We are pleased to commend the VICSES Community Resilience Strategy to all volunteers and staff. The Strategy was officially launched by The Hon James Merlino MP, Minister for Emergency Services, on Thursday 29 July 2016 in Warrnambool.

This strategy was developed by the Community Resilience and Communications Team in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. Our People contributed through workshops, volunteer forums and project groups. All contributions are greatly appreciated. Key work following the consultation draft phase has included:

  • Consultant review of all feedback received and changes made where practical, including a shifted timeline of the Strategy to 2016-2019; and reshaped Strategic Objectives, Goals and Outcomes.
  • HLB Mann Judd has undertaken an internal audit review of the draft Strategy to assess and evaluate the adequacy and comprehensiveness of the strategy, its management processes and controls, and to assist VICSES in the development of a way forward to not only assist in further strengthening the strategy, but also to provide some guidance in its implementation. 
  • University of Melbourne's Centre for Evidence and Implementation (CEI) has now been engaged on the design of an evaluation framework and selection of all input, output and outcome measurements for our KPIs.
  • Year 1 activities are in Unit Business Plans 2016/17.

This research and consultation process has shaped the Strategy which you can download here:

We welcome your feedback and input to assist us in the implementation and delivery of the strategy. You can contact us at  or through your local VICSES regional office.

What is community resilience? Why is it important?

Community Resilience and education has always been part of the work of VICSES and has been a primary value that drives our volunteers and staff. Community engagement is becoming increasingly important as a major tool for our agency and the community to use to raise awareness and to help prepare our communities for emergencies – before, during and after.

Community resilience is a measure of a community’s strength and sustainability. A resilient community has strong infrastructure and institutions, as well as strong links between people and services. A resilient community is better equipped to cope with disasters and recover more quickly. This is because resilient communities are more self-sufficient and able to manage their own fate. For example, a resilient community is more likely to identify the need for a flood plan and work with agencies to create it. Floods, storms, earthquakes and tsunamis can be devastating events that inflict significant cost.

Resilient communities are better equipped to cope than those who rely solely on emergency responders to save them. For example, a homeowner who trims tree branches on their property will not need to call on VICSES for assistance when that branch otherwise falls on their home; a person whose fire plan has them leave early may lose their home, but not their life.

VICSES Community Resilience Strategy 2016-2019

The purpose of this strategy is to provide guidance to Our People on how we can work together to build safer and more resilient communities. Together, we can do this by building capacity, increasing collaboration and fostering connections.

Community Resilience and education has always been part of the work of VICSES and has been a primary value that drives our volunteers and staff. Community engagement is becoming increasingly important as a major tool for both our agency and the community to use to raise awareness and to help prepare our communities for emergencies.

The Community Resilience Strategy 2016-2019 provides guidance and outlines how we will work in this space for safer communities – together. It provides a three-year road map for the:

  • Future design and development, and delivery and evaluation of our programs and resources.
  • It makes us accountable to deliver on our strategic outcomes by better understanding community attitudes, key drivers and barriers. 
  • How we will join - connecting with communities before, during and after emergency events.
  • How we will develop positive partnerships and how we will provide timely, effective reporting to Government.

It will align what we do to where our communities are on their preparedness journey, being respectful of the pace of community on their preparedness journey and how VICSES goes about our business.

The Strategy enables Our People to support communities to better understand who, what, when and how for emergency events under our three pillars of Capacity, Collaboration and Connections.

  • Building competency in knowing what to do in the future - Believe they know how to do it. 
  • Increasing their individual capacity and capability to respond - Believe they can do it.
  • Increasing awareness of their role, and role of VICSES and others in the community - Believe everyone has a role to play. 
  • Realising the positive outcomes and relevance of preparing for future emergencies - Believe it will make a difference.

The Strategy will mean we do some things differently from what we have delivered to the community in the past. We will invest to build skills, competencies, supports and structures to meet our current and future needs.

Resilience models

VICSES has developed a series of resilience models that are integral part of the Community Resilience Strategy 2016-2019. Under our three pillars of Capacity, Collaboration and Connections the models provide the framework to test our underlying assumptions in better understanding community attitudes, associated barriers and drivers across a range of preparedness behaviours.

The models also provide guidance in the future design and development of our programs and resources and by which VICSES will invest effort in the delivery and evaluation of these services to the community; supporting a shift in current preparedness behaviour and practices to community supported actions.

Check out the quick reference guide that provides an overview to the design build of the VICSES resilience models here:

How we will measure

VICSES has engaged operational partners, external stakeholders and academia to explore how to best define and develop key indicators and markers that measure our achievement against our strategic objectives, report on our KPIs and to help identify and embed best practice.

These partnerships will help us to measure our success with scientific rigour. They will help us answer crucial organisational questions such as:

  • ‘Where are we now?’
  • ‘Where do we want to be?’, and 
  • ‘How can we progress in the most efficient way?’

This will provide us data on not only our community reach, network strength and connectivity but also on the capacity of communities – their attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviours. These indicators, and the theory of change we are currently developing will be embedded and reviewed throughout the life of this strategy and we will develop further specific measures for each component as required. Watch this space for further resources – coming soon!