Press releases

Deloitte/Reform: "Defining moment" ahead for UK public services

28 October 2014

  • Improving productivity, tackling borrowing and redesigning services key to next stage of deficit reduction
  • Every productivity measure that saves one percent of public sector workforce time would be worth £1.64 billion per year
  • Next Government will have six months to set out the hardest half of cuts

Improving productivity and redesigning public services will be key to sustainable public finances according to a report – The State of the State 2014 - published today by Deloitte, the business advisory firm, and Reform, the think tank.

Deloitte and Reform argue that an incoming government in 2015 will have six months to set out a Spending Review that addresses how the next stage of cuts will be implemented to meet the deficit reduction plan.

Mike Turley, head of public sector at Deloitte, said: “We are just halfway through the deficit reduction plan, and the next half will be the more difficult part. The next Spending Review will be the defining moment for the UK’s public services. Key to making the remaining savings is thinking again about how our public services are designed and delivered.”

Deloitte and Reform call on a future government to focus on improving public sector productivity and make better use of technology, demand management and reformed working practices to find savings.

Deloitte calculates that saving one percent of public sector workforce time through productivity measures could create annual savings of £1.64 billion.*

Mike Turley added: “Productivity is a challenge for the whole economy, but in the public sector we’ve only ever got more from public services by spending more. Meeting the challenges of the future, increased demand – particularly in areas such as health – with less money, requires new ways of working.

“Those running our public services need to think about how, where and when public servants work to ensure time and resources are allocated as efficiently as possible. This means looking at how to make better use of technology, looking at how to manage the level of demand on services and introducing new working practices, including flexible working and reshaping the property footprint of our public services.”

Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform, added: “Politicians are not yet giving public service leaders the total, unequivocal support for change that they want to hear.”


Notes to editors

About State of the State
The State of the State 2014 is the third annual report by Deloitte and Reform, bringing together over 500 different data sets to present a single snapshot of the pressures on government finances and the challenges facing public services.

The State of the State 2012 can be read online here and 2013’s report can be read here.
 *Region-by-region breakdowns of Deloitte’s analysis on productivity savings are as follows:


Potential Saving

North East

£72 million

North West

£182 million

Yorkshire and Humber

£141 million

East Midlands

£105 million

West Midlands

£134 million

East of England

£127 million


£215 million

South East

£191 million

South West

£135 million


£164 million


£95 million

Northern Ireland

£64 million


£1.634,680 million

About Reform
Reform is an independent, non-party think tank whose mission is to find a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity in the UK.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press. For more information, please visit

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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