Now is the time for a purpose-led, adaptive and collaborative public sector
Whitehall recently. According to PA, the coronavirus has both made the case for modernisation and reform of local and national government while eviscerating the case against it | Credit: PA Images
As the pendulum of public opinion swings towards scrutinising the Covid-19 response and future deficit reduction, government action will only succeed if it can inspire society, according to a new report by PA Consulting.
Released today, PA Consulting’s new white paper titled, A Renewed Imperative, demonstrates how 75 years on from the end of the Second World War, our present moment offers the most significant opportunity to renew and rebuild since the post-war generation.
In the face of a deadly, sub-microscopic infectious agent invisible to the naked eye, the public sector has demonstrated its societal importance, responded quickly and effectively to the challenge and rebuilt its deep connection with the public it guides and serves.
The paper reveals how the coronavirus has exposed frailties in the system and opportunities to improve, from single points of failure through to wider structural weaknesses.
According to PA the coronavirus has both made the case for modernisation and reform of local and national government while eviscerating the case against it.
Where once it was claimed that change would take too long, where information couldn’t be shared or where too many barriers existed, the pandemic has galvanised and spurred the public sector into action.
Key players within central and local government have long talked of fundamental change and of better delivery, more accountability and enhanced capability. The change imperative is now given additional emphasis by societal demand.
Having seen ministers and local government rise to the challenge over recent months, business and society will now expect the public sector to maintain its posture and pace.
They’ll want to see services centred around new priorities and expectations and they’ll expect longstanding economic, environment and societal issues to be tackled with renewed vigour.
Enacting long-lasting change at speed
We sense that now is an opportune moment to enact long-lasting change that can benefit central and local government, business and society.
Now is the time to become ever more purpose-led, adaptive and collaborative; to reset expectations between the state, its citizens and business; to shape society, the economy and public services in radical new ways; to enable and revitalise cross-department working and collaboration across academia, industry and the public; and to look to measures of value beyond GDP.
But there’s a caveat.
With expectations high, any missteps could see the opportunity lost.
Major operational civil service reforms were talked of in the aftermath of the Second World War but there was a quick reversion to type and old ways of working. The opportunity was lost. Speed is crucial.
Driving change through innovation
As the pendulum of public opinion swings towards scrutinising the Covid-19 response and future deficit reduction, government action will only succeed if it has advanced far enough along to demonstrate substantial initial value and mobilise and inspire society with its long-term vision.
Our organisation was formed as part of the UK’s response to the war effort, so for 75 years we’ve helped clients in the public sector progress and deliver a more positive human future.
In the years after the war, our founders sought to help our reduce costs, increase returns and reshape society.