Government has not put in place ‘detailed contingency plans’ for pandemic, according to National Audit Office Bedford News

The government was not as prepared as it could have been for the Covid pandemic, the National Audit Office found (Photo: Shutterstock)

The government was not as prepared as it could have been for the Covid pandemic, the National Audit Office (NAO) found.

The spending watchdog said when the coronavirus first hit the country in early spring last year, the government “lacked detailed contingency plans to deal with the ongoing situation.”

This included identifying those who needed to protect themselves, as well as dealing with massive disruptions to schooling, the NAO said.

The NAO also said there had been problems setting up employment support programs and that communications had not always been clear and timely, guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) changing 30 times until the end of July 2020.

The report also states that there has not always been a clear audit trail to support PPE contract award decisions.

However, the NAO report said there were also examples of “impressive” national and local responses, including the successful deployment of the Covid vaccine.

The NAO said that in the future, officials should make better use of data, improve the resilience of key services and take a better approach to prepare for crises.

“ The risk of worsening inequalities ”

As of March of this year, the government had spent £ 372 billion to help tackle the health crisis, with the NAO now warning that money spent so far in response to the pandemic could impact sustainability long-term public finances. .

The NAO has now urged ministers to come up with ideas to avoid “widening” the inequalities caused by the pandemic.

The report states: “While the response to the pandemic has allowed new lessons to be learned from what has worked well and what has not worked well, it has also exposed existing loopholes within society, as the risk of worsening inequalities, and within the public, service delivery and government itself. “

NAO chief Gareth Davies said: “COVID-19 has forced the government to respond to an exceptionally difficult and rapidly evolving threat. There is much to be learned from the successes and failures of the government’s response and this report is our first contribution to that. treat.

“Applying these lessons is not only important for the remaining phases of the current pandemic, but should also help better prepare the UK for future emergencies.”

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This notice was published: 2021-05-19 05:26:50