The response to Covid has redefined partnership working across the Tyne. Newcastle City Council has worked closely with the North of Tyne Combined Authority and other local authorities.
The response to Covid has redefined partnership working across the Tyne. Newcastle City Council has worked closely with the North of Tyne Combined Authority and other local authorities. The Combined Authority has played a strategic convening role and provided analytical capacity to develop insights and co-ordinate recovery planning. Newcastle has engaged across multiple political geographies to promote the city's and wider region's interests. The use of digital and insight has been prominent across the council’s approach to recovery and has been deployed in innovative ways to support both reactive and long-term planning.
At a city level, Newcastle’s Covid Control Plan, set out a collaborative approach towards preventative measures for new COVID outbreaks as well as for response and control. The plan has been delivered through well-established partnerships, working across 7 key themes: planning for local outbreaks in schools and care homes; identifying high risk places; local testing; local and regional contact tracing; data integration; support for vulnerable people; local boards. The North East LEP developed a response to Covid in September 2020, with a £2.8 billion recovery and renewal deal proposed to the government. The bold proposal reflects the scale of the challenge that Covid has brought and is framed around a five-point plan:
- Connected North East
- Job Recovery
- Community and Place
- Support businesses
- Building the economy of the future
Newcastle City Futures (NCF), formed of partners from public, private and third sectors, has established a central role in recovery planning, sitting on top of the Covid control board. The NCF have developed genuine city-wide plans, making use of the UN sustainable development goals to measure key outcomes.
Existing investment in data infrastructure has been beneficial for Newcastle, both in planning and early identification of Covid outbreaks. The local business community, Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and NE1, have fed in regular survey data on hospitality, retail and footfall, supporting the recovery process. Investment in the digital agenda continues to be prioritised.
The council developed a highly successful tool to monitor and provide live information to it residents through howbusyistoon.com. The website was produced and is maintained collaboratively by Newcastle City Council, NE1, Newcastle University, Urban Observatory, National innovation centre for data and hedgehog lab – all local partners. The tool provides useful information including safety information, shops and restaurant updates and travel and parking. Local residents have expressed positive views related to both the collaborative approach and its impact; improving consumer confidence when visiting their city.