As communities around the world continue to navigate the Covid-19 world, civil society is routinely calling for policy makers to build back better, usually greener. Recently I saw a mind-bending tweet about how care jobs could be considered green too, in an effort to ensure that essential service roles are not excluded from policy on the recovery.
There shouldn’t need to be this kind of competition for priority or inclusion. It is our own bad history that makes us default into a market-based way of seeing everything.
Rather than trying to argue what should be in or out of a recovery and what is more important and should be prioritised, policy should be a framework of core concepts that can be applied in different ways to ensure the same outcome across the country. You might argue that this is precisely the definition of policy, I might reply that clearly you haven’t met the current UK government.
Community, environment, access and participation are the four concepts that will ensure that we build back better. A framework based on these concepts could be applied to any job creation programme, any business support programme, any social benefit, care, health programme, etc. It should be the benchmark: does job A allow business C to engage with its community, respect and protect the environment, is access to the job opportunity restricted, how, why? Are the right stakeholders participating in recruiting for job A? Extrapolate this across other sectors, and especially supply chain management and procurement. Does commissioning business B to provide service D mean that community will be engaged, access will be free at point of need for all, all relevant stakeholders are able to participate and there is a net zero or net positive impact on the environment?
Building back better isn’t about tweaking the current system. It is instead about building a better system. Social Impact concepts can build a better system and be at the heart of the change.