The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge. It threatens our health, livelihood and peace of mind—our very way of life. Both the public and private sectors have important leadership roles in developing a response. Citizens and businesses expect government to provide guidance they can trust, services that meet their needs and financial security. Public sector and private sector employees want leadership that stays the course, provides clear direction on a path forward and a working environment that ensures their safety.
These interests are common in communities around the globe. They represent ways that organizations are already joining together on what must be done. It is critical to look both at the immediate response toward recovery and preparations for future scenarios.
The now: Rising to the times
All eyes are on government right now. Meeting the needs of our citizens during COVID-19 and its aftermath demands an approach grounded in technology, boundary-breaking collaboration and innovative ways of working.
To live up to citizens' and businesses' expectations, public service organizations need to stand up critical solutions that are flexible and robust across three dimensions:
The framework for coronavirus public service action
Across these dimensions, public service agencies along with private sector partners need to take action in six critical areas:
The Next: Returning to a new normal
This pandemic will end. Once it does, delivering services will look very different, and employees will have new skills. Agencies that have the capabilities and structures to continually reassess and recalibrate resource use, revenue allocation, policies and priorities are best positioned to help people and businesses return to the rhythms of daily life.
The good news is that citizens, agencies and businesses are resilient, innovative and strong. Some of the capabilities built out of necessity today—remote work, customer self-service, social media engagement, remote health monitoring—can become the new normal tomorrow. Citizens, governments, businesses and non-profits will emerge from this crisis with new expectations, valuable lessons learned and new capabilities that strengthen all of us.
This will be a turning point for government. A time to build even more meaningful, trust-based relationships with people and ensure they can weather even the most unexpected storm.
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