Home > Flexible responses during the coronavirus crisis: rapid evidence gathering.

Making Every Adult Matter Coalition. (2020) Flexible responses during the coronavirus crisis: rapid evidence gathering. London: Cordis Bright.

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This report presents findings from a rapid gathering of evidence in relation to the responses to the Covid-19 pandemic by local services and systems supporting people experiencing multiple disadvantage across England. 


In order to best support people and protect their health during this unprecedented period, services across sectors have taken more flexible approaches, afforded clients and staff more autonomy and responsibility, and rapidly explored new ways of working. These changes were expedited due to the sudden increase in risk to individual and public health and many (though not all) of the changes have been positive. As the high levels of risk start to subside, the risks associated with Covid-19 may no longer be a driver for innovation in service delivery or outweigh the inherent risk in trying new ways of working. Local areas, and national government, will need to avoid a return to the status-quo of previous service delivery through a clear process of cross-sector transition planning. 

This research indicates that local areas are keen to maintain some of the positive changes that have been developed during this period and that planning is now underway for this, although ambition varies across local areas. As we transition out of the crisis, local areas and national government are likely to need to consider the following in order to maintain some of the positive changes that have been developed during the pandemic:

  • Reflecting closely on learnings from the crisis period. Local areas and national government may wish to consider which new flexibilities have been effective at improving outcomes for people facing multiple disadvantage as well as which changes have been less effective and why. A clear process will be needed for reflection and learning.
  • Cross-sector leadership and planning to ensure positive changes can be maintained. Local areas and national government should build on the reflection and learning above, identifying the flexibilities that they wish to maintain and developing plans to ensure that this can be funded and commissioned. The provision of suitable, permanent accommodation for all who need it will be a key part of this, but wider cross-sector flexibilities will also be important.
  • Ensuring the involvement of people with lived experience of multiple disadvantage. Local areas and national government should ensure that people experiencing multiple disadvantage are at the centre of conversations regarding the next stage of the response. 

We hope that this report supports such discussion and planning. The MEAM transition framework also provides information and guidance.

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