Gove's suggestion on non-statutory services won't work

By Mo Baines | 04 February 2022

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove recently suggested that councils could look to deprioritise non-statutory services; suggesting it would help them manage any COVID pressures including staff absences. It seems the Minister is rather late to the party on this issue (okay a rather unfortunate analogy....)

Throughout the pandemic councils have utilised staff secondments between services to fill in gaps left by staff absences or to ensure COVID-safe measures. In areas like refuse and recycling, council staff, ordinarily deployed in other services such as parks, were drafted in to ensure service continuity. When leisure centres closed not only were the assets repurposed as food distribution centres, testing sites or vaccination centre so too leisure staff were repurposed to support the pandemic response.

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