More for Less
Just deliver more for less. Sounds easy, right? But as we all know, it's one of the toughest challenges our public sector faces. After working with public sector organisations for over 25 years, I genuinely believe the current demand and operating circumstances are unprecedented, fundamental, and will forever change public services. Unprecedented is a much-overused word but I believe it is merited here. Many organisations I work with are running out of options, and in the next six to twelve months, the public may be surprised by the disappearance of things they've grown accustomed to, despite promises to invest more and better fund services.
Of course, there are better ways to use resources, but let's be honest - how many of us could maintain our lifestyle with 20% less income? With demand increasing by 20% at the same time. Of course, these are difficult and challenging times, and real pain is being felt by the public brought up with the expectation of support from public service. Even "ring-fenced" budgets are starting to face challenging efficiency savings. It was not so long ago that the Treasury's packaging of public spending targets for deficit reduction overshadowed opposition to public spending cuts. Did that go well?
I'm currently working with clients in local authorities and health facing the sharp end of change. What does this look like? Well, some are dealing with up to 30% fewer resources (people doing the work to you and me) this year and maybe next. While good managers are always up for a challenge, the impact on public service delivery and those at the sharp end is significant.
While innovation and change often flourish under pressure, we must also consider the well-being of public service managers facing sustained fear. There are many opportunities to be more efficient - synergies between services, streamlining, digital advancements, and better processes. Joining things up across various sectors shows impact.
However, we must become better at presenting the public sector in a meaningful way, ensuring services offer value for money and are valued, and cherished even, by the public. Start by aiming for innovative, efficient and valued services, and you are at least on a pathway to success.