News & Events - UDiTE
INNOVATION IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN IRELAND DURING COVID-19
Through Our Public Service 2020 the objective of the State is to encourage the public sector to develop new ways of thinking about the delivery and design of services to the Irish public. Innovation in this context captures more than technological innovations and can occur across both the provision of local authority internal services and business processes, and the delivery of public services, advice, and guidance. What has become apparent is that local authorities have embraced the culture of innovation as evidenced in their adaptation and innovation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the public sector across all operations. Personnel in all government departments, agencies and local authorities have had to quickly adapt and develop appropriate and innovative responses in order to deliver services to the public. In many instances, ‘business as usual’ services have had to be modified while additional work has been taken on to respond specifically to tasks related to the COVID-19 crisis. Within the current climate, the local government sector is having to change the way it works to ensure a full range of appropriate services are being provided to employees, councillors, and the public.
Local government has taken a leadership role and is driving local responses in the areas of community and SME support, while also collaborating with a range of stakeholder including the health sector. As the closest level of government to citizens, local authorities have been challenged to develop and implement innovative solutions in both their business processes and their delivery of public services. It is in this context that this research aims to support the local government sector by capturing the diversity of innovations that are taking place across the sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The key objectives of this research are to summarise the following:
- The diversity of challenges experienced by the sector as a result of COVID-19
- The key formal and informal structures implemented to address COVID-19 challenges
- The key solutions implemented by the sector to address COVID-19 challenges
- The key learnings/obstacles for the sector in implementing solutions to address COVID-19 challenges
The remainder of this report is structured as follows. Section 2 outlines the methods used in this research, with Section 3 presenting research results. A discussion is provided in section 4, with concluding remarks offered in Section 5.
Local Government in Ireland has come to the fore in many ways during the Covid-19 pandemi through a clear recognition that it is best placed to be able to deliver innovative and agile responses to a wide range of community and sectoral issues. The connection between local government and its citizens, and as a leader of a cross-sectoral response to all of our citizens has been significantly enhanced as a result and provides an improved platform for further development in the future.