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Jeremy Cooper

‘This time we have to do both: transformation and dealing with Covid’

One of the real joys of my job is hearing from council Chief Executives and leadership teams every week about their opportunities and priorities. There is so much diversity in what they talk about, which constantly reminds me of just how varied and exciting the role and impact of local government is.

Last week, however, I heard an almost eerily consistent message from councils about the new phase triggered by the Prime Ministers announcement that new coronavirus restrictions for England could last for up to six months.

Interesting, this consistency wasn’t in relation to responding to new measures. In fact, I’ve been surprised at the level of difference in councils’ interpretations of what ‘working from home if you can’ means in practice, amongst other things.

What has been remarkably consistent is a version of the following statement; “In March, we paused transformation and dealt with the Covid crisis. But this time around we HAVE to do both”.

Managing the tension between these two things isn’t easy, but I applaud the resolve to do so, and am delighted that we are helping a wide range of councils to do both. We strongly believe that better outcomes can and should cost less; there may never be a better opportunity to prove it.

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