Strategic response and recovery to COVID-19

COVID-19 response

When coronavirus began to spread across the globe, no-one in local government could have predicted the enormous impact the virus would have on everyone’s lives and liberty, the horrendous human cost and the strength and resilience needed to fight the virus.

How local authorities, work colleagues and public sector partners joined forces in Devon for a common purpose – to protect and support our communities against the virus – has led the way to a legacy for how we all work differently from now onwards.

Responding to the pandemic created a fast-moving, agile, adaptable environment where new ways of working were found that may have been discounted in the past, and a wealth of untapped capacity and capability was discovered.

Devon County Council was able to understand, learn and experiment with what was possible not only in relation to how we plan and respond to emergencies but also how the organisation operates now and into the future.

Communities have also joined together as never before in recent history, doing fantastic deeds to support and care for each other, sharing skills and expertise and most importantly looking after the wellbeing of family and friends.

COVID-19 recovery

As we look towards recovery from COVID, we don’t want to lose what we have all learnt, or the best practices that existed before the pandemic. We are taking the opportunity to reflect, reimagine and redesign the way the organisation works by:

  • evaluating and understanding the impact of what we do on the people of Devon
  • further increasing the discipline and rigour around clear, robust and dynamic decision making and recording
  • enabling financial resilience and medium – longer term financial planning by integrating our organisational transformation approach with our medium-term financial strategy
  • enabling and embedding sustainable learning practices based on evidence of what works, what doesn’t and why
  • embedding core principles and behaviours in and across everything we do.

We see partnerships, strengthened by our Team Devon response to COVID, (a forum for Devon’s councils, public sector and voluntary and community sector to work together) as vital to tackling the key strategic issues facing Devon – climate change, our demographic challenge, stark gaps in wealth, opportunity, social mobility and wider inequality, and trust and confidence in public services.

2020-2021 Priorities 

The five pillars underpinning Devon County Council's work
2020-21 priority areas showing: climate change, changing demographic structure, fairness and equity, trust and confidence and financial resilience and prosperity.

With our partners, Devon County Council will:

  • care for the environment and help tackle the climate change emergency by becoming carbon neutral with sustainable growth that both protects and makes the most sustainable use of natural resources
  • care about jobs and economic prosperity by unlocking potential to help grow one of the strongest, greenest, and smartest regional economies in the UK as part of the wider economic region
  • care about fairness with more people having the opportunity to get the skills they need to share in the benefits of future prosperity, have a good wage and access to an affordable home, and for our young people to have a future here
  • care about local communities as the building blocks of Devon; strong, resilient, and thriving places where people can live well
  • care about people and families with all children having a good start in life and everyone, especially the most vulnerable, feeling safe, well supported, and able to lead the best lives they can and to grow old well
  • care about, understand and have organisational focus on the many challenges facing children and young people
  • care about the most vulnerable by improving health and wellbeing outcomes through a sustainable health and care system. there are equal chances for everyone in Devon to lead long, happy and healthy lives
  • care about connections with decision-making underpinned by good quality information and intelligence, together with investment in and transformation of digital services.

Devon County Council is committed to being a flexible, resilient, learning organisation. We are growing our capacity and capability, strengthening relationships with colleagues, partners and communities, and helping create a Devon where everyone can live their life well.

Links to strategy documents