“Councils have been leading their communities through the pandemic and as this report makes clear, could have been given a greater role in the initial response to COVID-19."
Responding to a joint report by the Commons Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee examining the initial UK response to the coronavirus pandemic, Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Councils have been leading their communities through the pandemic and as this report makes clear, could have been given a greater role in the initial response to COVID-19.
“Directors of Public Health and their teams, working in councils, know their areas best and were eventually able to complement the national test and trace system by setting up their own local contact tracing partnerships and successfully tracing many hard-to-reach cases.
“Social care was already under severe pressure prior to the pandemic, which exposed and exacerbated some fundamental weaknesses, including workforce shortages and a lack of funding.
“Coronavirus will be with us for some time to come and challenges remain, including the need for greater data sharing with councils to help them deal with localised outbreaks, alongside the necessary resources and personnel.
“The Spending Review is an opportunity to address the health inequalities exposed by the pandemic which are preventing us from levelling up the country, by investing in councils’ public health services and injecting genuinely new funding into adult social care to tackle immediate pressures, if we are to build back better from the pandemic.”