"I am very encouraged by the extent to which the survey respondents supported our public sector hypotheses.
The vast majority of leaders in the public sector agree on the importance of reducing costs, reforming the way that public services are delivered and paying providers for delivering successful results.
However, it is clear that these good intentions are yet to be translated into real progress on the ground.
For example, there is clearly plenty of scope to increase investment and improve efficiency through greater involvement of the private and voluntary sectors in the delivery of public services.
And there has been only limited progress in introducing payment by results. That is despite the finding that 40 percent of respondents strongly agree with our hypothesis that reward should be linked to the delivery of a successful outcome.To understand why words are not being translated into action, you need to understand how the public sector operates and some of the pressures and constraints.
The ‘command and control’ ethos which the private sector CEO may be able to implement is rarely found here. Decisions are generally the result of consultation and compromise and frequently there is resistance at middle management level.
We also have to remember that the public sector operates in a highly political environment. It takes political courage to drive through change in the face of vested bureaucratic interests.
Elsewhere in the survey, it’s encouraging to see that the public sector seems to be at least on a par with the private sector in recognising the importance of technology and the way it can be used to engage with citizens and to provide services online.
This is something the public sector has struggled to grasp in the past – and huge untapped potential still remains in this area.
The final noteworthy point is the low priority given to cash and capital management. This is an area where the public sector really could learn from the commercial world.
Senior figures simply do not appreciate the importance of having a grip on the financial numbers in the way that the private sector does.
Financial tasks are often delegated down the organisation, resulting in poor financial forecasting and constant surprises when the monthly results come in. Public sector organisations need to get a financial grip as a matter of urgency."
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