A new framework for decision-making

Earlier this afternoon (Thursday 23 April) the Scottish Government published a new document, Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making that we’re suggesting to clients and friends of Indigo needs to become ‘required reading’ over the coming days.


Because it forms the clearest and most concise reading of the government’s thinking on why decisions are being taken in relation to Coronavirus, what the principles are that underpin them, and how the future will pan out for individuals and organisations in months ahead and possibly longer.

What it says

The key thing it gets across quite well is something which most of us will have heard said but possibly not contemplated fully: this is, we are told, the “new normal”. Decisions to exit lock down won’t be rushed but they will be based on scientific evidence about what works to reduce community transmission of COVID-19.

Even if we do get the community transmission rate – the R-0 value – below 1 consistently, officials will keep an eye on whether that remains the case when different sectors of society and the economy reopen. As a consequence, we will all have to ensure that organisational operating models can cope if and when lock down is imposed again at very short notice. So there is no going back to how we did things before – at least not until a vaccine is widely available.

What to do with it – 1

Just because the guidance suggests the nationwide shut down isn’t going to stop soon (or at all in some cases and for some time) that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt and move forward. Firstly, if your stakeholders need informed about what the principles are for your own response to Coronavirus going forward, this is a good place to start as a means of explaining to them why we are where we are and what you are doing to respond.

What to do with it – 2

The guidance also confirms that organisations will need to make new ways of thinking integral to their business plans; not just ‘nice to have’ extras that can be jettisoned when things go back to how they were before.

We have seen so many brilliant examples of how clients have innovated to respond to these tough circumstances. Now is the time for more solutions that have been tried and which work with grain of the government approach spelled out in this report, to be built upon further. It’s also the time to try new collaborations and harness new tools, especially digital ones. If you need help doing that, there are avenues available that can be explored. Reach out to the Scottish Government, and if you need a steer, we can help.

The bottom line is though, if you can align with ministers’ thinking on decision-making, and even help to shape it in the weeks ahead through your expertise as they marshal the tools of national recovery, you will be keeping ahead of the curve.

Next steps

The next official review of the current social distancing measures will be on the 7th May but the government offers no indication of whether or not this will deliver change. Its focus is in putting together the systems and processes that will allow us to get through the ‘new normal’, but their message is that flexibility and patience will be required by all.

We would acknowledge that none of this may be news to you, especially if you have been following news reports closely in recent days and weeks. Yet why it’s important for every organisation to absorb the guidance as fully as possible, is that it signals the starting pistol for each of us to think carefully about how to treat COVID-19 as a longer term phenomenon than any of us ever wanted or even imagined.

There are no magic bullets (and the government sensibly won’t fall for touting populist rhetoric on this) but there are things we can all do to ready ourselves and our organisations for a ‘new normal’.


If you’d like to discuss any aspect of the new guidance and what it means for your organisation specifically email Lizzy, Nicki or myself. We’d be happy to hear from you.