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In recent years, government has had to contend with multiple crises, from the Covid pandemic to major increases in energy costs. Ministers and civil servants have often had to work in crisis mode – making major policy decisions at speed, rapidly deploying staff, and developing new systems. But the potential for further crises looms large, especially given continued international instability. And government is still dealing with the lingering effects of previous shocks, particularly Covid, on key public services. This means that government must be ready for future shocks, while managing the impact of previous ones – and it must do all of this while continuing to deliver on day-to-day priorities.
So how can government do this? What lessons should it learn from the experience of recent crises? Is it effectively identifying and managing risk, so that it stands ready to address future shocks? And what does government need to ensure that it can still make progress on its day-to-day priorities?
To discuss these questions, the Institute for Government brought together:
- Alex Chisholm, Chief Operating Officer for the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office
- Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, whose seventh Chair's Annual Report examining these themes was published the morning of 6 June
This event was chaired by Dr Hannah White, Director of the Institute for Government.