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Resilience and regeneration  collection | Article

Resilience and regeneration: Introduction

Authored by William Barker, Martin Ferguson

The Covid-19 pandemic forced local public services to change the way they work to address the pressing challenges being faced by their communities. These changes included developing effective local test and trace systems, identifying and supporting the vulnerable, and undertaking data analysis to fill the gaps in knowledge about specific localities and communities. 

Local public service leaders were asked to re-think the ‘art of the possible’ about where and how they should harness technologies and data to achieve better outcomes for their residents, businesses and communities. 

The impact of the pandemic has been compounded by climate change, the spiralling cost of living, digital poverty and a host of other issues now facing people, places and communities. 

Our challenge now is to address what is a critical juncture for public services, a once in a generation opportunity to deliver lasting reform of public services to address these complex issues. We aim to enable and empower Socitm’s members to play their role at this juncture in supporting and transforming the resilience of people, communities, organisations and places they serve. 

Over the last three years, we have been engaging with our 2,500 members and a wide cross section of partners about how we need to focus not just on the post-Covid future but also the wider environmental, social, economic and technological challenges that impact on people’s everyday lives and the places they live and work. Through Socitm Lead and our Research programmes we have been focusing on nurturing wisdom from our collective experiences and empowering our members skilfully to navigate unprecedented change. 

Our Share, Improve and Include programmes backed-up by a range of national and regional events have brought together knowledge on the key hot topics of the day, bringing practitioners and innovators together to help shape local futures. Likewise, our work in support of the Local Digitalisation Outcomes and emerging Digital Trends and Integrated Care analysis and international partnering have provided unique and ground-breaking insights into the emerging world of digital, technology and data. 

This collection comprises three interrelated research programmes that build on our key policy themes, leadership training and development activities, and mapping of digital trends in public services. Grounded in the holistic Doughnut Economics framework (opens in new tab), the programmes set out how, working together, we can all support the wider drive towards post-Covid resilience and regeneration. 

Socitm’s post-Covid recovery prospectus 

Read the recovery prospectus.

In the wake of unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, local authorities have been leading place-based, strategic recovery. This policy briefing draws on the emerging picture from over 200 local authority recovery and resilience strategies to identify following four common “pillars” for place-based recovery. 

  • Reset – ethical principles, respecting social, economic and ecological foundations. 
  • Reform – public services by embracing innovation and modernisation. 
  • Renew – communities by collaborating across place and encouraging self-sufficiency. 
  • Resilient – to disruptive changes, to thrive and to achieve better, sustainable and inclusive outcomes for everyone. 

Taking these pillars as a starting point, the briefing takes readers through the layers of the Socitm Recovery and Resilience model, designed to support place-based recovery and resilience and the wider drive to build sustainable places in which people and communities can thrive. 

Resilient people, communities and places

Read about the Resilient people, communities and places.

In November 2021, Socitm hosted a St George’s House consultation at Windsor Castle to draw these strands together. An expert group of academics, public sector leaders and figures from business discussed the lessons learned and identified key strategic priorities, themes and most importantly how we could strengthen and broaden our support to Socitm’s members. 

The report brings together insights from with our network of 2,500 local practitioners, draws on the work of Socitm’s leadership, research and Advisory programmes, and wider findings and reflections from the public, private and academic sectors. It concludes with shared reflections on what works, what needs to change and the next steps that Socitm and its members need to address through innovation, technology and modernisation to help people, places and communities to thrive. 

Socitm Connects 

Read the Socitm Connects report.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced local public services to change the way they work to address the pressing challenges being faced by their communities. The challenge now is to enable and empower Socitm’s members to play their role in supporting and transforming the resilience of people, communities, organisations and places they serve and address the threefold issues of: 

  • The need to build upon the phenomenal response of local authorities and the wider public sector to Covid-19. 
  • The need to sustain the step changes that local public service providers have taken. 
  • The need to harness digital – cultures, capabilities, technologies and data – to enhance the resilience of people, communities, organisations and places. 

This policy briefing addresses what each of these priorities means in practice, and the challenges and opportunities that our members face and how Socitm – building on our extensive leadership, policy research, conference and advisory offerings – plans to deliver our new, strategic Socitm Connects programme.