COVID-19 and the Public Service

Briefing note | 17 June 2020
Besides health and education workers, all public servants play a role in halting the spread and recovering from the pandemic. This is true regardless of their occupation: whether in the administration of the state like tax collectors, police or correctional officers; implementing economic and social policies like labour inspectors; providing services to the community like waste collectors; or supporting compulsory social security systems like social workers. As custodians of public goods, public servants are indispensable conduits for the recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the crucial importance of disaster preparedness and that private-sector partners cannot manage alone the scope of interventions needed now.

This brief seeks to summarize the main ongoing discussions regarding the role of governments and public servants as the face of the response to the crisis, and their challenges during the pandemic and in the recovery. As a global public good, the multilateral system must help coordinate and strengthen public services, essential in the global response as are scientific research and health services.