This two-day workshop, jointly convened by DPME, the NRF and GTAC, served as a platform for provinces to share insights and lessons relating to their experience of, and responses to, Covid-19. During the workshop there was discussion on the importance of establishing a platform for ongoing exchanges and interactions amongst Offices of the Premier. This platform will assist provinces to be better prepared for further waves of the pandemic and to support general improved service delivery.

On 20 May provinces, largely represented by respective Offices of the Premier, presented their case studies. They shared the background to their Covid-19 responses, the methodology used to compile the case study, the findings of what worked well and what did not, as well as future recommendations. The National School of Government also presented the work done as part of its Covid-19 response. A key observation from the first day is that whereas there are both similarities and differences in the approaches adopted by provinces in response to the pandemic, all these can be better understood from the point of view of pre-existing conditions that may have influenced each provinces response resulting in either positive or negative outcomes.

The second day of the workshop was hosted by the Gauteng Office of the Premier and focused on the possibility of establishing a permanent platform for knowledge exchange amongst the Offices of the Premier. This platform will take the form of learning networks, focusing on exchanging experiences and best practices on how Offices of the Premier can play a more interventionist role in supporting coordination of service delivery in respective provinces. To this end, the Gauteng Office of the Premier shared case studies on leadership and governance and on the availability of functional beds as part of its Covid-19 response. The conversation on the case studies was supported by a panel of experts who offered some critical reflections following the presentation of each case study, an example being the success of the Economies of Region Learning (ERLN) network. These discussions confirmed the validity of the initiative to pursue the establishment of a learning network for Offices of the Premier.