An independent review into the response to COVID-19 in Walsall has shown that partnership working was a dominant feature, essential to meet the challenges that were presented to the community during the pandemic.
The review conducted by the Institute for Community Research and Development at the University of Wolverhampton describes how Walsall’s partnership approach enabled people and resources to be mobilised quickly, setting aside organisational boundaries to support and protect Walsall’s most vulnerable residents.
The review highlights strong and effective leadership from Walsall Council, a spirit of shared endeavour and a shared sense of purpose amongst partner organisations from across the Borough.
It goes onto describe that many elected members of the Council offered crucial and significant leadership and visibility within their communities.
Councillor Gary Flint, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing said:
“It is really important that we learn from our experiences during the pandemic. Sadly there were people in Walsall who lost their lives to Covid and my heart goes out to their loved ones.”
“Walsall Council and our partners have faced unprecedented challenges over the last two and a half years. This report shows that working together we have responded effectively and I want to thank all of those staff, partners and elected members who worked long hours to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on people living across the Borough.”
Data for the review, which was commissioned by Walsall Council, was collected at the beginning of this year from a series of in depth interviews.
Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health said:
“The review sets out how together Walsall responded. We worked collaboratively from the beginning of the pandemic. We built on relationships that were already in place and created new partnerships which I am eternally grateful for. Covid hasn’t gone away and we still have work to do to ensure that we engage with all of our communities in the most effective way to protect residents from Covid and from any future crises that we may face.”
The review highlights that the response to the pandemic evidenced multiple examples of agile, innovative and resilient local governance in the face of a crisis. It details the challenges that were experienced in engaging with Walsall’s diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities and the important role played by Community Associations.
Learning from this review will help to ensure that multi-agency work is further developed to support the response to future crises.
Notes to editor:
To read the full review go to: https://www.wlv.ac.uk/media/departments/research/icrd/22.-COVID-Review_Final-Report_July-2022.pdf