Combined authority governance during COVID-19: lessons learnt

Posted on 23/06/2021 by Kate Grigg.

All parts of the public sector have been subject to stresses and pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic. This ‘lessons learnt’ style debrief highlights the governance changes that took place within combined authorities (CAs) as they responded to the crisis and considers the governance risks as we enter the recovery phase.

In learning lessons to support good governance from the experience of the pandemic, our research has identified some key themes that are explored in this report:

  • Clarity of focus
  • Resilience in governance systems
  • Flexibility and adaptation
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Public involvement
  • Partnership and collaboration
  • Strategic and operational differences
  • Risk

The challenges posed by the pandemic have highlighted the value of rapid action, active learning loops in decision-making and the importance of upholding transparency and accountability throughout. The ongoing task of recovery and building resilience will drive the activity of CAs over the immediate to medium-term, and will shape future priorities. The way in which CAs are able to support and lead this change will be vital, especially in ensuring governance systems are equipped to cope with future emergencies.

This research has been developed alongside the Combined Authorities Governance Network (CAGN) – a network established and facilitated by CfGS through the LGA’s sector-support programme, funded by HM Government.

About the Author: Kate Grigg

Kate works across the CfGS research and consultancy programmes, supporting projects in local government and the corporate sector, and facilitating the combined authorities goverance network.