The Coronavirus pandemic has shone a spotlight on how responsive, adaptive and effective public series can be when there is no option but to react. This ability to react and co-design solutions with staff, service users and customers is equally important in stable times. In her latest blog, C.Co’s Natalie Abraham looks at how people want to engage in the design of future public service delivery now more than ever.

In my last blog, I explored the importance of learning from our experiences and the link to strong leadership.

In the current climate, we are all learning to make critical decisions and undertake actions to ensure safety, stability and delivery for our businesses/services, staff and customers. We take these decisions with a heightened level of awareness of the need for effectiveness, efficiency and in the moment risk-management.

We all felt this shift, internally we had to shift our approach to engaging with our Clients staff, partners and residents. Like most people, we thrive off collaborating with people, and our natural instinct is to engage with people in person – its why we love doing what we do! Yet, overnight our world, like everyone else’s changed. We had to respond, ensuring we could still do what we love, safely, and still deliver for our clients and residents. We moved to technological solutions as well as practical/tactical methods of maintaining engagement with large numbers of people in the absence of being able to collaborate face to face. This responsiveness to changing approach was not unique to C.Co and continual learning and adapting was mirrored in the organisations we are working with.

C.Co’s work alongside the public sector since the Coronavirus hit shone a spotlight for us onto how responsive, adaptive and effective public services can be when there is no option but to react.

This ability to react and co-design solutions with clients really highlighted to us the importance of what we do through stable, and increasingly unstable times. What also really surprised us is the willingness of, particularly staff and residents, to still want to engage in the design of future public service delivery, despite everything that is going on.

We are in the midst of a library consultation for one of the largest unitary councils in the country and despite coronavirus, we received over 5000 responses and hundreds of offers to speak to co-design the future service offer. People care about the future of public services, possibly now, more than ever.

Whilst we all know deep down that the rebuild of public services post pandemic must not be based on what was, but what is needed, there is equally a risk that we will overlook actually asking residents what is needed, what is valued, what hasn’t been missed, what is critical.

Our experience has shown us that right now, in this moment, people want to tell us and we have the mechanisms and experience to hear them. We help organisations collaborate, during the good times and the challenging. We believe positive collaboration can help organisations meet the challenges they face and work to create public services that are designed by people and deliver for people. We help clients understand and engage their communities, shape their vision for public services and prioritise action to deliver change at scale and pace