Policy Brief #05

Local Public Services in Crisis Mode

Emergency Governance Initiative, March 2022

The focus of this Policy Brief is on governance innovations, organisational responses and other developments already taking place on the ground that – irrespective of their governance model – can help inform local public services around the globe in relation to their readiness and effectiveness to respond to complex emergencies.

It does not attempt to determine which governance models are better suited to particular local contexts. Although there may be relevant technical arguments to inform these decisions, ultimately the choice of a particular model should be made democratically by each local community.

By reviewing cases of how local public services worldwide have dealt with the COVID-19 crisis, the Policy Brief aims to extract lessons that may be useful in facing future emergencies – including the climate crisis, which poses huge risks to the sustained provision of public services to all. To unpack how public service operators navigated the competing priorities posed by the pandemic, it also relies on a more detailed analysis of the cases of welfare and social care services in Kempen (Belgium), energy, sanitation, gas and water with household waste removal and telecommunications subsidiaries in Medellín (Colombia), and water in Terrassa (Spain).

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Policy Brief #05 is also available in French and Spanish