Emergency Social Services, building a coordinated interorganizational approach
Caldwell, W. Francis
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Emergency Social Services (ESS) provides basic services such as food, lodging, and clothing necessary to meet urgent physical and individual needs of persons affected by disaster. Post-disaster critiques of the City of Winnipeg's response to the 1997 "Flood of the Century" pointed to interorganizational deficiencies in the ESS response. Considering the inter-organizational coordination requirements of effective emergency response systems, and the disparate connections of the social service delivery system, the practicum used an exchange framework--political economy theory--to determine methods for coordinating social service organizations. Two contracts were negotiated between a municipal government ESS organization and non-profit community organizations. The contracts specify organizational roles, responsibilities, and expectations, accompanied by a Communication Plan for maintaining the integrity of plans during all phases of a disaster. Parties concluded that the process used to develop the agreements was critical to achieving the mutually satisfactory contract. Moreover, the working relationships and terms developed, corrected noted deficiencies in Emergency Social Services Plans.