How to strengthen collaboration between agencies to improve management of covid-19
”The ongoing pandemic is managed primarily by medical care services, municipalities, the National Board of Health and Welfare, and the Public Health Agency of Sweden, but the pandemic has consequences right across society: the economy and jobs, social dimensions, and what we call essential services. This means that there is a large number of government agencies that are affected in one way or another by the pandemic, and that we have to work effectively together and coordinate our work. It is really important that we try to develop our activities and our collaboration, so that we can be as strong as possible together in the autumn,” says Camilla Asp, head of MSB’s department for crisis preparedness and civil defence.
”The areas for improvement that we see involve making adjustments to ongoing efforts. Affected stakeholders at the national, regional and local levels are working flat out to manage the crisis with hard-pressed resources, and for that reason the need for adjustments must be met in a structured way that doesn’t hamper current efforts. That’s why our focus is on measures that are plausible and have a quick effect,” Camilla Asp continues.
Examples of areas for improvement:
- More coherent communication with the general public. We need to reinforce joint communication to make it clear and coordinated.
- Businesses need to be given better conditions for contributing. This includes trying to highlight needs well in advance and making it clear which agencies are responsible for what.
- Support for long-term perspectives on the pandemic. Scenarios are needed as a basis for planning. Volunteers can be used to relieve existing personnel to a greater extent than they are now.
- Coordinate efforts by generating situational snapshots at different levels. Review reporting procedures and paths; municipalities and regions are among those finding that they are giving the same information to several different agencies. At the same time they are asking for more feedback in the form of situational snapshots.
Today, 6 July 2020, MSB was commissioned by the government to draw up a plan for actions that may be necessary at different stages of a possible second outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic.
The commission includes assessing what operations may become necessary within MSB’s area of responsibility, and drawing up a plan for how these operations are to be carried out in a possible second outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. The assessments are to be based on scenarios that the Public Health Agency of Sweden is charged with preparing, for how the spread of infection may develop in the autumn.
The commission is to be carried out in close collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Sweden, the National Board of Health and Welfare, the Medical Products Agency, and county administrative boards, all of which have received similar commissions in the same area. MSB is also to maintain a dialogue with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR).
”The government’s commission provides good support for the focus areas for improvement of crisis management related to covid-19 that we formulated in June along with other agencies, SALAR and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, using lessons learned in the spring to strengthen continued management of the pandemic,” says Camilla Asp, head of MSB’s department for crisis preparedness and civil defence.
How have we done?
All designated monitoring agencies (around 40 national agencies and 21 county administrative boards) provided feedback on what works well and what can be improved in terms of collaboration and coordination between agencies. We also asked SALAR, parts of the business community, and volunteer defence organisations to provide feedback. With this feedback as a basis, MSB formulated suggestions for different areas for improvement. All the designated monitoring agencies were then given the opportunity to comment on the suggestions. This means that the focus areas selected have broad support among different stakeholders.