The Covid-19 pandemic has created an opportunity to re-imagine the role of redeployment within the public sector and beyond, including the role of local communities in becoming ‚’custodians‚’ of their localities. In local authorities, health authorities and other local services, the pandemic has necessitated the need for a rapid reallocation of resources, both within and across organisations.
For instance, in spring 2020, a number of Support Hubs were established in local areas to provide vital supplies, food and drink and medicines to vulnerable residents. The infrastructure was built from scratch, informed by data, and staffed by redeployed local authority, NHS workers and volunteers. Resource was allocated against a set of broad competencies and skills, but at scale and speed. Bureaucracy and organisational barriers were removed, and service deliverers were not inhibited by decision-making processes. A level of risk was absorbed in the interest of providing a rapid public service.
The speed and effectiveness of this effort, both in developing the infrastructure and maintaining service delivery, demonstrates a significant opportunity which ought to be harnessed. The shift in local public service, to provide a needs-based, skills-focussed represents a once in a generation cultural shift in public sector thinking and ways of working.
An alternative to siloed practice and job roles, there is a genuine opportunity to establish cross-organisational and community teams to tackle a wide range of key social and economic challenges. This would be formed by local bodies, including the Voluntary Community Sector, and would crucially harness the experience and those involved in the Covid-19 response. There is precedence in the Civil Service, such as the Generalist and Specialist roles within Fast Stream, which provide an indication of the process of the rapid reallocation of resource to support service need, skills matching and personal development.