Report published outlining public service lessons learned from coronavirus (COVID-19)

Report published outlining public service lessons learned from coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Public Services Committee has published a report titled ‘A critical juncture for public services: lessons from COVID-19’. The report analyses how public services responded to the  coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, discusses what lessons can be learned and offers a number of recommendations to transform public service delivery.

  • The report found that public service providers and councils ‘developed remarkable innovations’ in response to coronavirus restrictions, making decisions in minutes that would usually take months. It identified, however, a number of weaknesses including insufficient support for prevention and early intervention, over-centralised delivery of services with poor communication from the centre, a tendency for service providers to work independently of each other rather than integrated, inability and unwillingness to share data and inequality of access to public services. Cause for concern related to public service provision for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people as well as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, and homeless people or people with complex needs.

    Key recommendations of the report include:

    • recognising the ‘vital role of preventative services in reducing the deep and ongoing inequalities that have been exacerbated by COVID-19’

    • radical improvement of communication and cooperation between central government, national service providers and local-level service providers

    • re-analysing where services are best delivered from the centre, and where local-level service providers would be more effective, as well as acknowledgment from the government that local providers are equal partners in service delivery

    • recognising key public service providers such as charities, community groups, volunteers and the private sector and giving them support to deliver services effectively

    • understanding that public services will require a ‘fundamentally different, vastly more flexible approach to the sharing of data’ to continue coping with coronavirus challenges

    • integrating services to suit the diverse needs of individuals and communities through public service providers working together at the local level, supported by joined-up working across government departments at national level

    • providing local services and frontline workers with the resources and autonomy to improve delivery of public services, and improving the accountability of local service providers

    • using technology to increase access to public services, particularly in hard-to-reach groups, however this does not mean replacing face-to-face services with online services if it would disadvantage the user

    • involving users in the design and delivery of public services

    Read the full report here.

    Source: Lessons from COVID−19: major report on public services launched

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