Government beyond Brexit: the state of the state 2018

Now in its seventh year, Reform and Deloitte’s The State of the State reflects on the most pressing public sector issues along with new, exclusive research including surveys with citizens themselves and public service leaders. This year’s report finds the UK government amid the complex and politically-charged challenge of leaving the EU. But while Brexit may dominate daily headlines, our report finds a wider set of challenges – and opportunities – for government and public services as they gear up for a Spending Review.

The State of the State citizen survey finds that eight years of austerity have shifted the public mood. Support for spending cuts has ebbed away and the majority now believe that taxes should rise to fund more extensive public services. Across the UK’s governments and its public sector, officials told us about organisational pressures, the impact of austerity and their concerns over funding for the future.

But at the same time, they also talked about the potential for continued reforms including greater regional devolution, ongoing digital transformation, more deliberate talent management, fresh progress on the industrial strategy and a clearer connection between budgets and outcomes. All of this means that ministers and officials face incredibly tough decisions in Spending Review 2019 – but at the same time, the Review represents an opportunity for the government to chart a bold new course for public sector reform.

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