Laura Sharman 26 October 2020

Councils urged to appoint chief foresight officers

Councils should appoint a ‘chief resilience officer’ to help respond to future crises, a report has argued.

The report, published by the royal society for arts, manufactures and commerce and Manchester Metropolitan University, warns that the response to the COVID-19 crisis has been hampered by a lack of foresight and forward planning.

It calls for a new long-term mindset that thinks several generations ahead, rather than opting for quick-fix options.

Ian Burbidge, associate director of the RSA Lab, said: ‘As a first step, institutions, including Government, councils and the UK private sector should consider employing a chief foresight officer, to help weather future crises and embed sustainability in council business.

’The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare problems across our public services, many of which may have been avoided with a generational approach to government that emphasises appropriate funding.

’Short-term decisions such as recent ones to not invest in free school meals for some of our most disadvantaged young people is not only going to impact them in the short term, but is likely to have a long-term negative impact on a generation too young to vote.’

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