Published on 8 April 2024
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Public sector productivity review: fifteen questions

It's time to transcend the discourse centered on cost efficiency and embark on a more comprehensive evaluation of organisational productivity and efficacy, write Nina Jörden, Lucy Hampton and Ayantola Alayande.

In response to pressing challenges such as an ageing population and escalating tax burdens, both Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove have underscored the imperative of enhancing public sector productivity. However, these endeavours often trigger concerns about potential drawbacks, including worries about service reductions, rushed processes, and unintended consequences.

This report posits that it is time to transcend the discourse centered on cost efficiency and embark on a more comprehensive evaluation of organizational productivity and efficacy. The primary aim of this report is to enrich the ongoing conversation surrounding public sector productivity by delving into various dimensions of the concept and into measurement methodologies. By elucidating the indispensable role of public sector productivity in our daily lives, the report advocates for a nuanced approach that acknowledges the significance of social value and quality improvements.

Moreover, the report focuses on specific strategies geared towards increasing productivity: digital transformation and human resources management. It elaborates on the manifold opportunities that originate from these domains and concludes each section with a set of probing questions that are deemed indispensable for steering future cross-governmental assessments of productivity.

Blog: Redefining public sector productivity

This paper was first published as an Insight Paper by The Productivity Institute.


Dr Nina Jörden

Research Associate

Dr Nina Jörden is a research associate at the Bennett Institute. Her work focuses on questions around the future of work: What do employees need to be resilient and productive?...

Ayantola Alayande

Research Assistant

Ayantola is a Research Assistant on the Digitalisation of the Public Sector project, which explores various aspects of digital government in the UK and other countries. Prior to joining the...

Lucy Hampton

Research Assistant

Lucy is a Research Assistant working on the Sectoral Productivity project, which investigates the drivers of productivity in different sectors. Her research interests include the economic impacts of artificial intelligence, research...

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