engagement activities during the delivery of measures to help mitigate flooding.
Riding the Waves: Keeping the community on board is based on independent consumer research into the experience of local community resilience groups, Scottish Water and Scottish local authorities. The report looks at good practice in community engagement based on a series of consumer engagement principles.
Although public bodies are working harder to engage with communities, the process of engagement can be fraught with difficulties. Before, during and after a flooding event, emotions can run high as community members seek to engage with available help and support, and recover from what can be a devastating experience. Poor engagement between public bodies and a community can frustrate efforts to address the issues at hand and there are often gaps in understanding around what each entity requires of the other, which hampers effective engagement.
Evidence gathered during the research has helped us to formulate a number of steps that support effective and beneficial partnership working. Those can help meet the needs of both communities at risk of flooding and public bodies, helping to build more resilient communities.