Publication Digital Education and skills Machinery of government Social security 25 October, 2016

The State of the State 2016-17

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The State of the State report provides a unique, independent analysis of the UK public sector through a business lens. Produced by Deloitte UK in collaboration with Reform, the insight is informed by interviews with public sector leaders, citizen research and an in-depth analysis of government data.

The citizen and the state survey

A survey of 1,000 people found seven key findings including:

  • 41% of citizens expect public services to worsen because of Brexit
  • Public support for taxes to fund public spending is on the rise, for the first time since the 1990's
  • 57% feel that the NHS is the top priority, compared with Brexit at 33
  • A digital divide exists amongst citizens by age and social class

In the words of public sector leaders

Public sector leaders say:

  • Brexit will impact on funding, the workforce, priorities and local economies
  • Digital transformation is struggling to meet the ambition
  • Collaboration and workforce flexibility are key characteristics of the future public sector
  • Leadership will be challenged to become more effective, high profile, diverse and continually renewed

Government through business lenses

Government is not a business. But applying ‘business lenses’ to the public sector can allow for distinctive perspectives and fresh thinking.

The productivity lens: Ten elements of public sector productivity are exposed to Brexit including public spending levels, Whitehall’s capacity and capability, workforce arrangements and research funding in higher education

The talent lens: automation is set to save the government £17bn by 2030 and will drive the use of data to support decision makers

The balance sheet lens: The UK Government’s latest balance sheet shows £1.46 trillion of assets and liabilities of £3.56 trillion. The state’s net liability rose by £263 billion to reach £2.1 trillion at last count for the 2014-15 financial year

The state of the public finances Four questions arise from Brexit as the Government considers its fiscal options:

  1. Will the mandate or the objective change?
  2. Will infrastructure spending replace austerity as the dominant fiscal theme?
  3. Will Brexit compromise or support public sector transformation?
  4. Will the Government continue to run a deficit and increase its debt?