The public sector must radically overhaul traditional thinking on leadership if it is to respond to forthcoming budget cuts, a report has warned.
Workers at every level – not just senior management teams – will need a new set of leadership skills to be able to challenge dysfunctional systems or processes and build the commercial skills needed to deal with the funding crisis, the Leadership at all levels report of a study by business advisory firm Deliotte has claimed.
It says that all staff should be encouraged to hold colleagues and teams to account on their performance, to spot projects that are problematic, and to suggest ways of simplifying process and structures in the delivery of public services.
Keith Leslie, the report’s principal author, said many civil service and local government leaders were already under intense pressure to make efficiency savings.
But, he warned, public sector organisations were demanding answers about how to respond to “what is effectively a major crisis in public service provision”.
He said: “Our report argues that to develop an effective response to this crisis the challenge should be pushed back to the frontline managers and across the organisational silos, to ensure the delivery responsibility is effectively shared with them. So, in effect, we are calling for leadership at all levels of the public sector.”
Leslie added that the public sector’s funding crisis also presented an opportunity to reshape how public services were delivered. He said: “This crisis will be a chance to reform public service delivery and bring together public sector workers around a motivating vision.”