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A renewed public sector imperative

Purpose-led, adaptive & collaborative 


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The public sector faces a pivotal moment. Its response to the coronavirus pandemic has enabled the sector to demonstrate its societal importance, respond quickly and effectively to challenges and rebuild its deep connection with the public it guides and serves.

At the same time, the virus has exposed opportunities to improve both single points of failure and wider structural weaknesses, while also raising public expectations. This presents a compelling case to use the jolt of the present to enact long-lasting benefit to central and local government, business and society. 

Now, more than ever, is the time to be purpose-led, adaptive and collaborative, and to be the generation that made public services – and society – better for all.


While the emphasis for many has been on when society can restart, the sector can’t simply pick up where it left off. We’ve seen expectations rise, behaviours alter, industries change and existing strategies rendered redundant.

Business and society will expect the sector to maintain its posture and pace, centring around new priorities while tackling longstanding issues with renewed vigour.

The change required is complex and difficult, but now is the moment to act with ambition. We’ve identified four practical ways leaders can respond:



1.   Speak and act with greater collective impact


The public sector has won heads and hearts in the last few months – and must now seize the moment to transform long-term habits.




2.   Radically reimagine to meet evolving priorities


All areas of the public sector need to be ready to capture the opportunities of a world witnessing the biggest leap forward in technology adoption since the mobile phone.




3.   Unlock efficiencies and harness new talent


There’s a huge opportunity to use imposed transformation to empower public sector staff and adopt and embed adaptive working. 




4.   Encourage and incentivise greater collaboration


A strategic view of collaboration is needed in a new world where no public sector entity can operate independently.



Purpose-led, adaptive and collaborative

Seventy-five years on from the end of the Second World War, our present moment offers the most significant opportunity since to renew and rebuild the public sector.

Our report outlines why we can’t simply pick up where we left off. It outlines four practical ways leaders can respond, with examples of best practice.

The challenge is significant but not insurmountable. With the right approach, public sectors leaders can seize a singular opportunity to deliver against a renewed imperative.

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This report takes a deeper dive into the renewed imperative agenda.

Synthesised from our experience across the national security landscape, it shares practical insight for public sector leaders building adaptive organisations for the future.



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Peter Lovell

PA defence and security expert

David Oliver

PA transport expert

Mark Brett

PA government & public sector expert

Erin Birch

PA healthcare expert