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Crime Of The Century - A Chilling Look At Crime Statistics In The UK 1.GAMING IN PUBLIC SECTOR STATISTICS


The Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition took power at the start of what has proven to to be an intensely difficult period for the public sector in the UK. In recent years, spending increases have been financed by debt rather than taxation.


As a result, a huge structural rebalancing of the public accounts – known as fiscal consolidation – is imminent.


As the flow of public funds is trimmed back, weaknesses in Whitehall and the organisations delivering frontline services are likely to be further exposed. Already the rolling programme of capability reviews within the civil service, the first of which were published in 2006, has exposed substantial evidence of the systemic underperformance of government in Whitehall and beyond; and recent Institute for Government’s research has identified significant weaknesses in strategic leadership at the administrative core of government.


That said, not all is gloom. Spending on the public sector in the UK had reached a historic high. The National Health Service in particular had been the recipient of vast sums of taxpayers’ money (with uncertain productivity gains). Many priorities should have already been addressed; and careful judgments, coupled with a willingness to take tough decisions about where to cut, should mean that the impact of retrenchment can be moderated.


Furthermore, Whitehall now has several decades of hard-won experience in delivery (and performance managing delivery) which should inform the process. Public service agreements (PSAs), departmental strategic objectives (DSOs), Whitehall capability reviews and so forth are in place.


Successfully implementing cuts requires an effective culture of performance management and accountability. Kneejerk reactions or ministerial initiatives focused upon the achievement of short-term electoral considerations will undermine the implementation of the overarching strategic plan. Above all, we should avoid a slash-and-burn response to public sector budgets, especially if that response is determined by Whitehall’s departmental silos.


The public sector is undoubtedly more complex and has specific imperatives such as equality of access to services which mean that indiscriminate comparisons with the private sector should not be made; but many performance challenges are common to both contexts.


Successful private sector organisations demonstrate the necessity of a performance 15


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