A Nagging Thought: how is the public sector going to change?

Throughout the talk I went to on Tuesday, yesterday’s discussion at the School of Everything Unplugged, where Doug Cowan talked through some work he had done in public sector organisations, and a conversation with Liam Barrington-Smith about his recent experience of the civil service, I have had a severe nagging thought which keeps resurfacing. It won’t go away.

The organisations facing the biggest change in the short term seem to me to be in the public sector. Facing likely cuts of 25% or so, the public sector will have to do things differently. They can’t just do less of the same: they will have to be innovative to change radically. But as Liam’s post suggests, the public sector doesn’t necessarily have much insight. It can be rigidly hierarchical. As anyone experiencing local public services knows, they are often not very nimble. In short, how is the public sector going to change to cope with the shock of 25% income cuts? They are clearly not among Ringland’s PSROs. But change they must.

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