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The Covid-Effect: how the Civil Service community took on a pandemic

Survey on clipboard and The Covid Effect

17 March 2021

Firstly, we wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who gave up their time, completed the survey and those that shared it with colleagues – we had just over 1,500 responses from all over the UK and from 79 Government Departments, Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies.

At the same time, the Charity also commissioned YouGov to recruit a neutral sample of a further 1,014 working civil servants, achieving an even greater reach to people we potentially haven’t spoken to before.

So what did we find?

  1. People said the key areas of their life that we asked about, had got worse:
    1. Three in every five carers (60%) said their caring responsibilities had worsened in 2020.
    2. 74% said that the pandemic had a negative effect on their general wellbeing.
    3. Nearly half (49%) said their mental health had got worse.
  1. The only area that improved was people’s financial situations:
    1. In our two surveys a very consistent amount (between 32% in the in-house survey and 37% in the YouGov survey) said their financial situation had got better.
    2. A quarter (25%) in the in-house survey and 16% in the YouGov survey, said it had got worse in 2020.
    3. People who struggled financially were likely to find their financial problems more complex and challenging.
  1. Where people said their situation had got worse, they were more likely to attribute change to the pandemic, whereas those people that said their situation had got better, were less likely to attribute this to the pandemic.
  1. 62% of people in the YouGov survey said they, or their household, had experienced a significant life event in 2020, like a bereavement, mental health issues, or debt. And in our in-house survey, 46% of respondents said they had “definitely” or “to some extent” experienced difficulties in 2020 for which they had considered accessing external support.
  1. However… 38% of people in the YouGov survey who had experienced a life event in 2020, did not go anywhere for support, and 39% in our in-house survey also said they did not contact anyone despite saying they had difficulties in 2020 that might need external support.
  1. We discovered 92% of people in the YouGov survey think they would access support if they were to face an issue, but those that did experience an issue were much less likely to turn to anyone for support, with only 62% of people in the YouGov survey accessing help for their situation.

Read the full report.

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