…and what will they be asked to do next?
Written by Osman Dervish – Associate Director – Planning – London & Northern Home Counties
With hopeful news of a vaccine which may bring an end to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is an opportune time to reflect on the contribution local government has made, is still making and will continue to make. Many may believe that the vaccine being made available is the end of local councils’ involvement. Oh, how wrong they would be!
Alongside the NHS and our other vital emergency services, local councils have been at the heart of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We saw them spring into action, taking the lead on not only contacting those who were shielding but organising hubs to distribute food, while also keeping local businesses alive through their administration of the Government’s funding support.
As the response to the pandemic changed and the world opened back up, councils had to adapt and change along with the rest of us, ensuring local people could have confidence in going back out into their communities and acting as the lynchpin between the NHS and local care homes so as to minimise the risks for the most vulnerable in society.
Now they aid the track and trace effort with innovative use of their members of staff who live and breathe their local communities as well as their local knowledge to supplement the national programme; often able to reach more people than would have otherwise been done.
What next for local government in the pandemic, you may ask?
Administration of the vaccination programme will be likely even more challenging than the establishment of the testing regime. Local councils are already starting to plan how they will assist through the identification of sites for vaccination centres as well as co-ordination of the supporting requirements, such as traffic management. We have no doubt that they will be asked to do more as the situation develops and what seems to be a Herculean task unfolds before them.
However, if their performance in the pandemic is anything to go by thus far, we at Cratus know they won’t let us down – and we thank them!