The review looked at areas affected by the pandemic and the Bailiwick’s response, from protecting the health and well-being of islanders and delivering the vaccine roll-out, to supporting business, providing education, and the political oversight.
The review was carried out by the States of Guernsey by closely examining minutes, documents, decisions taken and their outcomes, plus feedback from a range of stakeholders, under the direction of Policy & Resources and Home Affairs, in line with the States resolution.
Policy & Resources president Peter Ferbrache took over from Deputy Gavin St Pier as Civil Contingencies Authority chairman following the delayed 2020 election.
‘There are lessons to be learned from the Bailiwick’s response to Covid-19, and this review will help us to improve our preparedness further,’ he said.
‘But it also shows how well the people of the Bailiwick pulled together and how that cooperation meant we saw fewer restrictions on our freedoms and shorter periods of lockdown than many of our neighbours.’
Home Affairs president Rob Prow said the pandemic response brought out the best of the Bailiwick community.
‘I’ll never forget the way we worked together to respond to it,’ he said.
‘But it is important to learn lessons from such a significant period in recent history and I welcome this review which will help us to do that. It has improved our understanding of the potential impacts of major emergencies, especially in the rare case where they are prolonged in the way the pandemic was, and that can only help us with our response if and when it is needed in the future.’
During the pandemic, decisions were taken by the CCA and later scrutinised by the States Assembly.
But the review acknowledged the quasi-executive nature of the authority does not sit easily in a consensus system of government, particularly when the emergency is for a prolonged period.
It was recommended there be a more suitable alternative legal mechanism to manage any future emergency response.
The report highlighted the importance of emergency planning and to continue to have a schedule of testing and training as a key learning.
Another finding notes how the pandemic resulted in increased use of technology to provide solutions, and therefore an increased reliance on IT.
The extended nature of the pandemic meant that contingencies developed by businesses and education.
The report found that operational guidance in schools maintained a low risk of the virus spreading.
However the pandemic impacted children, with increased numbers of cases and severity of mental health issues, such as anxiety.
Results for children in primary schools, which are assessed by teacher assessment, were down when compared with previous years, with the biggest drop for children in Key Stage 1.
The States of Guernsey stopped publishing regular Covid data at the end of March. At that stage there had been 41 deaths directly due to Covid, and there had been more than 35,000 reported positive tests.