Boulder County Resilience Coordination Plan 

Boulder County and BoCo Strong

Project Partners: SE Group and Cypress Group, LLC. 

Duration: May 2017 to December 2017 

In May of 2017, The Boulder Center for Resilience (formerly Creative Vision Works) was hired by Boulder County to develop a Resiliency Coordination Plan (RCP). The County's goal was to expand their organizational capacity so they could better address the impacts of long-term stressors and shocks (i.e. disasters). The BCFR used an inclusive, shared learning process to guide the development of the RCP. The goals of the project were to build a common understanding, identify strengths and potential gaps, explore possible futures, co-develop potential solutions, and to create a safe space for open and inclusive dialogues. 

Why?

In response to increasing levels of political, economic, and climatic uncertainty, Boulder County took action to develop and promote organizational resiliency to ensure that their policies, procedures, and organizational structure enabled them to be proactive. They focused on capacity building in planning, preparing, responding, and recovering from events and day-to-day stressors. Specific stressors include the increasing uncertainty of federal funding and policy changes for many critical County programs, particularly those relating to the environment and social services. On top of this, climate change and an increase in natural disasters has amplified the County’s vulnerability to wildfires and flooding. The County as a whole has been very responsive to the community’s emerging needs and is a leader in the State of Colorado for their resilience-specific initiatives. 

What Services Did We Provide?

 

The BCFR developed and executed a process to assess the County's internal organizational resilience. It included the collection, sharing, and analysis of resilience-specific qualitative data. The data was collected from 97 County Staff across 12 departments, and represents a cross-section of non-management, management, and elected officials. The data was collected through diverse and iterative methods, resulting in organizationally prevalent themes and recommendations. Seven (7) Key Resilience Themes and seven (7) Primary Considerations (recommendations) were developed. These fourteen (14) products summarize new resilience opportunities and highlight areas of existing County resilience and best practices.

 

Key Resilience Themes

1 - Identify Strategic Priorities
2 - Align Budgeting & Program Evaluation Process with Strategic Plan
3 - Leveraging Best Practices Across Departments
4 - Enhance Public Engagement, Outreach, and Community Partnerships

5 - Continued Evolution of HR Processes and Programs
6 - Explore Deeper Program Integration Across Multiple Departments
7 - Bolster Long-Term Recovery Capacity

 

As part of the RCP process, The BCFR completed the following:

  • Desktop study of existing county, state, and other pertinent documents and plans

  • Developed a replicable process for assessing organizational resilience

  • Created an evaluation framework to utilize in data collection

  • Conducted a series of group and individual interviews across 12 departments

  • Conducted a series of Shared Learning Dialogues to explore internal dynamics and identify themes of existing points of stress

  • Conducted Scenario Planning to explore how to address a variety of plausible futures

  • Developed and delivered two (2) Resilience and Recovery Workshops for County staff

  • Developed Key Resilience Themes and Primary Considerations (recommendations) for strategies based on these plausible futures; existing organizational structure, policies, and procedures; and internal dynamics and individual department cultures

  • Developed and delivered the Resiliency Coordination Plan for use by the County and other municipalities

What was the Impact?

  • Primary Consideration #1: Strategic Priorities

    • County Commissioners, department heads, and their policy team developed a set of Strategic Priorities in December, 2018. 

  • Primary Consideration #3: Leveraging Best Practices

    • A leveraging best practices group, led by Commissioner Gardner, is meeting and examining current Boulder County initiatives, policies, and processes as well as RCP considerations, to improve consistency and facilitate the sharing of best practices.

  • Primary Consideration #7: Department Recovery Planning

    • Each Boulder County department is developing a department-level recovery plan that they will submit for review to the Office of Recovery and Resilience (ORR) by the end of 2018.

  • Institutionalization of Resilience

    • The County created a 2-year pilot for a County Office of Recovery and Resilience (ORR).

    • The ORR is facilitating monthly staff meetings to coordinate mitigation and resilience activities using the RCP as a reference.

    • The ORR is facilitating conversations and providing education on the RCP and overall resilience.   

    • The Transportation and Land Use Departments are seeking more coordination around resilience work.

    • Boulder County staff are participating in a Resilience book club.

Resiliency Coordination Plan