5 tips for post-COVID local economic recovery plans

Updated: Sep 29

Post-COVID economies face questions that are fundamental to their future. How will people live and work as restrictions on movement end? Which industries will rise and fall? And where will they call home? Effective recovery plans must embrace these uncertainties. Here’s how…

Colleagues building wall of ideas

Effective recovery plans are living documents. They direct public resources to where they best support the economy in the present. They coral business and community players. And they position the local area for post-recession opportunities and trends. But how do you know where we are and what the future holds? Lots of scenario planning and focused monitoring of data…

  1. Make a framework for decisions - not a vague list of priorities. Show how the crisis affected existing strategies and provide a clear logic for intervention over the short and medium terms. It should set out roles and responsibilities, arrangements for review and refinement.

  2. Embrace post-recession uncertainty and plan for different scenarios. War-game plausible scenarios and integrate them into your appraisal criteria for interventions. They should build from known uncertainties about the socio-economic context – e.g. overseas travel restrictions.

  3. Focus 'now-casting' on routes to impact and emerging trends. As a live document, a recovery plan should be underpinned by focused data monitoring, not a point-in time ‘data dump’. The goal is early confirmation or dismissal of trends relevant to decision-makers.

  4. Seek out the broadest range of stakeholder perspectives. You need access to timely, real-world knowledge of developments. But don’t rely on others coming to you. This will skew engagement towards existing relationships and those with the resources for civic involvement.

  5. Guard against ‘square-pegging’ of existing projects. Do prioritise shovel-ready schemes and scaling up live projects if the evidence supports their value to a recovery. But don’t overlook new, higher-impact interventions if these better fit the context.

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