Local authorities in the United Kingdom are required to ‘lead’ multi-agency humanitarian responses to major disasters. Concerns mounted in the late twentieth century that responses to people bereaved in the immediate aftermath of such events at best failed to meet their needs and at worst compounded their distress. Subsequent reviews and reforms reframed some victim needs as ‘rights’ and established legal, administrative, and practice frameworks to improve matters. Local authority ‘crisis support’, provided in partnership with other actors, lies at the heart of the UK's contemporary emergency response to the bereaved. Drawing on primary research on the development and the deployment of crisis support in a local authority, and while acknowledging both incident- and context-related difficulties, this paper considers the significance of challenges with their origins in organisational factors. Recent developments within and between responders may exacerbate them. This paper argues, therefore, that further research into such developments is necessary.
- bereavement support
- crisis and continuity
- humanitarian responses
- inter-organisational cooperation