House of Lords inquiry calls for evidence from charities on public services

01 Jun 2020 News

House of Lords chamber

A parliamentary inquiry into the impact of the coronavirus crisis on public services is looking for evidence from charities. 

The House of Lords Select Committee on Public Services has launched an inquiry into the lessons which can be learned from the pandemic. The committee’s work will include a focus on the role of charities in providing services and collaborating with other groups during the crisis.

The committee specifically asks charities to provide information about the lessons they have learned during the crisis, examples of new ways in which the public sector and charities have collaborated to meet increased need, and how charities could be better integrated into local public service systems in the future.

Grave challenges

Peers have also asked for help from organisations which can help them take evidence from “hard-to-reach groups and individuals.”

Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top, the chairwoman of the committee, said: “Covid-19 has presented our public services with one of the gravest challenges in recent history, and we have seen heroic efforts from frontline staff to ensure our communities are supported during lockdown.

“However, the crisis has also highlighted some fundamental weaknesses in the design of public services, such as the lack of integration between health, social care and other services. The committee will explore how the lessons from coronavirus can inform public service reform.

“The pandemic has shown what’s possible, but how can government and leaders ensure that the transformation seen in some services remain once the crisis is over?”

Building on collaboration

In addition to the role of charities and other community groups, the inquiry will focus on the integration of public services, inequalities in how people access those services and the outcomes they experience, and the relationship between local and national services.

The coronavirus outbreak has already encouraged “radical thinking in some areas”, the committee said in a statement, which has resulted in “collaboration across the voluntary sector, NHS and social care providers, police, local authorities and community services.”

This is the committee’s first inquiry. The deadline for written evidence is Monday 29 June.

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