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In the hot seat

Reducing costs in public-sector organisations in an age of austerity

In the hot seat



This research explores the levers that public-sector leaders have at their disposal, and the approaches that have proven to be successful, in order to reduce costs in public-sector organisations.

Key findings

The report identifies three priorities for public-sector leaders when designing programmes to reduce costs:

  • Engage the frontline: today’s spending challenge cannot be achieved without reconfiguring ways of working at the frontline. This requires engagement rather than imposition of top-down targets with no discussion about how costs will be reduced
  • Manage across organisational boundaries: many public services are delivered through networks of bodies, so cost reduction efforts are constrained unless a system-wide perspective is taken
  • Hold management accountable: significant cost reduction requires a regime of control and tracking that empowers the delivery network but holds leaders to account for success

This is the third in a series of papers exploring how the public sector can respond to the challenges of ‘an age of austerity’. The series includes New shapes and sizes as well as Leadership at all levels.


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