Dealing with fiscal deficits and making government affordable
Fiscal deficits remain in the spotlight, with 72% of CEOs surveyed ‘somewhat’ or ‘extremely’ concerned about this threat. The challenge remains for public sector organisations to ‘do better for less’ while focusing on the outcomes that society needs and wants. This requires governments and public bodies committing to a renewed focus on achieving fiscal balance, with a spotlight on understanding, and sustainably reducing, costs while building the agility of public sector organisations to cope with changes in the future.
Rising to the digital challenge
With affordable government the new reality, digital technology has the potential to be a key enabler, offering the scope to deliver higher productivity and better outcomes while also reducing costs. Public bodies need to embrace digital technology as a tool to drive innovation, transform how they engage with citizens, foster the interaction of citizens with each other and explore how outcomes can be better secured. Digital technology is opening up new opportunities to involve citizens in the design and delivery of services and co-produce outcomes.
Investing in growth
Public sector organisations at all levels have an important role to play in creating a platform for growth which is financially, socially and environmentally sustainable – good growth – with a focus on the key levers of skills and physical infrastructure, which remain in the top three priorities of CEOs for government attention (along with an internationally competitive and efficient tax system).For a majority (60%) of the CEOs surveyed this year having a skilled and adaptable workforce should be a government priority, second only behind having an internationally competitive and efficient tax system with adequate physical infrastructure third on the list of government priorities.
Collaborating with business to deliver societal outcomes
The impact of megatrends – shifts in global economic power, demographic and social change, rapid urbanisation, technological breakthroughs and climate change and resource scarcity – and the rise in geopolitical uncertainty, mean that it is as important now as ever before for better government-to-government collaboration across national boundaries. Although business can be a reluctant partner with government, the two are co-dependent in delivering the outcomes of good growth and good jobs. As such, governments need to provide business with the confidence to invest, including working together to reduce the barriers to doing business, such as restrictions on skilled labour mobility.
Tackling the burdens of regulation and tax
Over-regulation remains at the top of the perceived threats to business, with over three quarters (78% of the CEOs surveyed ‘somewhat’ or ‘extremely’ concerned, with an increasing tax burden not far behind (70%). The challenge for government is to reduce the burdens on business while safeguarding the rights of citizens as employees and customers. This requires smarter approaches to regulation and a willingness to pursue tax reform.