Raindrops in a puddle

CREW from their stakeholders' perspective

November 2011

A collated response from a wide range of stakeholders at the final project National Assembly.

Summarised from the final General Assembly, November 2011

The CREW project involved a large array of differing stakeholder groups and interested parties. One effective means by which to reach these persons and to elicit and capture their views was through the programme of ‘General Assemblies’, of which CREW held three.

The last and final General Assembly was held on 25 November, 2011 in the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors building near Parliament Square in London. At the event, delegates were invited to respond to a series of key themed questions. These responses were collated together with a multiple coding methodology employed in MS Excel for every statement received in order to reveal the common points arising. This section reports on the findings of this analysis, thereby representing a summary stakeholder viewpoint of the issues addressed in CREW.

Key messages from CREW

Participants left the Assembly with several key messages from CREW. The capacity for modelling the socio-economic impacts of flood risk surprised a few and the potential for such a decision-making aid was keenly appreciated. The value of the CREW risk definition tools was remarked upon with equal enthusiasm. The multiple perspectives of adaptation were seen through the multiple disciplines of CREW, which in of itself conveyed the necessity of such an approach. Socially and organisationally, the multiple scales, interconnectedness and layered nature of community resilience were recognised.

How to use the CREW messages in practice

In feeding back how they could envisage using the messages from CREW, attendees reported significant synergies with existing work streams, on mitigation and socio-economic justice issues. Many felt that they could feed through CREW findings to the relevant parts of their organisation and that this would help them inform their respective senior management and in building the case for adaptation generally.

CREW findings and tools helped officials in understanding the nature, spatiality and movement of the risk, by targeting work towards exposed and vulnerable areas and communities.

Further needs to make outputs more relevant to users and informing emerging user requirements

Delegates frequently remarked that access to data and tools would most readily make the CREW research more useful to their organisation. Several highlighted that CREW should interface with the Climate Change Risk Assessment, the National Adaptation Plan and the health sector generally. CREW researchers were involved with the CCRA production process.

Demonstrable impact of results was an emerging demand from stakeholders who were keen to see utility. Though at an early stage, the participatory method of engagement, especially with local decision-makers is tangible amongst concerned stakeholders in Lewisham and Croydon.

Nationally-applicable decision-making aids and community resilience tools were also mentioned. The Building Retrofit Toolkit from Programme Package 1 as well as the Risk assessment framework and forthcoming post-LCLIP tool emerging from the Community Coping work in Programme Package 2 speak to this requirement.

One of the limits to progress on adaptation brought up by this question was the limited, narrow interest shared amongst the stakeholders the CREW project sought to address. The CREW research highlighted that this limiting factor may be subverted by open dialogue, which emphasises reception as well as communication of risk, impact and options.

There were emerging questions about the potential to engage the public using a ‘quality of life’ argument, and the potential for the uninsured to be stigmatised. Attendees were also interested in the implications of community ecology and the non-idealised adaptive citizen. These demonstrate how adaptation and resilience are set to transform in the coming years as policy discourse and institutional arrangements unfold.

Opportunities and requirements for your sector for the use of CREW outputs

With the mitigation-led climate change activity now well established, significant potential was seen to incorporate CREW outputs within established and in-pipeline programmes, such as the ‘Green Deal’.

Adaptation-proofing mitigation programmes were identified as a key first step in developing integrative approaches for addressing the climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

As envisaged, mapping of hazards was seen as particularly persuasive decision-making tool. Believable and easily understandable communication of the issues to non-experts was also mentioned.

Who to involve in effectively implementing results?

There was broad agreement that community-based organisations were crucial for success in community resilience. Built environment actors, from construction through to operation and maintenance were highlighted as was central government.

Further action for dissemination

As highlighted, in linking to existing spaces, a framework to access data and tools were marked as further action points. Channels explicitly mentioned included: the Green Deal, the building standards debate (PP1), retrofit programmes, the CLG-EA built environment study, local stakeholder forums, the TCPA think-tank, and the Training Climate Change Skills Fund.

It is worth noting finally that in addition to standalone data and institutional engagement, some delegates perceived a need for a ‘human network’, with a readily accessed online and physical presence allowing engagement with interested parties and present to senior management.