2 September 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic exemplifies the systemic nature of today’s crises and the severe effect they can have on our societies and economies. These crises unfold in a fragmented institutional context, leaving central governments with fewer levers to activate in a crisis and more actors to engage with, from the private sector to local governments and civil society (OECD, 2018[1]). Managing such crises and addressing their socio-economic consequences requires audacious policy action to maintain functioning healthcare systems, guarantee the continuity of education, preserve businesses and jobs, and maintain the stability of financial markets. Political leadership at the centre is essential to sustain the complex political, social and economic balance of adopting containment measures to reduce the impact of the pandemic while ensuring the provision of essential services. Such leadership is essential for maintaining citizens’ trust in government. Simultaneously addressing these various competing policy objectives requires a dual approach working across government “silos”. This is necessary to promote national resilience and preserve well-being with agile and innovative responses at the highest level, while co-ordinating and collaborating with lower levels of government and a large array of stakeholders.

Institutions comprising the centre of government (CoG) have played an important role in several countries during this current crisis – either directly through CoG bodies or by supporting decision-making bodies and co-ordination mechanisms (see Box 1).

The increasing capacities of centres of government in strategic planning and co-ordination place CoGs at a critical juncture to manage government operations in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. In this context, CoGs have to play both a leadership and a supportive convening role, but are they fully equipped to address the crisis?

In the event of a crisis, centres of government most commonly focus on the management and co-ordination of government operations (OECD, 2018[2]). In the 2017 Survey on the Organisation and Functions of the Centre of Government, the OECD found that 83% of CoGs assumed some responsibility for risk management, with over a third assuming primary responsibility (OECD, 2018[2]). Despite these figures, only around 10% of CoGs listed “risk management and strategic foresight for the whole of government” as a key responsibility of the centre (see Figure 1). In other words, although CoGs very often assume some or primary responsibility for risk management and strategic foresight, it is rarely considered to be their “bread and butter”. The reporting structures of national frameworks for crisis management can also shed light on the traditional role of the CoG in the event of a crisis. The OECD Survey on the Governance of Critical Risks found that in 13 out of 34 respondents, the lead institution reports directly to the Head of Government, while 19 report through a minister (OECD, 2018[1]).

The response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic exemplifies the ways in which governments adapt their crisis management to a complex crisis and institutional landscape. In particular, governments have often developed complementary approaches to traditional emergency management procedures, led or supported by the centre of government. They had to do so as they were facing many “unknown unknowns”. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic became an iconic example of the sort of Black Swan events identified by Nicholas Taieb, unpredictable events of an extreme rarity that generate potentially severe societal consequences that lay beyond the realm of what is normally expected of such an occurrence (Taieb, 2007[5])

This paper raises some key questions around three types of government initiatives during the COVID-19 crisis where centres of government have often played a major role in the frontline:

  1. 1. Institutional arrangements for the management and co-ordination of government operations during the crisis, including appointing co-ordinators and creating new (or repurposing existing) administrative structures.

  2. 2. Setting up specific institutional mechanisms for evidence uptake, including the use or creation of networks to co-ordinate and share scientific advice to feed into the decision-making process.

  3. 3. Development of measures to ensure effective and coherent communication to the public.

Faced with an unprecedented public health crisis and its dire cascading economic and social consequences, governments across the world have been tasked with responding rapidly, efficiently and coherently to a series of challenges – from co-ordinating emergency responses to managing the immediate economic fallout due to lockdown measures, and determining a timeline and scope for lifting lockdown measures. Before the crisis, most OECD countries had some form of national framework for crisis management, often rooted in civil protection mechanisms, with the aim to strengthen whole-of-government responses for multiple hazards and threats (OECD, 2018[1]). In most cases, these national frameworks were set up in the aftermath of major crises in the last decade for which government and risk management systems were not properly prepared. However, very few OECD countries had faced a pandemic in recent decades, except for the SARS epidemic, which affected countries such as Canada, Korea or Singapore. Due to their past memory of SARS, these countries were better prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the H1N1 pandemic in the early 2010s proved less severe than anticipated, leading many OECD countries to reduce their investment in the preparedness efforts in the following years, and or to downplay the threat at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. While the general crisis management frameworks proved useful for the coronavirus crisis in some countries, the novelty, the severity, and the global nature of this new pandemic took many by surprise. This led many governments either to set up new structures or to adopt hybrid approaches using existing and new set-ups, both to manage the health and economic emergencies, and later to lead the deconfinement efforts.

The structures used by governments in the first phase of the crisis overwhelmingly focussed on the co-ordination of the coronavirus (COVID-19) policy response. Over time, their functions were adapted to facilitate the monitoring of developments of the crisis while gradually planning for recovery. However, responsibility for risk management and vertical co-ordination with supranational bodies and subnational levels of government were rarely explicitly identified as one of the primary functions of the emergency cabinets and crisis committees managing national responses to the pandemic, even if these were key functions of the CoG. While foresight is an important (and often under-developed) area of the CoG, it is not usually a primary part of the emergency response team itself. Rather, the CoG can instruct the emergency response team to collaborate with the government’s foresight unit (which may or may not be housed within the CoG) to bring foresight into crisis decision-making.

Many countries appointed a co-ordinator or single point of contact to articulate more clearly the national response horizontally across different ministries, sectors, and jurisdictions.

  • In a few countries, the co-ordinator was appointed from within the centre of government:

    • In Argentina, Article 1 of the Decree 287/2020 designated the chief of the Cabinet of Ministers to co-ordinate different jurisdictions and organisations of the public sector to implement the measures and policies recommended by the National Health authority (Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina, 2020[6]).

    • Similarly, in Italy, the head of the Department of Civil Protection, located at the Prime Minister’s office, was designated as special commissioner for the COVID-19 emergency on 31 January 2020 (SKYtg24, 2020[7]).

    • In Latvia, the Director of the State Chancellery was appointed head of the inter-institutional co-ordination management group set up on 10 July 2020 by the Prime Minister.

    • The limited number of countries that have opted to appoint a Co-ordinator from within the centre of government is somewhat paradoxical, given that co-ordination is one of the core responsibilities of centres of government.

  • Most countries that appointed co-ordinators have opted to designate officials from outside the centre of government, even if those were working closely with structures at the centre. This approach offers two possible advantages: first, benefiting from specific expertise particularly relevant to the crisis (in healthcare and public health, or local government, etc.), and second, allowing the CoG to keep “steering the ship” for the medium and long-term without getting overwhelmed by the immediate crisis.

    • In the United States and in Ireland, for instance, the appointed co-ordinators are public health officials (U.S. Department of State, 2020[8]).

    • Other countries, such as Colombia have designated officials with a background in trade and economic issues (Dinero, 2020[9]). While in the very beginning of the crisis the Colombian delivery unit was tasked with the management of government operations, the unit soon stepped back to focus on its core responsibility: monitoring and implementing medium-term (2021-2022) goals and priorities. With the arrival of a Covid-19 co-ordinator, the Colombian CoG thus limited its contribution to loaning staff to the co-ordinator, creating routines and work plans, and focused its energy on re-evaluating medium-term goals and objectives in this new context. The inclusion of a co-ordinator external to the CoG nevertheless had some drawbacks, notably in terms of knowledge of the procurement system in the public sector.

    • These variations in the background of co-ordinators can also be useful to tease out countries’ underlying approaches to the crisis and priorities. France appointed a specific co-ordinator for the “déconfinement strategy”, with a background in the Health Ministry as an inter-departmental delegate for the Olympics, as well as experience as a Mayor and in local government issues, and who could therefore grasp the many aspects and dimensions involved in deconfinement at all levels of government (France Info, 2020[10]). President Emmanuel Macron subsequently appointed the deconfinement co-ordinator, Jean Castex, as Prime Minister.

  • In some countries, individuals become co-ordinators automatically by virtue of their position within the government. In Japan for instance, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management becomes the de facto co-ordinator by law (Government of Japan, 1947[11]).

Given the complexity of the pandemic and its multiple consequences, governments have had to adapt quickly and ensure that appropriate capacity for co-ordination was in place. Emergency institutional arrangements to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic broadly fall into four categories:

  • ad hoc arrangements,

  • existing structures adapted to the crisis,

  • temporary structures provided for by crisis-management plans, policies, or laws on national security and

  • a hybrid approach, combining two or three of aforementioned mechanisms.

These institutions report mostly to the Prime Minister or the President, with a minority under the authority of the ministry of health and the ministry of the interior in which the CoG plays a more supporting role. Overall, these government responses reflect the need for agility to move up crisis decision-making at a high level, with support provided for by existing structures.

  • From an OECD desk review of cases, most countries have deployed ad hoc structures, created solely to manage the current pandemic1. For instance:

    • The President of Chile chaired the first meeting of the Intersectoral Committee for Coronavirus on 5 March 2020, with the presence of the Minister of Health and undersecretaries of all government portfolios (Gobierno de Chile - Ministerio de Salud, 2020[12]). The Intersectoral Committee is tasked with anticipating the next steps and co-ordinating measures to protect the population.

    • Similarly, in Australia, the newly established National Cabinet was formed at a meeting of the Council of the Australian Government on 13 March 2020 (Government of Australia-Prime Minister’s office, 2020[13]). This extraordinary cabinet consists of the Prime Minister, the State Premiers and Chief Ministers of territories (Tulich, 2020[14]), and is advised by the Australian Health Protection Principals Committee led by the Chief Medical Officer and the National Co-ordination Mechanism based in the Home Office. (Government of Australia-Prime Minister’s office, 2020[13]).

  • A smaller number of countries have adapted existing structures to tackle this specific crisis, rather than forming new institutional entities. These structures commonly take the shape of national disaster/risk management institutions, rooted in civil protection approaches, or national security councils.

    • In Italy for instance, the Civil Protection Department, created in 1982 and supervised by the Prime Minister’s Office, is now mandated with managing the country’s approach to the COVID-19 outbreak (Government of Italy - Department of Civil Protection, 2020[15]). Within the department, an operational committee exists to ensure the co-ordination of all activities of the National Civil Protection Service.

    • In Belgium, the National Security Council chaired by the Prime Minister and composed of the Deputy Prime Ministers and the minister-presidents of the regions, was charged with COVID-related decision-making. These decisions were then concretised by other units, and co-ordinated by the National Crisis Centre (NCCN) located in the Service Publique Fédéral Intérieur (equivalent to the Ministry of Interior) (Government of Belgium, 2020[16]).

  • A few countries have deployed temporary, time-bound structures provided for in national security laws or existing strategic plans for large-scale crises.

    • In France for instance, the Cellule Interministérielle de Crise (CIC) was convened by the Prime Minister on 17 March 2020 as part of the standard crisis management process (Jauvert, 2020[17]). The CIC is responsible for co-ordinating the action of all the ministries pertinent to the crisis (Premier Ministre, 2012[18]) and was led by the Prime Minister’s cabinet director (Ouest-France, 2020[19]). The French government has also made extensive use of specific “defence cabinet meetings”, which help to bring in a core restricted set of Ministers and highest level officials to reach important decisions (Government of France - Elysée, 2020[20]). In some countries, such as Latvia, the law on national security sets out the conditions for convening the key operational level co-ordinating body during a state of emergency, in this case the Crisis Management Council chaired by the Prime Minister (SAIEMA, 2000[21]). Following the state of emergency, the inter-institutional co-ordination management group established by the Prime Minister and lead by the Director of the State Chancellery was created on 10 July 2020.

    • Similarly in Singapore, during the 2003 SARS outbreak, the country convened a ministerial committee with representatives from across multiple government agencies to manage the crisis (Lin, Lee and Lye, 2020[22]). These crisis management structures have been used since then, with ministerial committees being convened in 2009 during the H1N1 pandemic, and in 2016 during the Zika outbreak. On 22 January 2020, a similar time-bound ministerial task force was set up to manage the COVID-19 outbreak (Hsu and Tan, 2020[23]).

  • Finally, many countries have adopted a hybrid approach, combining ad hoc, temporary and/or pre-existing mechanisms to spearhead the government crisis.

    • With the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, the German Federal Government very quickly changed its way of working and implemented a clear working structure based on flat hierarchies and rapid escalation stages. The regular cabinet meetings were supplemented by two weekly special meetings of the “Corona Cabinet”. In addition to the regular cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the so-called small Corona Cabinet met on Mondays, chaired by the Chancellor and composed of the Federal Ministers of Finance, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Health and the Head of the Federal Chancellery. On Thursdays, the so-called large Corona Cabinet met, where, in addition to the participants of the small Corona Cabinet of Monday, all ministers responsible for the topics to be dealt with, were invited. In addition to the Corona Cabinets, a joint crisis management team was established in the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of the Interior to deal directly with other operational issues. These include the practical implementation of the decisions of the Corona Cabinets and dealing with requests for assistance from the state governments/Länder. For the procurement of masks and medical aids, a procurement staff team composed of experts from the Ministry of Finance, the Federal Foreign Office, and liaison officers from German companies with expertise in international business was set up in the Federal Ministry of Health.

    • In the United States, the government convened the White House Coronavirus Task Force led by Vice-President Pence to manage testing, protective equipment supplies and mitigation efforts (Government of the United States of America - White House, 2020[24]), while also mobilising the President’s Management Council, co-ordinated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), with agency Deputy Secretaries as Chief Operating Officers. This group met daily for the first month and was still meeting three times per week in early summer 2020, to co-ordinate the smooth running of the administration.

    • In Lithuania, in response to the need for addressing the multidimensional challenges created by the pandemic, the Government decided to adapt the existing Emergency Situations Operations Centre, which was headed by the Health Minister according to the law on civil protection (LRT, 2020[25]). As a result, the Government established an Emergency Situations Committee headed by the Prime Minister (Jačauskas and Skėrytė, 2020[26]). The committee is mandated to help the government, the Emergency Situations Commission and the Head of Emergency Situation Operations Centre in managing a state-level emergency.

    • Similarly, in the United Kingdom the civil contingencies committee (informally called COBRA as a reference to the Cabinet Office Briefing Room in which it gathers), chaired by the Prime Minister or an appointed Senior Minister, plans government responses in times of emergency (Haddon, 2020[27]). It is supported by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat based in the Cabinet Office. In addition to this mechanism, in March 2020, four new implementation committees were formed to monitor the situation and refine the measures taken by COBRA in their respective fields: healthcare, general public sector, economic business and international relations (United Kingdom Government, 2020[28]).

Overall, the structures used by governments to manage the pandemic denote the complexity of this crisis in which central governments must contend with multiple stakeholders. It appears that traditional emergency management, based on standard protocols and procedures have thus become insufficient. In addition to and sometimes in lieu of these standard operating procedures, complementary approaches were deployed to face the pandemic and its dire consequences. This trend reflects the findings of the 2018 OECD report, “Assessing Global Progress in the Governance of Critical Risks”. Indeed, the report found that “(w)hile pre-prepared emergency plans triggered by early-warning systems can be valuable for familiar contingencies, these should be complemented by more agile partnerships across a multi-stakeholder emergency network and by capacities to make sense of complexity and to provide meaning to citizens with renewed crisis communication approaches” (OECD, 2018[1]).

All these mechanisms have played a key role in ensuring a compact organisation of the machinery of government in response to COVID-19. The multiplication of mechanisms to manage and co-ordinate government responses to the crisis, while useful for gathering and sharing information and for making policy decisions, can create several governance challenges, including internal co-ordination between those bodies and, especially in federal states, across levels of government, to prevent gaps and overlap and drive coherence in approach. Ensuring coherence of policy decisions at the centre and a uniform application of these decisions across sub-national jurisdictions has been crucial to attain effectiveness, in a context of staggering economic costs due to lockdown measures.

  • In France for instance, a report recommended merging existing crisis management cells to adapt to the new circumstances generated by the end of the lockdown (Castex, 2020[29]). As such on 19 May 2020, the Prime Minister’s office announced that the Cellule Interministérielle de Crise would be replaced by a Centre Interministériel de Crise under the leadership of Prefect Denis Robin (Ouest-France, 2020[19]). The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health are to be fully integrated into this organisation and the various territorial networks will be systematically brought together.

  • In some countries, the crisis has fostered new levels of co-ordination, hence facilitating achievements that many public governance reforms had taken years to accomplish. In Australia the National Cabinet, established in March 2020 to respond to the crisis, will replace the Council of Australian Government (COAG), as the primary forum for state and territory leaders to work with the federal government (Karp, 2020[30]). Where COAG met twice annually, National Cabinet initially met multiple times each week before establishing a rhythm of twice-weekly, and later fortnightly, meetings. This frequency of meetings, and its shared sense of purpose, allowed the National Cabinet to be a more agile and co-operative forum and to be more effective for delivering co-ordinated action and clear messaging in the national interest than the COAG structure (Government of Australia - Prime Minister’s office, 2020[31]). In particular, the Australian Prime Minister stressed that the National Cabinet was a leaner body, which allowed the government to streamline processes and ensure quicker decision-making.

Often, crises have a useful role to help overcome organisational silos with a shared sense of urgency, which is often hard to replicate when government face more traditional issues competing for attention. The CoG’s ability to transfer knowledge acquired during one type of crisis to another will become decisive as the rate, scope and extent of crises facing our societies increase. In this regard, the experience of Singapore in the aftermath of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak is notable. Indeed, while COVID-19 and SARS are very different diseases, with different global impacts, the time-bound structures established during SARS were replicated to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, allowing for a more pro-active response resulting in a relatively low mortality rate. In fact, in a number of jurisdictions and economies, such as Singapore, Korea, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan, the pre-existing experience of the SARS crisis led to a much higher degree of preparedness, and to greater resilience in adapting to the current crisis.

As mentioned above, the scope of CoG-led co-ordination of the response to Covid-19 with sub-national governments varies across countries. Much of the debate has focused on the comparative advantages of a centralised over a federal political system and vice-versa (OECD, 2020[32]) (Cockerham and Crew Jr., 2020[33]). The degree of vertical co-ordination led by the CoG, regardless of the nature of the political system, helps shape a country’s response. In many countries, the quality of vertical co-ordination has been a key determinant in the effectiveness of the response to the health and economic crisis. (OECD, 2020[32]) Indeed, sub-national authorities are responsible for crucial aspects of crisis management, in particular those related to containment measures, health care, social services, and economic development. The asymmetric impact of the pandemic, and the distribution of responsibilities among levels of government thus requires a high degree of vertical co-ordination (OECD, 2020[32]).

Current evidence suggests that in cases where the CoG plays a role in co-ordinating the response, this role tends to be modulated by two factors: 1) whether sub-national governments are represented in the decision-making bodies managing the crisis and 2) whether substantial institutional mechanisms for co-ordinating with sub-national units were in place before the crisis, and the degree to which sub-national governments themselves possess the administrative, fiscal and technical capacity to engage effectively with the national government in implementing response strategies.

  • Some countries have put in place mechanisms to co-ordinate with sub-national units, notably through the inclusion of sub-national representatives in the decision-making bodies managing the crisis.

    • In Germany, a co-operative federal system, a large number of co-ordinating bodies between the federal and state level sought to ensure coherence in the German approach: the conference of Minister-Presidents, the conference of health ministers, and finally the joint situation centre of the federal government and the Länder (Klafki, 2020[34]).

    • In Belgium, also a federation, both the National Security Council and the Federal Co-ordination Committee have been extended to include the Minister-Presidents of the Regions and Communities (Government of Belgium, 2020[16]). This is also the case for the National Cabinet in Australia (See above).

    • Likewise in Spain, under the state of emergency, four national level ministers (Health, Interior, Transportation and Defence) supervised by the Prime Minister assume all COVID-related decision-making.

    • Countries in which sub-national authorities are not members of the decision-making bodies managing the pandemic have attested to a number of challenges in pursuing vertical co-ordination during the crisis. In Poland for instance, while the central government was in charge of the strategic response, managing the consequences/implementation were in the hands of local government. This led to a number of tensions, especially related to educational measures, and the end of lockdown measures.

    • Similarly, in Colombia, local mayors sought to interpret the rules enacted by the central government in their own way, leading to some inconsistencies. To minimise discrepancies, the President therefore started delivering daily television addresses.

  • Many governments, which opted not to include sub-national authorities in the emergency committees or structures managing the crisis, nevertheless deployed substantial mechanisms of vertical co-ordination led by the CoG. For instance:

    • To co-ordinate its response across levels of government, Italy relied on the well-regarded Civil Protection Agency. (OECD, 2010[35]) Each of Italy’s 20 regions have emergency departments, as well as emergency units made up of volunteers. Italy initially relied on those units in the absence of dedicated health units. The heads of regions also held daily meetings with the Prime Minister.

    • In France, sub-national authorities are not represented in the Cellule Interministerielle de Crise (Premier Ministre, 2012[18]), however, decisions are communicated at the local level to the Prefets de Zones de Défense through the Centre Opérationnel de Gestion Interministerielle de Crise (COGIC) situated in the Ministry of the Interior (Premier Ministre, 2012[18]). The regional health agencies have also de facto operated as “local health prefects” to co-ordinate health related matters at the local level. In the French case, centralised administrations rely on vertical co-operation, with scaling up mechanisms that automatically activate when local capacities lack the ability to manage the crisis on their own (OECD, 2018[1]).

    • In the Republic of Korea, although sub-national authorities are not members of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, sub-national Centres for Epidemic Countermeasures were established to co-ordinate with the central government (Government of the Republic of Korea, 2020[36]).

The crisis put governments in a challenging situation where they had to ensure clear, trusted and legitimate decision-making processes informed by the best available evidence, while there were many “unknown unknowns” and the time allowed for dialogue and gathering information was extremely limited. In many cases, this was seen as the best possible approach to deal with such a high level of uncertainty. Issues such as trust in government and trust in expert advice, and the boundary between the experts and the political decision-making interface were brought to the fore by the crisis. Governments were faced with the need to synthesise information from multiple sources and actors, and to use it to feed into governments’ plans and responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The pandemic has also challenged government capacities to co-ordinate the quality of evidence, to collect and understand the data as well as to share science and information across countries (OECD, 2020[37]). Many of these challenges were tackled at the highest level through requests from Head of Government’s offices and/or line ministries for scientific advice and technical expertise.

The current section examines the institutional set ups that were organised to ensure that centres of government could use scientific advice across countries: their institutional arrangements, functions, and composition and how evidence is gathered, applied and integrated into decision-making processes at the highest level of government in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The role of evidence also extends to strategic foresight, the use of which to improve decision making during and beyond the crisis is also discussed. Finally, this section discusses the good governance of evidence matters to maintain citizens’ trust in public institutions, which in turn bolsters the effectiveness of government responses to the crisis.

Political leaders have requested scientific advice and technical expertise to understand and respond to the current crisis (OECD, 2020[38]), but many countries have had to set up specific mechanisms at arm’s length from the government, (OECD, 2017[39]) with often a direct link to the centre of government. In many cases, policymakers rely on expertise provided by scientific advisory committees, taskforces or expert groups, whereof some were created on an ad hoc basis, while others pre-date the current crisis. A majority of these committees report to the President, Prime Minister, and/or the Ministry of Health.

  • A number of Heads of Government established ad hoc institutional arrangements to gather scientific advice. Often taking the form of scientific task forces, panels of experts or scientific committees, these ad hoc arrangements convened by the governments provide relevant scientific knowledge and data. For instance, in Argentina an ad hoc scientific committee reports directly to the President on topics related COVID-diagnosis and research on the outbreak (Government of Argentina, 2020[40]). Similar committees were established in Colombia and Spain.

  • Most of the ad hoc committees or panels were created to support line ministries at the national level, in particular the ministry of health or social affairs. The scientific task forces established in Austria, Chile, France, and Greece perform these duties. At the local level, the Special Advisory Committee on the Novel Coronavirus (SAC) in Canada advises Federal/Provincial/Territorial Deputy Ministers of Health across Canada on public health policy related to the COVID-19 outbreak (Government of Canada, 2020[41])

  • A limited number of countries have made use of pre-existing institutional structures to gather scientific advice. These structures are advisory bodies or research institutes mandated with the co-ordination of research and the provision of scientific advice in the event of emergencies or crises. In the UK for instance, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which was one of the first of its kind, is responsible for ensuring that timely and co-ordinated scientific advice is made available to decision makers to support cross-government decisions in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBRA) (Government Office for Science - UK, 2020[42]) (OECD, 2018[43]).

In addition to these above cases, other situations might have involved integrating expert groups into the discussions of existing government official committees or even bringing experts to some of the government meetings at ministerial level, or including interactions between experts and ministers or even heads of state.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, both the ad hoc structures as well as already existing institutions focused on estimating the trajectory of the virus over time and determining countermeasures, ranging from confinement, medical management, to the use of protective equipment.

  • For instance, the Chilean scientific advisory board aims to advise the Ministry of Health on public health policies in prevention, diagnosis, care, and communication to face the new challenges from the coronavirus (Ministry of Health of Chile, 2020[44]). Some scientific advisory institutions additionally engage in developing recovery strategies. 

  • In addition to the government, committees can also advise the private sector. In Denmark for instance, the Health Authority provides specific recommendations for different sectors of the economy on measures to safely lift restrictions (Danish Health Authority, 2020[45]).

  • A number of committees are drawing lessons from the measures put in place in their own countries. For example, in Switzerland, the National COVID-19 Science Task Force is analysing the impact of government measures on the pandemic in Switzerland (Government of Switzerland, 2020[46]).

  • Beyond scientific advice, some countries draw on the existing institutional structures to gather evidence on the differentiated impacts of the crisis on men and women. For instance, in Sweden, the Gender Equality Agency are regularly updating information on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting men and women.

Maintaining a trusted connection between decision makers and the scientific suppliers of evidence, is essential for effective decision making in an environment faced with very high uncertainty. For example, by including experts from a variety of backgrounds this ensures that decisions are informed by credible, neutral advice. However, the situation presented countries with many unknown unknowns on the health and epidemiological side, while the social and economic implications were significant. In this context, ensuring the proper governance of evidence to provide information in an intelligible trustworthy and empathic manner has represented a challenge for many.

A first challenge is the multidisciplinary nature of the required expertise. Scientific advisory committees may benefit from gathering input not only from health experts, but also from other disciplines. However, despite the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach, many advisory committees are composed mostly of epidemiology, virology, public health, and medical experts.

  • An interesting practice in this regard is the interdisciplinary composition of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force, which consists of an advisory panel and ten topic-based expert groups, including clinical care, data and modelling, diagnostics and testing, digital epidemiology, economy, ethics, legal, social, exchange platform, groups immunology, infection prevention and control, and public health (Government of Switzerland, 2020[47]).

  • Another example is the Expert Committee on Economic and Social Matters (“Comitato di esperti in materia economica e sociale”) in Italy, which is composed of experts in the field of social psychology, economics, finance, health, philosophy, and environment. The committee has the task to develop and propose necessary measures to tackle the emergency and for a gradual recovery in the various socio-economic sectors. This committee also sought to guarantee a gender balance, by integrating additional women to the panel of experts (Government of Italy, 2020[48]).

The consultation of civil society organisations, the private sector, citizens, and international organisations can contribute to the quality of the advice given, as well as add credibility and inclusiveness. For instance, the COVID-19 National Co-ordination Commission in Australia is supported by an Executive Board of Directors drawn from across the business and not-for-profit sectors. The Commission co-ordinates advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic (Government of Australia, 2020[49]). Finally, most scientific committees -- if not all – work closely with national and international research institutes to co-ordinate and share quality and timely evidence.

A different approach used in some countries is to position advisory committees as knowledge brokers rather than producers, by engaging stakeholders in academia and research communities in a productive dialogue.

  • For instance, the Robert Koch Institute in Germany is collaborating with other national institutes and the academic community in the launch of the COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO) (Robert Koch Institut, 2020[50]). This project aims to gain insights into the public’s perception of the pandemic in order to draw up a snapshot of the emerging psychological situation (University of Erfurt, 2020[51]).

  • Another example can be found in Canada, where the Public Health Agency is engaging federal government agencies to leverage strengths and build synergies in clinical management research as well as social and policy research (Government of Canada, 2020[52]).

A second challenge is to maintain the CoG’s role as a gatekeeper, ensuring that political decision makers preserve the necessary space for discretion, while gathering a significant amount of evidence in a short period of time. Customarily, the line ministries/policy lead institutions possess the knowledge and expertise, while the CoG establishes and oversees quality control over the rules and processes. However, a rapid and effective response in the COVID-19 crisis requires multiple actors ‒ specialist bodies/expert groups, politicians and policy-makers ‒ to make final decisions. From the available information, a minority of countries have set formal process to ensure quality, authority and legitimacy of a scientific advice, such as peer reviews, professional standing of an advisor, or a mix of both (OECD, 2018[53]).

While the institutional set up may reflect countries’ political or administrative culture, it is important to provide reliable and transparent information if the outcome is to be trusted by the public (OECD, 2018[53]). For instance, some quality control practices use the same data and information to build quality checks when multiple agencies run different models, while other practices suggest shared standards for data and accreditation of information suppliers. Nonetheless, overly standardising quality checks can undermine the legitimacy of the advice or data provided at the local level. There is therefore a need to mutual understanding and trust of the outcomes across different countries and crises. (OECD, 2018[53]).

A third challenge is the timing between suppliers and users of evidence: obtaining evidence usually requires more time than the policymakers have to make a decision. Thus, short-term policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis could benefit from collaborative research and sharing of preliminary research findings and data (OECD, 2020[54]) to speed up the collection and analyse of evidence. In global emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, open science policies can accelerate the flow of critical research, data, and ideas to combating the disease (OECD, 2020[37]). In addition, policy makers could use interoperable standards and data-sharing agreements involving public sector, private sector and civil society to strengthen the contribution of open data to the crisis, as well as, to support human and institutional capabilities and mechanisms to facilitate access to data (OECD, 2020[37]).

Many countries have established, for instance, specific governance structures to co-ordinate activities within the science, technology, and innovation system to promote coherent and mutually supporting actions across institutions and support the achievement of shared common objectives (OECD, 2020[54]). An interesting example comes from South Africa, where a sub-committee was created under the National Command Council to co-ordinate a national framework for research on COVID-19. Its main tasks include mobilising funding across agencies, reprioritising research strategies, and creating ethical and regulatory frameworks to facilitate research on the virus (OECD, 2020[54]).

Evidence shows that in the context of the coronavirus crisis, trust represents a pivotal element for the success of protective measures, which depend on behavioural responses from the public (Betsch, Wieler and Habersaat, 2020[55]). According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, although survey respondents in 11 countries showed a rise in government trust of 65% ‒ the all-time highest ‒ with trust in business decreasing, they also claimed to prefer hearing advice from doctors (80%), scientists (79%), and national health officials (71%), rather than local government leaders (61%) and leaders of their countries (57%) (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2020[56]). As such, in Belgium, scientific experts join government spokespeople to deliver daily public briefings on the pandemic. This also happened in other countries such as in Estonia, where the role of spokesperson in the emergency was shifted from the political level to the chief emergency co-ordinator of the Health Protection Agency. Lessons from previous outbreaks have highlighted the importance of sharing data and publications in order to build and maintain trust between agencies, create preparedness and response systems, and pre-define responsibilities of stakeholders (OECD, 2020[37]). The importance of sharing data has also affected scientific protocols and publications, producing heated debates on the co-ordination of global research and policy implications of some of the findings (ISARIC clinical characterisation group, 2020[57]).

Despite the benefits of increased levels of transparency in the decision-making process, in particular as it relates to the scientific advice on which decisions are based, many countries have controlled the nature and quantity of information released to the public. Although the names of scientific committees’ members are often widely accessible, the publication of scientific advice is seldom systematic and often remains at the discretion of the government such as in the UK. Indeed, in a number of advisory committees their members are employed by the government (The Guardian, 2020[58]). Lastly, according to the information collected internally for this paper, the publication of dissenting opinions within the scientific advisory committees is fairly rare.

Nevertheless, some countries such as Ireland have adopted a remarkably transparent approach to scientific advice focusing on the pandemic. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is the official mechanism for co-ordinating the health sector response in Ireland. It strives to facilitate the circulation of information between the Department of Health and its agencies and provides a forum to build consensus on strategic approaches to this crisis. The agendas and minutes of the NPHET’s meetings are systematically published on the Department of Health website (Government of Ireland, 2020[59]). The minutes report dissenting opinions as well as the measures and policies discussed.

The knowledge generated and lessons learned regarding scientific advice during crises do not only allow mutual learning and improved use of scientific advice in crisis management in the short-term, but will also permit to explore how this particular crisis was managed in the long-term. It should be a shared responsibility for both the providers and users of such advice to record, systemise, preserve, and disseminate the information related to the COVID-19 crisis (OECD, 2018[53]).

Additionally, members of these scientific task forces are seldom under any obligation to disclose potential conflicts of interest at present. These issues surfaced into the media and public discussions in a number of countries given the economic implications of some of the recommendations and the relation between medical experts and some pharmaceutical companies for example. As such, strengthening the integrity standards and managing the risk of policy capture posed by advisory groups, through standards of conduct and conflict-of-interest management procedures, is also key to ensure trust in and accountability in the decision-making process (OECD, 2003[60]).

Effective public communication by the centre of government is key in this pandemic to ensure coherence of government messaging both internally and vis-à-vis the public and civil society. Behavioural communication campaigns have played an important role in facilitating the enforcement of regulations, by nudging or instructing wide segments of the population to comply with required measures – from washing their hands, to respecting the provisions of lockdowns and social distancing. Effective communication can help strengthen citizens’ trust in, and engagement with, public policies. It is fundamental in the fight against disinformation and misinformation (OECD, 2020[61]) and (OECD, 2020[62]). Finally, it can help reach specific segments of the population and facilitate dialogue with citizens to ensure that policies and services are adapted to their needs and respond to their expectations.

Centres of government and the Head of State or Government they serve have been most prominent in making public addresses about the key policies and milestones of the responses to the pandemic. For example:

  • In France, both the Prime Minister and the President have been communicating live across a variety of platforms.

  • In Canada, the Prime Minister has been delivering updates in person on a nearly daily basis.

  • This was also the case for the President in Colombia.

  • In addition to daily high-level press briefings, New Zealand's Prime Minister has been engaging in informal and informative Facebook live chats to directly answer citizens’ questions on self-isolation measures. Such “empathic communication” has shown its effectiveness in ensuring citizens’ implementation of policies.

In countries where the co-ordination function is less centralised, ministries of health, civil protection agencies and other public institutions have gained more prominence as sources of information and public engagement. Sub-national governments in decentralised or federal countries have also been the primary interlocutors with citizens on their territories.

There are advantages for public communication that come from increased co-ordination, such as optimisation of resources, message coherence, and greater audience reach through a larger range of channels and spokespeople. A lack of leadership and organisation on communication from CoGs would reduce coherence and effectiveness, with the risk of setting narratives and developing messages that can be inconsistent or sometimes in conflict with the policy priorities that the CoG aims to communicate. The key risk here includes non-compliance with essential measures such as the wearing of masks for example.

Public communications also had to be mobilised as a key means to fight disinformation, which is undermining policy responses and amplifying distrust and concern among citizens. In extreme cases, the “infodemic”, as this surge in misleading and dangerous content was dubbed, was also putting people’s lives at risk. The spread of on- and off-line misinformation, disinformation can reduce compliance with the emergency measures being enacted, thereby threatening their efficacy and public trust in the response. The OECD has proposed key actions to counter this issue, such as supporting a multiplicity of independent fact-checking organisations, ensuring experts are in place to follow-up technological solutions, and improving users’ media, digital and health literacy skills (OECD, 2020[61]).

In the past months, centres of government have worked on providing clearer and more definitive information through official channels and media outlets. At the CoG level, the United Kingdom and Italy have, for example, established specific units or task forces to co-ordinate and map out responses to COVID-19 related disinformation (OECD, 2020[62]) .

  • When feasible, governments are similarly undertaking efforts to “pre-bunk”, rebut and correct disinformation that could undermine trust and induce the public to harmful or counterproductive actions. Similar to the UK’s CoG Rapid Response Unit, the Digital Crisis Unit of Austria’s Federal Chancellery detects and corrects misinformation. However, in a larger number of countries, such debunking is led by health and science ministries and agencies.

  • Educating citizens about consuming and sharing content responsibly has also been an example of CoG use of public communication to counteract disinformation. In the UK, a “don’t feed the beast” campaign promotes the use of a checklist before sharing information that can be misleading (Government of United Kingdom, 2020[63]).

Beyond communications, the level of health literacy of populations is a key issue to keep in mind with regard to tackling disinformation and an important element to consider for building trust. Given gaps in the public’s health knowledge, investing in health literacy is paramount to consider even before a crisis emerges.

Centres of government are working to make their messages and contents more compelling and adapted to specific or vulnerable segments of the population. To this end, social media has emerged as a useful tool for crisis communication, with the potential to support two-way crisis communication at a low cost, and maintain trust in government by developing a more direct relationship with citizens (OECD, 2015[64]). Indeed, CoGs need to catch citizens’ attention in a crowded media ecosystem in which stakeholders are increasingly suffering from information overload.

  • Adapting communication based on governments’ knowledge of audiences, the latter’s preferred means of receiving government information, as well as their fears, concerns and expectations is fundamental. The use of audience insights has been key in helping communicate complex information, and the centre of government can play a key role in gathering and sharing this type of data with the public administration to ensure consistency of external communication for government at large. The United Kingdom’s Government Communication Service, for example, created a daily insights and evaluation dashboard for public communicators across the government. It summarises data collected through focus groups and surveys measuring public mood, trending topics, and the state of public opinion on COVID-19 related government measures.

  • Several countries such as France have dedicated WhatsApp or Telegram handles to reach wider audiences and ensure delivery thanks to these apps’ push notifications. This is in addition to more traditional approaches such as phone hotlines. Maintaining traditional media in crisis communication allows governments to ensure the inclusion of all segments of the population (OECD, 2015[64]). On 24 March 2020, the State Chancellery in Latvia launched a 24/7 government hotline on COVID-19. The helpline is a joint project of the State Chancellery and the Latvian telecommunications enterprise TET. This hotline ensures people in Latvia have the opportunity to receive a cost-free consultation on specific COVID-19 related issues through a single line. The operators can connect callers with sectoral COVID-19 hotline put in place by the responsible authority, for instance, consular services, health sector authorities, border guards, etc. This hotline has been supplemented by a government website since the end of March 2020. This central information platform is a project of led the State Chancellery, however the content is prepared by the relevant public institutions. The Slovenian Government Communication Office located within the CoG also established a COVID-19 call centre together with the Ministry of Health.

  • Similar to many other countries, Finland’s Prime Minister's Office, in collaboration with the National Emergency Supply Agency and the private sector has been working with social media influencers to provide clear and reliable information for younger audiences that can be harder to reach through traditional channels. This is helping empower and engage citizens in the fight against the virus.

The use of clear language and the customisation of communications material have also proven effective to share complex information with different segments of the population. Disseminating information in more than one language to reach specific groups has also been observed, such as in Sweden (City of Stockholm, 2020[65]), or Belgium where key messages were translated into 32 languages (Government of Belgium, 2020[66]). The cartoon figure “Susana Distancia”, designed by Mexico’s Health Ministry and adopted as the face of communication campaigns led by federal authorities helps share simple and clear information with all age segments of the population (El Universal, 2020[67]). Several other CoGs such as in France and the UK have promoted specific video, audio and written material on the virus for children that were developed by other parts of the government.

The high level of uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 crisis means that decision makers must continue to prepare for a diverse range of scenarios in both the medium to the longer term. These relate to uncertainties not only surrounding the progression and duration of the medical crisis itself, but also the further cascading impacts for the future of the economy and society. Policy decisions based on untested or unreliable assumptions about the future (such as the expectation that current trends will continue or that conditions will revert naturally to the pre-COVID-19 state of affairs) can prove ineffective and even counterproductive when circumstances change. Governments can use strategic foresight approaches such as scanning for signs of change and preparing for multiple scenarios to promote greater resilience in the medium term. Various approaches can be used. A first approach is stress-testing and future-proofing policy proposals against a diversity of plausible future scenarios, and exploring possible unintended consequences. A second involves exploring further order consequences of the crisis and the new opportunities and challenges these could bring, in order to begin designing appropriate responses sooner. Finally, a third approach may entail broadening the understanding of what may be possible/desirable in the future in order to support more innovative policy thinking and design of policies that respond to present needs in ways that better advance longer-term goals. Together these steps can help strengthen the confidence of decision makers, citizens and other stakeholders (such as investors) that proposed government policies will be more robust and adaptive in face of an uncertain future.

The CoG has many key roles in integrating strategic foresight into decision-making. These include collaborating with public sector foresight units to bring foresight into the deliberations, whether in the context of crisis management, or when shaping exit strategies and medium term recovery planning. There is the option of commissioning cross-government work to explore a diversity of possible future scenarios related to the implications of the crisis, and mandating ministries to future-proof their policy recommendations against such scenarios. This work can be led by existing foresight units housed within the CoG where these exist, for example, in Singapore, Finland, and Spain, or by working closely with other foresight units in the public service (as in the case for Canada and the United Kingdom). While foresight is crucial for responsible decision-making during a crisis, it is also a key ingredient to ensuring the government will be better prepared for other possible future disruptions and long-term structural transformations. Thus efforts by the CoG to build the foresight capacity needed for managing the crisis can also have a useful role in the longer term.

From a governance perspective, the crisis has uncovered a number of gaps in government co-ordination and leadership and has led to new initiatives to mobilise evidence and disseminate information through communication. As a result, it has been a catalyst for change and innovation at the centre. A few preliminary considerations may be drawn to inform some strategic thinking about the role of the centres of government in the COVID-19 crisis:

  • A first takeaway is that governments have had to adapt their crisis management systems and institutional landscape to address the COVID 19 pandemic. To tackle the pandemic and its dire consequences, countries often developed complementary approaches to traditional emergency management procedures, led or supported by the centre of government. This demonstrates the strategic role played by centres of government, not only in terms of response co-ordination but also in mobilising the administration to develop capacities for anticipation and planning.

  • A second takeaway is that the crisis has highlighted the importance of the CoG’s functions of policy co-ordination across government, of mobilising trustworthy evidence, and communication to the public. Robust co-ordination across institutional and policy siloes, whether for emergency response purposes or for effective strategic planning, ensuring trustworthy evidence in making decisions, and engaging in strategic communications with stakeholders within and beyond governments cannot remain an afterthought but are essential governance practices that need to be harnessed right from the get-go. That said it is still too soon to ascertain the extent to which these tools become more relevant beyond the crisis and lastingly affect the role of the CoG.

  • A third takeaway, is that a whole-of-society effort will be critical to cope with the long-term economic consequences of the crisis. Co-ordination across government, policy areas and levels of government and with civil society will become critical to steer the recovery efforts. Centres of government can ensure that line ministries take into consideration potential contingencies, co-ordination requirements, and identify and reduce eventual barriers to implementation. The role of the CoG will be important to ensure economic recovery measures account for the different trade-offs between health and economic responses. They may also need to mobilise a range of strategic foresight approaches to feed into strategic planning processes. These include scenario planning, horizon scanning, trend analysis, and debates on alternative futures with both policymakers and stakeholders.

Strategic planning is a key function of CoGs (OECD, 2018[68]). While it was challenged by the crisis, it will be needed to organise the removal of restrictions, to manage exit from confinement and economic and social recovery strategies. Governments will need to plan how key sectors (industry, tourism, transport, health, energy) will re-adapt and interact in a world with more restrictive social rules and diminished financial resources. The reprioritisation of government goals and objectives may be required as yet another important measure in response to the crisis, to ensure that strategic goals are adjusted and the administration is able to focus and reprioritise its resources. This will inevitably imply trade-offs among policy goals. In the medium-term, strategic planning will need to embed elements of strategic foresight in order to future proof the long-term viability of strategic initiatives and remain prepared to navigate the unexpected.

  • A fourth takeaway is that evidence matters. Increased reliance on scientific and technical expertise in decision-making highlights the challenges faced by governments in mobilising evidence to inform policy responses related to the pandemic and its aftermath. The importance and need for using best evidence and analysis to inform decision-making cannot be overstated. The governance of evidence and the way in which information is processed, in terms of transparency and accessibility to citizens, is now part of the public debate. It requires serious questions, if governments want to be able to reap the trust dividends that will be critical for shaping successful policy outcomes and for organising a timely and effective economic recovery. The OECD’s Recommendation on Governance of Critical Risks calls on governments to “ensure transparency regarding the information used to ensure risk management decisions are better accepted by stakeholders to facilitate policy implementation and limit reputational damage” (OECD, 2014[69]).

  • A fifth takeaway is that guaranteeing openness in decision-making by ensuring that public communication is regular, transparent, compelling and based on audience insights is fundamental as governments work on catching citizens’ attention in a crowded media ecosystem. Governments must simultaneously contend with the need, at times, to delay the release of sensitive information, when such release could adversely affect policy outcomes. Providing clearer and information based on evidence is also crucial in the fight against disinformation, in addition to educating citizens about consuming and sharing content responsibly. While this is particularly challenging when crises bring deep uncertainties, such exercise can only favour citizen’s trust, given their high expectations on leadership. Co-ordination of communication across the government matters to prevent incoherent messaging and its detrimental and counterproductive effects in crisis times.

  • A final sixth takeaway is that it is important to learn from these systemic crises, and countries will need to strengthen their capacity of ex-post evaluation to improve long-term resilience. Some OECD countries have developed formal evaluation processes to draw lessons and revise how their governments react to a crisis, while many other countries require additional efforts to undertake this learning exercise. These processes should aim to identify failures and gaps through ad hoc crisis investigation (e.g. through internal review processes or inquiry committees) to ensure accountability of all crisis management, and to promote learning, identify successes as drivers for change (OECD, 2014[70]).

Governments can also consider the crisis as an opportunity for transformation and reform, and act accordingly in the future. Indeed, the 2008 financial and economic crisis also implied the creation of ad hoc co-ordinating mechanisms (periodical meetings of senior civil servants, working parties etc.) as well as speeding up the decision-making process and implementation of policies across government. While lessons learnt from the 2008 crisis resulted in an increasingly strategic role of the centres of governments, several challenges and questions remain for centres of government to address in the post-COVID future, which can benefit from sharing good practices in an OECD context. These include:

  • What innovative mechanisms for co-ordination and speeding up decision-making at the centre can be put in place to better cope with future crises? 

  • What potentials, limits and needs has the crisis revealed? What are the key tools and factors of success and what is the role of evidence? How has the crisis affected the administrative political interface, including the role of expertise?

  • What conclusions will centres of government draw with regard to their future role, functions and capacities?

  • How can centres of government plan for a recovery that is inclusive and sustainable, in light of the legacy of a crisis that is deepening social and economic inequalities? What tools and approaches will need to be mobilised to debate and achieve consensus on strategic priorities while adjudicating policy trade-offs effectively?

  • Which new insight to building anticipatory governance, institutionalising risk management and mainstreaming strategic foresight approaches have centres of governments identified as a result of the crisis?

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This note was drafted under the supervision of Stéphane Jacobzone, Head of Unit, Evidence, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Adam Knelman Ostry, Head of Unit, Public Governance Reviews, by a team in the OECD Public Governance Directorate composed of Iván Stola, Johannes Klein, Karine Badr, Emma Phillips and Lizeth Fuquene, with contributions from Meghan Hennessy, Paulina López Ramos, Patricia Marcelino, Lukasz Lech, and Raquel Páramo. This paper benefited from comments from Dorothée Alain-Dupre, Tunyan Bagrat, Charles Baubion, Pauline Bertrand, Duncan Cass-Beggs, Francesca Colombo, Pinar Guven, Klas Klaas, Edwin Lau, Timo Ligi, Luca Lorenzoni, Maria Varinia Michalun, Caroline Penn, Joshua Polchar, Jack Radisch, Carthage Smith, and Andrea Urhammer at the OECD. The authors also wish to acknowledge comments received from country experts, including those who participated during the webinar held on 9th July 2020 on Centres of Government in the Front Line of COVID-19: ‘Maintaining Trust in Government Decision Making through Leadership, Coordination and Evidence’  which gathered 29 countries.

Contact

Stéphane JACOBZONE (✉ stephane.jacobzone@oecd.org

Adam OSTRY (✉ adam.ostry@oecd.org)

Ivan STOLA (✉ ivan.stola@oecd.org)

Johannes KLEIN (✉ johannes.klein@oecd.org)

Karine BADR (✉ karine.badr@oecd.org)

Emma PHILLIPS (✉ emma.phillips@oecd.org)

Lizeth FUQUENE (✉ lizeth.fuquene@oecd.org)

Note

← 1. In fact, the OECD Secretariat has done a desk-based review of the institutional arrangements, which can be found at www.oecd.org/gov/Cog/Covid. Subject to review by the OECD Network of Senior Centres of Government Officials.

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