Building Back With: A handbook for involving communities in the Covid-19 response and recovery

By Tim Hughes

Former Director (2017 to 2021)

Published on

5 Oct 2020


Local government is being faced with incredibly difficult challenges and choices – from managing local lockdowns through to creating resilient economies, all on tight budgets.

In this context, it's all the more difficult but important to involve local communities in the Covid response and recovery – benefiting from their ideas and experiences, help with making difficult trade-offs, and community action.

Over the summer, we worked with practitioners and local authority officers to prepare Building Back With. 1  This handbook is intended to support local authorities to consider how they can build back with their local communities, involving them in the Covid-19 response and recovery. It has been developed as part of our joint project with the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Westminster University: “A democratic response to Covid”. 

Dive into the handbook

What the handbook contains

The handbook contains eight chapters, covering the following:

Using the handbook

You can access the handbook in three ways:

  1. Visit the Knowledge Base
  2. Download a PDF
  3. Access the live document (more on that below)

All of the content in this handbook is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. This means that you are free to remix, adapt, and build upon the handbook non-commercially, as long as the original handbook is credited and you license your new creation under the same terms.

Help write the handbook

The handbook has been written by Involve in partnership with members of the Deliberative Democracy Practitioners’ Network – a group of designers and facilitators of participatory and deliberative processes.

It is intended to be a living document that we update over time as new issues, resources and case studies arise. A version of it will live on the Involve Knowledge Base, which we will periodically update based on updates to a live collaborative document (hosted on Google Docs). If you'd like to help improve the handbook, access the live document and start writing or leave a comment.


Image Credit: Catherine Cordasco via United Nations Covid Response