We have seen many challenges emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the challenge of running our public services one of the most difficult and recognisable. Yet throughout the pandemic, particularly during the first lockdown, we saw communities come together and relationships strengthened at a time of crisis.

This new report sets out an approach to local governing that fosters strong relationships. This involves building relationships between council service professionals and the people they are supporting, between councils and the community at large, and between local citizens themselves.

The report argues that ‘relational local government’ has three core pillars:

  • Genuine power sharing
  • Spaces for connection
  • Consistent and open communication

We have found a number of barriers that make it difficult for local government to achieve these pillars, so our report sets out a number of recommendations – for both central government and councils – to overcome these barriers and unlock relational local government for all.