In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Essex County Council (ECC) Public Health and Strengthening Communities teams, in partnership with local Facebook Admins, set up the Essex Coronavirus Action Support (ECAS) approach. This initiative is a part of Essex County Council’s wider digital first approach to strengthening communities which has also been applied in other projects addressing mental health needs and social isolation (Local Government Chronicle, 2020).
The Essex Coronavirus Action Support Group (ECAS) was created with the goal of providing accurate, easily digestible and up to date information to:
- inform residents on guidance
- prevent the spread of infection and,
- assist vulnerable resident
An evaluation of the ECAS approach was used to assess the extent to which the structure and processes of the approach have supported positive health and wellbeing outcomes for citizens of Essex and provided value for investment. The evaluation consists of two complementary parts:
Part 1: Internal evaluation: conducted by ECC Public Health and Research & Citizen Insight teams.
Part 2: Further evaluation: conducted by academic experts as part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Intervention Responsive Studies Teams (PHIRST) Local Authority interventions programme.