Heather Jameson 02 November 2020

Government needs a plan to tackle public service backlog, says IfG

The Government needs a plan to address backlogs in public services caused by the coronavirus crisis, a new report has claimed.

Performance Tracker 2020, has analysed the disruption caused by the pandemic in key public services including social care, health, schools and courts, and the changes brought about by the pandemic.

The report, but the Institute for Government (IfG) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), calls on the government to set out how it plans to deal with backlogs caused by the pandemic, review which changes should be extended and provide extra funding to extend some services.

It claims the spending review should provide funding to extend reforms including speeding up hospital discharges, extending remote medicine and count hearings and providing laptops for children that need them.

But it says the government should review the impact of some reforms introduced including free school meal extensions.

The report highlights the high instance of deaths of those working in social care, with 56.8 deaths per 100,000 for men and 22.6 per 100,000 for women, compared with 34.2 and 13.1 for those working in healthcare.

It calls on the Government to provide more generous funding for to allow social care workers to isolate, and warns fun finance announcements may have propped up council finances but continued the ‘unhelpful’ trend in short term funding.

CIPFA chief executive, Rob Whiteman, said the report ‘could not be timelier’.

‘In a moment where public services are facing great, unprecedented challenges, we must be able to determine if they are ultimately reaching those they are intended to serve.

‘There must be a clear plan from government on how short-term stimulus packages in the coming months will be aligned to a clear outcomes framework.’

Programme director at the IfG, Nick Davies, said: ‘The Government must make some hugely difficult decisions in the spending review.

‘In doing so, it must learn from what has worked, and what hasn’t, since the crisis began and make smart investments in those changes that will help public services to cope with the difficult years ahead.’

Photo: Loveandrock / Shutterstock.com

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