Community Adviser LogoThe third section on 'The Role Of The Community Adviser', which deals with motivation, application and the resources of manpower in a community devastated by nuclear war: 'To do what needs to be done, how best to go about it, where to do it, and with what means?'

A verbatim reproduction of the document: 'Community Advisers: Organisation And Control Of Manpower And Materials' is reproduced below. It was issued in January 1984 by Eden District Council, in East Cumbria.



1. In the aftermath of a nuclear attack on this country, it is unlikely that the County's carefully prepared war emergency plans - or the more complex national wartime arrangements - will be implemented immediately for a variety of reasons. Clearly, therefore, survivors in rural and, to a lesser extent, urban communities will have to be self sufficient for an indefinite period.

2. If communities are to achieve the comparatively comfortable state of self sufficiency, they must plan now to make the optimum use of all available resources or the means of supplying what is most needed. In order to do this, they must first identify those areas of greatest need and the likely resources to meet these needs; decide who, what, how, where and when to obtain them, examine the requirement for training where applicable; and, finally, determine how best to bring together community manpower, equipment, and supplies to produce the most effective emergency organisation.


3. The areas of greatest community need are self evident, and fall generally into the following broad categories:-

a. Water and Food. The storing, conservation and distribution of water, commercially available food, and farm produce.

b. Shelter. The provision and repair of both permanent and temporary accommodation.

c. Medical Care. The control and use of personnel, equipment, and supplies to provide medical care.

d. Transport and Fuel. The interdependent necessities - even in their most basic forms - which will facilitate the performance of most tasks in almost all areas of need.

e. Law and Order. To restore, as far as practicable, some semblance of normality, by maintaining established codes of social conduct, or by formulating new ones, based on common sense and in light of prevailing circumstances.

4. We have already discussed, in detail, each of these major areas of need; and our primary concern now is to suggest certain parameters which might be used at community level to obtain, match, and control essential manpower and equipment.



5. In recruiting and planning the use of manpower, the community should aim to provide some form of cover, if not expertise, in all areas of need.


6. This aim may not prove too difficult to achieve in some of the larger communities; but in most of the smaller parishes, wards, and more isolated rural communities, it will be virtually impossible. In such cases, a great deal of thought and ingenuity will be required; and even the most elementary knowledge and basic skills exploited to their fullest. For example, in the absence of qualified medical personnel, first aid training might well become a priority in community preparations. However, we already know that the kind of medical care necessary in a post strike environment relies mainly on commonsense, understanding, compassion, and perhaps a judicious use of simple "household" and herbal remedies; and most of the ladies of any community are eminently suitable to provide this kind of care.


7. As soon as the areas of need have been identified, active recruiting should begin. It should be comparatively easy to compile a roll of all able bodied members of the community with details of their trade or progession, and their hobbies, many of which might be particularly relevant. Once this is done, it might be prudent to call for volunteers to serve their communities in the event of war. The response will vary greatly, depending on the size of the community, individual scepticism, political, moral, or religious persuasions etc., but experience has confirmed that, in any community, there are always a few public spirited members.

8. At this point, the Community Adviser should be invited to brief the cadre of volunteers on community problems and needs, in the hope that they will recognise the vital importance of the task ahead and encourage others to come forward. As a last resort, and in the immediate pre-strike period, emergency legislation will enable District Controllers to "conscript" able bodied men and women, and to direct labour.

9. However, one willing volunteer is worth several pressed men, and friendly persuasion will bring much benefit in the long term. Even if the number of volunteers is small, the process of selection must recognise the technical skills, strength and adaptability of the young; and the experience and reliability of older members of the community. In the first instance, "the round peg must be fitted into the round hole", but there will always be a need to "whittle a square peg to fit a round hole" by training etc. Finally, remember that those with any flair for organisation, and even a limited amount of specialist knowledge, can often control successfully raw or untrained manpower in carrying out essential community tasks.


10. Definition of the various tasks in each of the major areas of need is unlikely to be difficult; and might best be done by a committee of elders of the community or, where appropriate, by an active Parish or Ward Council. Such a committee should include the Community Adviser(s); and its most important function would be the establishment of priorities. The magnitude and scope of each task will dictate the skills and manpower required: but must also take account of the need for supporting transport, including special plant, tools and materials.


11. Community training programmes should be designed to make the most of available manpower: and is likely to be the primary means of filling the many gaps in community expertise. The programme must be tailored to meet both the needs of the individual - bearing in mind his present abilities - and, more importantly, those of the community. As such, the keynotes should be simplicity, flexibility and continuity.

12. Particular emphasis should be placed on re-learning perhaps long forgotten basic skills and the use of '"natural" resources. In most rural communities, there will be a wealth of experience to draw on; and urban communities may have to establish links with rural neighbours to benefit from their "know how". Our very survival may depend on learning now how we can live without the sophisticated services provided for us by modern technology.



13. The initial aim must be to locate and record details of all equipment and supplies which might conceivably be of any use to the community; and, ultimately, to plan to make the most effective use of these resources during the survival and recovery phases.


14. The task of locating by category and recording details of quantity, ownership etc., must be carried out methodically and with a completely open mind. Everyone is familiar with the "treasures" frequently found in attics, store cupboards etc; and a community treasure hunt now might prove surprisingly rewarding if we are suddenly thrust into a survival environment.

15. Annex A suggests a simple format for use in recording methodically the equipment and supplies which might be available to the community in a post attack situation. This list is not exhaustive, and is intended as a guide only.



16. Home Office guidance on the "Community Organisation in War" was issued in Circular ES.2/1976, and recommended that the "structure of any such organisation should be readily understood, likely to be acceptable to the community, and preferably based on peacetime counterparts". The Circular argued that artificially created wartime headquarters below district, manned by a large number of people on a voluntary basis, were to be avoided; and stressed that unless a community "recognises that there are situations in which its peacetime existence could be threatened, it is unlikely to respond to the efforts of those who wish to improve its capability to cope with the consequences of war".


17. The foregoing extracts from the Home Office guidance seems very apposite in the likely post strike circumstances in Cumbria.

If we assume, also, that our communities must be self sufficient in the immediate post strike phase, but that we must always be conscious of the need for re-absorption in the District and County Organisation in the recovery phase, we can derive two basic functions for a Community Organisation. Firstly, it must help the community to organise itself to enhance its chances of survival. Secondly, it must provide the link between the members of its community and higher authority, principally District and County.

18. The first function is directly concerned with the co-ordination and control of manpower and material (equipment/supplies) resources; and, in the context of this paper, the second function reminds us that these resources must never become the exclusive property of the community - for many good reasons which we have already discussed.

19. However, how and when we establish such an organisation is a matter for debate and, in keeping with the requirment that it must be acceptable to the community, account must be taken of the views of those concerned - the community. In general terms, there seem to be three options for consideration:-

a. Build on existing Parish and Ward Organisations,

b. Identify suitable individuals in the community and establish a new wartime organisation now.

c. Agree outline contingency plans now for a community organisation in war, but assume that "natural leaders" will emerge to form the wartime organisation post strike.

20. There are pros and cons for each of these three options, and these have been discussed in considerable detail during the informal session. The outcome of these discussions will undoubtedly guide Community Advisers in making recommendations to their own communities. However, whatever the decision, there are three requirements which are common to any of these options. Firstly, the Community Control Organisation must be small because manpower will be at a premium. Secondly, it must be a simple structure dedicated to meeting its two primary functions. Thirdly, it must provide "the single point of reference" for all information, advice, and control within the community; and as such must be located in an easily identifiable building.


21. Annex B shows a suggested organisation and chain of control chart based on the County's Community Organisation below District. A number of Desks, established at District War HQ, control two (or more) groups of Parishes/Wards/Communities, depending on the population and geographic location of the Parishes/Wards. Each natural community within a Parish or Ward will be linked to District War HQ through the Group Control which will be able to make use of the Wartime Telephone Preference Scheme.

22. It is suggested that both the Group Control and the Community Committee Organisation can be similar in size and structure; and might consist of a Chairman, Community Adviser(s), and a strictly limited number of professional/skilled members. It is recommended that these should be appointed solely on the grounds of need in light of the circumstances envisaged in that particular community immediately pre and post strike.

23. The remainder of the community can be organised into a number of teams, and allocated specific tasks where their individual and corporate skills can be best employed. Their brief should include full details of the resources which they might be able to call upon, but the actual allocation of these resources should be strictly controlled by the Organising Committee.


24. A number of suitable multi-purpose community centres have been established throughout the County for use during war or major peacetime emergencies. These centres will greatly facilitate the control and co-ordinating responsibilities of the Community Wartime Committee and the implementation of conmunity plans by the various teams or "task forces" in dealing with the areas of greatest need. Details of the Community Centres in your area will be given to you during the final session of the course.


25. Essentially, the most effective organisation and control of manpower and materials can only be achieved if their availability is methodically recorded now, and these records updated periodically. This "data bank" can then be used by a small Community Control Organisation to plan the provision of cover for all areas of need; to initiate suitable training programmes to make good, as far as possible, any shortfall in expertise; and to ensure that materials and manpower are eventually brought together in developing self-help schemes to deal with community problems in war.

The annex 'A' to which the text above refers is given below, but not in its original tabular form. I have listed the supplies / equipment which was specified, but have not shown the other three columns of the table, which identify the source, the quantity available, and the contact name.


Drinking, Other Purposes, Purification Tablets.


Meat, Eggs, Cereals (flour, etc...), Fruit, Vegetables, Sugar, Salt, Beverages, Milk, Cheese, Butter.


Cookers (gas, electric, solid-fuel type, oil, wood), Utensils, Crockery, Candles, Matches, Plastic Bags.


Bricks, Stone, Cement, Sand, Lime, Tiles, Slates, Paving, Tar products, Wood, Scaffolding, Fastenings, Prefabricated sections, Pipework, Wiring, Electrical supplies, Batteries (lead-acid, dry), Torches, Light-bulbs, Glass.


Medicines, Antiseptic, Stretchers, Bandages, Splints, First-aid kits, Disinfectant, Quicklime, Plastic bags (large and small).


Solid fuel, Petroleum, Diesel, Heating oil, Bottled gas, Burning-wood, Welding gases.


Freight, Tractors, Trailers, Passenger, Motor-cycles, Cycles, Horse-drawn.


As required, Animal Medication.


Telephones, Radios, Transmitters, Transmitter/Receivers, Carrier pigeons.


Light industrial plant, Farm machinery, Earth-moving equipment, Portable generators, Compressors.


Quicklime, Disinfectant, Plastic bags (large and small), Buckets, Elsan, Other sanitary ware ('Racasan', etc...), Creosote.


Engineers, Welding equipment, Carpenters, Blacksmiths, Farm and garden, Picks, Block and tackle, Acrojack and other lifting equipment.


Blankets, Pillows, Mattresses.


Woolens, Waterproofs, Footwear, Protective clothing, Plastic 'macs, Rubber gloves, Wellington boots, Hosiery.


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