UK local government experience of COVID-19 lockdown: local responses to global challenges

Machin, R. ORCID: 0000-0003-2296-2123, 2023. UK local government experience of COVID-19 lockdown: local responses to global challenges. Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit. ISSN 0269-0942

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Local authorities in the United Kingdom played an integral role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. During a time of unprecedented crisis, local authorities acted quickly to strengthen local governance arrangements and to deliver frontline services.

The public health emergency created unparalleled challenges for local authorities. This paper reflects on the experience of Nottingham City Council, a local authority in the East Midlands of England. It draws on an in-depth interview with the then Deputy Leader of the authority and the chair of the Outbreak Control Engagement Board, and the publicly available minutes from this committee. This paper places the specific experiences of this local authority in a broader context reflecting on emergency planning, best practice, and legacy. It contributes to understanding the national impact of COVID-19 on local government.

Four key themes emerge from this analysis: first central government was too slow in responding to the emerging crisis and communication with local government was poor, second the local authority quickly moved online but there has subsequently been a return to pre-pandemic working practices, third local government played a critical role in supporting vulnerable citizens despite huge budgetary pressures, and finally relationships between partners was crucial in achieving positive outcomes.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit
Creators: Machin, R.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date: 8 June 2023
ISSN: 0269-0942
Rights: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 14 Jun 2023 10:00
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 10:00

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