A report by the National Audit Office published 19 May 2021 has said that coronavirus has exposed decades-long weaknesses in government and divisions in wider society, including neglect of social care and chronic underfunding in local government.
The NAO has warned that from the very start of the pandemic a lack of planning had left ministers without a “playbook” on how to respond.
The report pulls together lessons from more than a dozen sector-specific reports into the handling of Covid. The NAO said the virus “laid bare existing fault lines within society, such as the risk of widening inequalities, and within public service delivery and government itself”.
Coronavirus had “stress-tested the government’s ability to deal with unforeseen events”, said Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, noting that it had shown the need for government to be “systematic” in planning for emergencies, and to learn lessons at speed.
NAO report – 19 May 2021