In 2020, a new challenge faced local government in the shape of COVID-19. The on-going pandemic has continued to place an enormous strain on our public services. Local council frontline services suffered the impact of the pandemic in ways often hidden from the more obvious pressures on services like health.
Frontline services in local government had to adapt and amend operational delivery, respond to new workplace guidance, and reprioritise services to meet public expectations and new demands. For example the separation of drivers and collection crews in areas such as waste and recycling, as well as tackling the growth in domestic waste as a result of mass homeworking; leisure centres were rapidly converted to food hubs for vulnerable people, then to testing centres then to vaccination sites; enormous pressure was placed on parks and public realm as a result of lockdown measures. In FM services looking after the children of key-workers, who remained in schools, was critical to the pandemic response. These are just a few examples but across frontline services the impact on service cost, quality and productivity has been keenly felt.
APSE Performance Networks therefore made a decision to track these impacts to provide a robust data analysis. Following the reports produced in 2020 this latest report, a summary of data collated across frontline services in 2021, provides some explicability to changes in costs, quality and productivity. This will be highly useful to those service managers who want a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on their budgets, service delivery and service productivity.