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Council Responses to Natural Disasters

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Council Responses to Natural Disasters

by the LGP Disaster Resilience and Social Procurement Goal Team

Recent severe weather and flooding events across NSW have once again forced councils to think about their planning, preparedness, and response to natural disasters.

How prepared is your council to continue operations and deliver essential services to your community through natural disasters and other major disruptions?

Valuable insights and lessons learnt have been offered through the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS AND SERVICE CONTINUITY ARRANGEMENTS FOR NATURAL DISASTERS AUDIT REPORT released by the Audit Office of New South Wales in February 2022. Councils selected for the audit were Bega Valley Shire Council and Snowy Valley Council which were both heavily impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires and other weather events such as storms and floods between December 2018 to December 2020.

Councils were assessed on whether they had:
• documented approaches for identifying, mitigating, and responding to disaster related risks to business and service continuity;
• effective implemented strategies to prepare for identified disaster related impacts; and
• effective responses during selected disasters in managing business and service continuity.

The Audit Report made a number of recommendations that are applicable to all NSW Councils, including:
• Continually updating business continuity plans by applying lessons learnt from the experiences of recent natural disasters and other disruptions
• Providing regular business continuity scenario training to all staff, including during inductions, and implementing a plan to monitor the completion of the training
• Ensuring councils monitor risks, controls, and actions for natural disaster impacts
• Maintaining record keeping during natural disaster events to inform post incident reviews, and to provide an audit trail of key decisions to inform future reviews of the business continuity framework.

Sharing experiences, resources and connecting
Given the future threat of natural disasters is likely to remain, councils are encouraged to connect and share experiences through the LGP Forum for Local Government. Remember to
click on the Disaster Resilience and Emergency Management Tab.

LGP is committed to supporting councils and the challenges they face during the disaster recovery process. LGP1208-4 Professional Consulting Services has a new category of Risk
and Safety Services with consultants who can assist you with implementing the recommendations of the Audit Report.

Contact your Business Development Manager to discuss.

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