The new public sector

The public sector is facing one of its greatest challenges to date because of this thing we call austerity. Austerity is everywhere – in this country, across Europe and beyond. Austerity trips off the tongues of newsreaders a hundred times a day and people have even marched in the streets against it.

The pressure on public service finances is severe, some would say unprecedented. Clearly public services can’t remain as they are and a New Public Sector is set to emerge…

To put it simply, the term ‘New Public Sector’ describes the system and services that will remain post-austerity. It captures the nature and scale of the step changes that are occurring in the sector and describes the way things will be in the future. It’s a term you’ll start to hear more frequently – and certainly across this website and on the Mike Gill blog and social media channels.

The New Public Sector demands real transformation and improvement and this website aims to offer you information, support and guidance to help you do just that and increase your chance of survival.

What does the New Public Sector look like?

It’s leaner, it’s more efficient, it’s more for less – and it’s certainly going to be more demanding.

The New Public Sector is typified by everyone – and by everyone it means Government, stakeholders and the public – being more aware of what they are paying for and caring more about the services they truly value. The key is to be prepared, present your service in the best way and emerge as a leader.

So how is the New Public Sector different?

  • There is unlikely to be a rapid (if ever) return to ‘business as usual’ when the wider economy bounces back. Current Government thinking appears to focus on ‘reduce and eliminate’ to a point that could permanently change the nature of public service.
  • Services that do remain will need to demonstrate a much greater connection with the public to survive. Service managers will need to develop better and more rapid ways of directly connecting with service users from within their organisational communications frameworks, so there will be a need for much better thinking and execution at both the strategic level and at the operational/service level. And that twin focus means less need for anything in the middle, as that level often delivers little, costs a lot and impedes progress.
  • The drive to reduce costs means each service manager will need to be able to acquire effective services to deliver their outcomes within the deadlines and to budget. Those services may no longer be provided from within the organisation but, as always, they will need to comply with strategic, corporate and governance requirements. What this entails is empowering managers appropriately, so that they can make purchasing decisions that will see their desired outcomes being delivered.

What this means in reality is shown in the diagram below and represents what the New Public Sector is likely to look like for many public sector managers.

transformation in the new public sector

What does this mean for me?

Austerity takes different forms in different parts of the public sector and in different parts of the country. Whatever form it takes in your part of the public service, the key challenges you face are a drive to ensure vastly improved services, reduced – or even no – services, and, inevitably, a lot less money.

Austerity challenges the claims of your staff to a future in public service. And most importantly, austerity challenges the very future of the service you hold dear and the delivery of services to people who really need them.

It’s therefore vital that you present your service in the best way and help you ensure everyone understands what you do, how much it costs and why they should ‘CHERISH’ your service.

It’s not an easy task but it is achievable. Find out how you can survive austerity here.