Manchester Briefing #24 – Cities for a Resilient Recovery: International Lessons on Recovery from COVID-19

Written by Resilient Cities Network
Tuesday, 26 January 2021


Bi-weekly Manchester Briefing #24 – 28 January 2021

This week, we consider how safe elections campaigns, supporting young people in accessing employment, and preventing vaccination fraud can play a key role in response and recovery from COVID-19.

International Lessons

  • Running safe election campaigns during the pandemic (South Korea, USA)
  • Prioritising and promoting humanity and dignity through food programmes (Turkey, Philippines, UK)
  • Setting up a vaccination programme (New Zealand, Germany)
  • How other organisations can help school children with learning resources (Papua New Guinea)
  • Supporting young people in accessing employment opportunities (Nepal, APAC, UK)
  • Auditing programmes for safe reopening of hospitality sector (Monaco, Switzerland, APAC)
  • Deploying COVID Marshals in public spaces and parks (USA)
  • Public messaging to prevent vaccination fraud (Taiwan, France, USA)

Useful Webinars


Health and Wellbeing: Everyone living and working in the city has access to what they need to survive and thrive

Consider how to initiate a COVID-19 vaccine programme. Vaccine programmes will need to source sufficient vaccines, notify recipients of their eligibility, and arrange processes to administer the vaccine. Vaccine wastage, recipient confusion over invitations, and inefficient processes will risk undermining the programme’s efficacy. To build early confidence in vaccine programmes:

  • Agree the current aim for the vaccine programme, for example to reduce immediate risk to life
  • Identify the priority groups to vaccinate to achieve the current aim
  • Identify individual citizens who belong to those priority groups 
  • Disseminate public information on current priority groups to manage expectations 
  • Explain to agencies that lobby for their staff to be given higher priority why they are currently prioritised as set out in the priority groups – and explain how this achieves the current aim
  • Establish a national register of healthcare staff who are qualified to administer the vaccine – including volunteers and other staff who have been recently trained and approved
  • Identify suitable facilities that can act as vaccine centre, such as doctor surgeries, schools, public buildings, mass vaccine centres 
  • Identify the demand for vaccine at each vaccine centre (based on estimated throughput) and ensure that sufficient supply is available when it is needed
  • Identify how the vaccine will be transported to centres and stored appropriately 
  • Maintain close communication with each vaccine centre to share information, for example, on:

– Stock levels, delivery schedules, and projected demand
– Which patients have received the vaccine
– Which patients have been refused the vaccine and for what reason

  • Track the performance of vaccine centres to analyse programme risks and capacities, for example, implement an inventory management system to reduce vaccine waste such as by tracking expiry dates 
  • Consider future aims for later in the vaccine programme and the timing of vaccinating different priority groups to achieve those aims e.g. to re-open non-essential business
  • Seek process-related advice from countries that have already established vaccine centres e.g. Germany


Consider how to prioritise and promote humanity, dignity and respect through food programmes.  COVID-19 has created new uncertainties that challenge the provision of critical support services to vulnerable families and children. Food programmes need to ensure that vulnerable children receive nutritious food, both inside and outside of school.  They also need to facilitate access to other support services, and be delivered in ways that maintain the dignity and respect of recipients, their families, and communities.  Consider the need to:

  • Integrate access to sufficient, nutritious food as part of an overarching plan to combat COVID-19, promote healthy societies, and mitigate long-term health issues
  • Establish an assurance programme with service level agreements to increase confidence in emergency food provision, create feedback systems, and enable rapid amendment to services 
  • Provide guidance to parents so they know what services they are entitled to access 
  • Ensure parents are aware of “wrap-around” services e.g. anti-poverty schemes 
  • Analyse the impacts of food programmes on children’s diets
  • Consult parents and community groups about how to build dignity and choice into emergency and ongoing food provision, and develop opportunities for active involvement planning and delivery
  • Develop community-based nutrition awareness and home-based cooking training programmes to support parents in providing balanced meals on a low budget
  • Strengthen working partnerships with local government agencies, civic groups, voluntary sector, and social arms of corporations to improve implementation of food programmes#
  • Remove financial barriers to receiving food support and minimize stigma about ‘handouts’ e.g. by using a ‘pay-as-you-feel’ system


Economy and Society: The social & financial systems that enable urban populations to live peacefully, and act collectively

Consider how to support young people in accessing employment opportunities. Research shows that young people experience more long-lasting labour market impacts due to economic crises than adults, including being the first to lose jobs, working fewer hours, taking more time to secure quality income, and wage scarring where earning losses recover slowly. The International Labour Organisation reported that 17% of young people employed before the pandemic had stopped working entirely, and 42% reported reduced incomes. Additionally, it is widely reported that it is becoming increasingly difficult to source workers with the right skills in sectors where job opportunities exist. Consider developing youth employment initiatives, aimed at promoting domestic employment, skills development, capacity building and enabling equal access opportunities for vulnerable youth:

  • Assess your own organisation’s operations and capacity to understand where youth employment opportunities may be protected or enhanced

– Recognise the contribution of people who joined your organisation as young people in entry-level roles and try to ensure that restructures do not remove roles that provide a talent pipeline into your organisation.
– Monitor for age in any furlough and redundancy plans to ensure young people in your existing workforce are not disproportionately affected

  • Map labour market information of unemployed young people such as knowledge, skills and abilities, with potential sectors of employment, including consideration for the supply and demand aspects of the labour market

– Establish a working plan with employment services centres to support registration, profiling, referral, temporary work placements and on-the-job training

  • Collaborate with local government and private and public organisations to establish sectors in which temporary employment opportunities for young people could be created e.g. public works and infrastructure maintenance (Nepal)
  • Align vocational education and training aimed at up-skilling young people with employment initiatives such as apprenticeships and work experience programmes
  • Provide youth-targeted wage subsidy programmes to help young people enter, re-enter or remain in the labour market by reducing costs of recruitment, retention and training
  • Continue to provide careers advice in schools, colleges and universities to help young people navigate their employment options during COVID. Ensure careers advisors understand the current labour market and options open to young people so that they can provide timely advice


Consider training requirements when deploying volunteers into care homes. Across the world there are ambitious targets to vaccinate staff and residents in care homes. However, this will take time and, meanwhile, the pressure on care homes may build as staff become sick and residents need additional support. At critical points, volunteers may be expected to provide additional capacity inside care homes, but this requires preparation and planning, such as training volunteers in core skills and knowledge to work in such settings. Consider the need to:

  • Work with care home professionals to identify appropriate tasks that volunteers may be able to perform with adequate training and supervision
  • Design appropriate volunteer training programmes that are proportionate to the risk, including e-learning packages on, for example:

– Infection prevention and PPE
– Medication awareness
– Vaccine administration
– Assisting care home residents e.g. moving and handling, legislation, risk awareness, first aid
– Communication with residents
– Confidentiality, dignity, and respecting individuals
– Equality and diversity, and person-centred care
– Health, safety, food hygiene, risk assessments
– Safe equipment moving and handling

  • Train sufficient volunteers so they can be safely deployed inside care homes to relieve staff shortages
  • Ensure appropriate supervision is provided to volunteers inside care homes, and appropriate debriefing is offered on completion of shifts
  • Vaccinate trained volunteers before they are deployed to care homes 
  • Capture learning from volunteers for continual improvement
  • Consider the Cabinet Office guidance on involving spontaneous volunteers
  • Encourage and support suitable volunteers who wish to transition into the paid workforce in the medium term


Consider how other organisations can help school children with resources to learn. Schools have an increased need for support during lockdowns to provide children with the resources they need to learn effectively. Many other organisations are also under significant pressure during COVID-19, but some are coping particularly well as customer demand has increased. Such organisations may have the capacity, capability, and willingness to support the parents of schoolchildren in their local community. Consider encouraging local organisations and others to:

  • Coordinate community activities on behalf of a school, for example, to:

– Collect unused computers from businesses and the public so they can be reformatted and given to school children to enable them to access online learning support
– Provide computer training and skills for local parents so they can assist their children, particularly young children

  • Offer free printing of schoolwork for parents of school children who do not have printing services at home 
  • Make servers available to host school content which can be downloaded by parents
  • Contribute financially to support schools to pay for new forms of online schooling, new content, and access to privileged services
  • Work with schools to support them to build capability, for example, to:

– Evaluate and learn the technology that is available and how to use this in online learning
– Convert materials to make them suitable for online learning
– Remap donated computers to enable them to be distributed to school children

  • Provide specialist services to schools, e.g. readers of braille, sign language, adapting written materials into the spoken word, supporting children with disabilities
  • Provide COVID-19 hygiene supplies to schools (e.g. facemasks and hand sanitising stations)
  • Actively help Head Teachers in their role, for example, to interpret guidance and its application in their schools, and to support networking and mutual aid between schools


Consider deploying COVID Marshals to engage, explain and encourage compliance with COVID-19 rules. During national lockdowns and tiered restrictions, visitation to public spaces such as parks has increased dramatically. This increased concentration of people in particular areas pose a risk of virus transmission from those who are not abiding by COVID rules. Despite their best efforts, police have limited capacity to respond to breaches of COVID-19 regulations. As a result, there are many breaches going unchallenged and reports of a culture of breaches taking hold. Volunteers, namely COVID Marshals or Ambassadors, can create more capacity to engage, explain and encourage compliance and, when combined with a public app to report breaches, can target deployment to breach hot spots. Consider:

  • Identify the types of breaches it may be appropriate to deploy COVID Marshals to so they can engage, explain and encourage compliance
  • Identify, select, and train people who may be suitable as COVID Marshals (follow ISO22319)
  • Identify safe working practices for the COVID Marshals e.g. deployment in pairs
  • Using reports from the public to identify public spaces where breaches are likely to occur
  • Develop a system to deploy, monitor, support, and debrief COVID Marshals


Leadership and Strategy: The processes that promote effective leadership, inclusive decision-making, empowered stakeholders, and integrated planning

Consider how candidates can run safe election campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conventional campaigning tactics, such as door-to-door visits and town hall meetings to connect and talk to constituents, are not currently possible in many countries due to COVID-19 guidelines and concerns over risk of virus transmission. Clear guidelines that have the agreement of major parties are needed to ensure appropriate electioneering keeps election candidates and voters safe. Consider the need to:

  • Develop an agreement between major political parties on the rules they commit to follow to ensure the safety of their election campaigns
  • Identify alternative campaigning methods that are appropriate, such as: 

– Increased use of telephone and postal campaigning – Online platforms to support webinars and online town hall meetings with candidates to interact with voters
– Increased involvement of volunteer helpers in constituencies

  • Identify campaigning methods that are not appropriate, for example

– Driving voters to voting booths
– In-person public appearances in places where crowds may then gather

  • Appoint an arbitrator to advise on the adherence to agreed rules and the appropriateness of campaigning methods
  • Consider how positive and negative campaigning may affect public mood at an already stressful time 
  • Communicate rules to campaign offices well in advance to allow preparation 
  • Communicate the campaign rules to the public


Consider how public messaging can protect individuals against vaccination fraud. As the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine gains pace, there has been reporting of a rise in criminal activity targeting people who await information about their vaccine. Examples of how fraudsters are exploiting the vaccine launch includes: scam text messages that request personal information such as bank details; fraudsters turning up at peoples’ houses posing as National Health Service employees and offering vaccination for immediate payment. Fraud undermines public confidence in official programmes and contribute to a negative narrative around the vaccine programme. Consider public messaging to:

  • Use a range of communication channels to build public awareness of fraudsters’ tactics to encourage vigilance regarding vaccination communications 
  • Ensure communications about fraud awareness are available in different languages and different media e.g. to support migrants or support people with disabilities such as via informational videos
  • Publish a list of official government and health websites/social media channels that are authorised to provide official information on the vaccine
  • Include in fraud communications information on the ways in which people will be invited for an official vaccine, and ways that they will not be invited
  • Identify partnering organisations that can distribute messages about vaccine fraud e.g. organisations that run befriending schemes, check-in and chat services, vaccination partners 
  • Disseminate consistent information to these partnering organisations to advise them of how to provide information about fraud without concerning people about the safety of the vaccine itself


Consider establishing an audit programme to certify and assure the COVID safe technology adoption of hospitality venues. As hospitality venues prepare for a safe re-opening, technology can support customer safety and rebuild client confidence. For example, the necessity of contactless service delivery has accelerated and motivated the wider adoption of new technologies across hospitality venues. Consider developing an audit and certification process that supports and guides hospitality venues in the adoption of new technology:

  • Identify actions that can make hospitality venues more COVID-safe using technology e.g. replace tangible menus with an ordering app, use scannable QR codes, replace room keys with mobile keys, contactless communications using customer-facing technology tools, guest communications via chatbots/messaging platforms, contactless temperature checks at entrances, air quality improvement and ventilation via bipolar ionisation technology
  • Use the identified actions to establish a checklist of practices that hospitality venues may be audited against
  • Identify the minimum requirement for hospitality venues to be eligible for certification of COVID-safe technology adoption and service provision
  • Identify how the hospitality venue protects its customers by using secure platforms
  • Use the checklist and minimum requirements as part of an audit process to certify the safety of hospitality venues 
  • Apply the audit process to hospitality venues
  • Use the audit process to identify further actions that hospitality venues can implement to increase their COVID-safety
  • Publicise a list of certified hospitality venues
  • Provide certified hospitality venues with certificates/logos that they can display in their window and online
  • Have a whistle-blower procedure for staff and customers to report serious breaches



Key past and upcoming webinars on how cities are building resilience in the face of the pandemic and other shocks & stresses.

Date Webinar Title (Click to register or to access materials)
07 JanuaryDepartment of Internal Medicine Grand Rounds – Update on COVID-19 Vaccines
18 JanuaryCIPD – Stepping up and Supporting Working Parents
21 JanuaryResilient Cities Network, World Bank – Why cities need play & placemaking to foster children’s wellbeing & city resilience
3 FebruaryGlasgow City of Science and Innovation – Can Do Summit: An exploration of how businesses can build sustainable growth and resilience after the impact of COVID-19
4 FebruaryResilient Cities Network, World Bank –Scaling up Climate Resilience
15 FebruaryBritish Psychological Society – Developing community resilience and social justice practices with young people in the Covid 19 era
25 FebruaryHealth Campaigns Together – The Pandemic and Privatisation

Produced by The University of Manchester, UK (Professor Duncan Shaw, Dr Jennifer Bealt, Róisín Jordan) in partnership with the Resilient Cities Network (Femke Gubbels)

What is the weekly briefing on Cities for a Resilient Recovery?

Every fortnight the University of Manchester brings together relevant international practices and examples on recovery from COVID-19. The bi-weekly briefing is curated by the Resilient Cities Network to bring key lessons and examples targeted for resilience officers, emergency planners and other city practitioners. The structure of the briefing follows the City Resilience Framework – specifically the four drivers that cities have been identified as mattering the most when a city faces chronic stresses or sudden shocks – Health & Wellbeing, Economy & Society; Infrastructure & Environment; and Leadership & Strategy. 

For more international examples please register @

Join the Coalition of Cities for a Resilient Recovery here

If you would be willing to contribute your knowledge to this briefing series (via a 30-minute interview) please contact

Download the Manchester Briefing #24

Learn more about Cities for a Resilient Recovery

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