The York Independent Flood inquiry has published its report and you can read the detailed findings here.

The inquiry includes a wide range of recommendations, including: improved communications between the Environment Agency and other organisations, a siren or loud-hailer system being installed along the Foss to warn people and improved protection for the James Street travellers’ site and a special evacuation plan for the site.

The report considered in detail the part played by volunteers and voluntary sector organisations, recognising that “the generosity and community spirit shown by volunteers was quite amazing”. The inquiry acknowledged that, “there is an important role to be played by the voluntary sector during both the emergency and recovery period”.

Ready for Anything, the emergency volunteering programme set up by York CVS in co-operation with City of York Council (CYC) and a number of other voluntary organisations, addresses many of the issues raised in the new report. Speaking about the Ready for Anything programme, the panel said, “this coordinated effort will identify any skills gaps so that if there are future challenges, York will be well supported.”

The report describes the value of Ready for Anything in the context of the threat of future floods in York:

“There is no doubt that the third sector could have worked better together, but the inquiry is pleased to hear that the sector recognises this and are united to try to create stronger partnerships between their organisations so that they can be prepared and ready to escalate their involvement if required.

It is inevitable that other emergencies will occur in the future, especially in view of climate change predictions. Therefore, the importance of having more structured arrangements for mutual aid will become increasingly significant. The inquiry has been told that a Third Sector Emergency Planning Group has been formed and these strategic ideas are being implemented in conjunction with CYC. The inquiry is optimistic that the voluntary sector can be expected to deliver a coordinated response, ensuring that identified gaps and needs are met in advance of another major incident. This can only serve to make York more resilient.”

Around 60 individuals, voluntary organisations and businesses have already signed up to Ready for Anything as volunteers. Businesses and volunteers can sign up here.