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COVID-19 has altered the role of government and the way it works. New and critical services have been developed and there is a new – albeit temporary – fiscal paradigm as governments have become all-pervasive in the lives and livelihoods of many people. In many countries and territories, parts of government shifted to remote working overnight and staff adapted to this and to new and pressing priorities.

While the pressures it has placed on governments are huge, and the human consequences of the crisis are tragic, COVID-19 has presented governments with an opportunity by removing the inertia that previously constrained them. Traditionally, the public sector was regarded as being behind the private sector in many areas, particularly customer experience, but it has shown that it can be agile and fast moving.

Clearly there are some good reasons why government has been more conservative regarding change. It does require safeguards, controls and structures to catch up with the pace of change, but leaders should aim to achieve this without slowing the overall speed of progress. To use a children’s story analogy, they should look to speed up the tortoise, rather than slowing down the hare.

Since the start of the pandemic, at KPMG we have listened to our government and public sector clients, provided insights and worked shoulder to shoulder with them on response efforts. We have identified six key areas of change and opportunity that leaders may want to consider to position their organisations for a new, resilient, post-pandemic reality.

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