A new mindset for public sector leadership

Deloitte Insights

A new mindset for public sector leadership

Take the #TenYearChallenge

Government and public services have changed substantially in the past decade and so have the demands on public sector leaders. This article sets out the new capabilities that the sector’s leaders need today – and the new mindset they will need to thrive in the future.


Have you taken the #TenYearChallenge? For the uninitiated, it is a social media dare in which people share a photo of themselves from 2009 alongside a current snap. Whether you join in or not, it is a reminder of how much we – and the world around us – change over a decade. For leaders in government and public services, it raises three questions. How has the public sector environment changed in the past ten years? What has this meant for the capabilities its leaders now need? And, crucially, what can leaders do now to prepare themselves for the ten years ahead?

The public sector in 2009

The public sector was in a very different place in 2009. In the UK, for example, the size of the government workforce was at its highest level since records began and health spending was at a historic high.1 But as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, dealt with the fallout from the global financial crisis, the opposition leader, David Cameron, warned of a coming ‘age of austerity’. In the years that followed, austerity under Cameron’s government drove down budgets and headcounts across public services, while at the same time stimulating new business models, a shift to shared services and an emphasis on digital transformation. And now, in 2019, leaders across the UK public sector are grappling with various challenges, such as alleviating citizens’ demand for their services, driving inclusive economic growth and managing the implications of the UK’s exit from the EU.

1 Expenditure on healthcare in the UK, Office for National Statistics, 2013. View in article

Read more on Deloitte Insights


Rebecca George
United Kingdom

Alex Massey
United Kingdom

Adam King
United Kingdom

Ed Roddis
United Kingdom

PDF - 3.08mb
Did you find this useful?