United Kingdom publications

Welcome to the Public Centre Research Centre - UK. This section features insightful research from UK and similar countries on the issues and the challenges faced by public sector and government officials while providing a roadmap of the future of government. To view global publications, please choose the option "all publications" in the menu to the left.

Good Growth for Cities 2013

This publication, with UK think tank Demos, presents an index measuring the economic wellbeing of UK urban areas. We argue the case for cities to look beyond GDP and Gross Value Added (GVA) and give the public and business a key role in determining priorities for their local economic success.

Redefining local government

Prolonged austerity is driving an important shift in local government, and this new landscape will require fundamentally different organisational cultures and behaviours to make it successful. This Talking Points argues that there is a need for a new framework that enables local authorities to make strategic choices leading to the redesign and development of new ways of working on the ground.

Leading from the front: Finance in the public sector – from aspiration to action

This PwC publication continues PSRC's research into the role of Finance in the public sector in the UK, examining the trends, issues and the changing environment faced by Finance Directors

Good Growth for Cities 2013

This publication, with UK think tank Demos, presents an index measuring the economic wellbeing of UK urban areas. We argue the case for cities to look beyond GDP and Gross Value Added (GVA) and give the public and business a key role in determining priorities for their local economic success

Stepping stones to growth

Signs suggest that the UK economy is turning a corner and confidence is on the rise, but the stepping stones that lead to recovery require a different way of thinking

NHS@75: Towards a healthy state

The current and growing financial and demand pressures the NHS is facing threaten to undermine its fundamental principles. Without deliberate and courageous action – by the public, providers, commissioners, regulators and politicians – the NHS as we know it may not exist in 2023. NHS@75 sets out the case for radical change in the health service over the next ten years.

The Local State We’re In PwC’s annual local government survey, 2013

This PwC publication finds that UK local authorities have once again successfully delivered against an ambitious programme of financial savings over the last year without impacting the quality or quantity of services. But the survey points to nervousness about meeting rising demands for services and protecting the frontline in future in the face of further public spending cuts.

Gaming the Cuts: Local government in 2018

Local authority decision makers in the UK are attempting to bridge a widening financial gap. Against this backdrop this report sets out the potential implications of future spending reviews out to 2018. The purpose is not to add more detail to an already fatalistic picture but to recommend new policies and approaches that can be applied to future fiscal challenges.

At risk? Dealing with failure

No government wants a provider of public services to fail. But as public services are opened up to more competitive pressures, it is likely that under performance will no longer be hidden and provider failure will then appear to occur more frequently.

Opening out? New approaches to service delivery

The UK Government has committed to opening up public ervices to a diverse range of providers competing to offer a better service for users. But why is opening up public services to new providers such a priority? Does a new market for ‘public service partnerships’ exist yet? Here we discuss the implications for the partnership models needed to deliver public services.

Brave new world? Different ways of working

Today’s pressures will significantly impact on the way public services are delivered in future, whether by public sector organisations or by a mix of other providers. Here we examine how public sector organisations need to re-define their purpose and future ways of working by becoming more agile and managing demand more effectively.

Good growth for cities: Our report on economic wellbeing in UK urban areas

This PwC publication from Sweden explains why e-services can be used by public administration individuals and institutions alike to dramatically improve society’s capacity for development and innovative capacity.

Under Pressure: securing success, managing risk in public services

PwC's practical guide to coping with the pressures of austerity, rising demand and public sector reform

The agile council

This PwC publication discusses why creating an “agile” UK council model is critical to the current and future success of the organisation and looks at the environment councils are operating in and five steps to becoming an agile organisation.

Above the parapet

Above the Parapet: Where Finance needs to position itself in the public sector continues PwC’s research into the role of Finance in the public sector, examining the trends, issues and the changing environment faced by finance directors.

Hidden potential: fulfilling the economic potential of mid-sized cities

A report from Centre for Cities, PwC and Sunderland City Council reveals that mid-sized cities have the potential to create more jobs if they can invest in reconfiguring their centres

Helping a lost and forgotten generation

This is the latest of our NI Futures series, in which we examine a range of public policy issues that are central to Northern Ireland’s (NI) future prosperity and wellbeing.

A question of quality: Citizens Jury on quality in the NHS - Full report

As part of our contribution to the debate on improving the quality of care in the NHS, PwC commissioned BritainThinks to convene a Citizens’ Jury. The Jurors were able to arrive at strong, well-considered and thoughtful recommendations with a real shift in perspective from personal consumers of healthcare services to citizen ambassadors for the nation.

Valuing social impacts: Should government pay for results?

An approach to measuring and valuing social impacts and practical steps to achieve wider adoption of Payment by Results schemes by Departments.

Helping economic take off: Devolving Air Passenger Duty

This edition discusses the effects of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement on 29 November, which confirmed a substantial rise in Air Passenger Duty (APD) in 2012, and what the future for the Northern Ireland leisure and business travel will be.

Good growth index - Our report on economic wellbeing

One of the toughest questions for today's governments is how to achieve balanced economic growth that is financially, socially and environmentally sound.

Spending Review: One Year On

One year ago the Coalition announced unprecedented levels of public spending cuts. Since then Government has focused on dealing with the deficit and implementing the spending cuts programme.

Delivering the Information Revolution: From vision to reality

This Talking Points publication explores what needs to happen to turn the "Information Revolution" in the NHS vision into reality.

Out in the open: Delivering Public Service Reform

Rising demand for public services, tightened budgets and the need for a leaner, more efficient public sector mean public service reform is high on the Coalition’s agenda.

Time to choose: Decision-making in an age of fiscal austerity

All of the political parties now agree - spending cuts and tax rises will be needed to address the UK's public sector debt mountain.

Funding tomorrow's care – Practical implications of the Dilnot Commission proposals

On July 2010 the Government set up the independent Commission on Funding of Care and Support, chaired by Andrew Dilnot, to develop solutions on how to 'achieve an affordable and sustainable funding system for care and support, for all adults in England, both in the home and other settings.'

How sustainable are the UK public finances in the long run?

Raising the retirement age alone is not sufficient for long term UK debt sustainability. This article argues that reducing UK public debt to pre-crisis levels in the long run will require additional tax rises and/or spending cuts of around £20 billion by 2020 in addition to moving the state pension age up to 70 by 2046.

Selling HS2 - Delivering a return on Government's investment

The Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond recently confirmed that it is the UK government’s intention to sell High Speed 2 (HS2) once built.

Making the most of HRA reform

Earlier this year the government announced radical changes to the way rental incomes from social housing are collected. These changes will give councils control of over £300 billion of rental income and make them responsible for deciding how they use it to meet their local housing needs.

Is PFI Working?

The real problem with PFI is not the one we're hearing about in the press. The procurement process means that PFI deals are structured and signed under significant public sector scrutiny.

Stepping up

Stepping up : The challenges for Finance in the public sector continues PwC's research into the role of Finance in the public sector.

Delivering a National Care Fund: How would a public-private partnership work?

Delivering a National Care Fund: How would a public-private partnership work?is the fifth in a ten part series from the Strategic Society Centre, with support from PwC, alongside BUPA, Age UK and Tunstall. This series is exploring practical solutions for financing social care in the UK.

Implications of the bribery act for higher education

Bribery has traditionally not been considered a high management risk for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Recent changes in UK law however, mean a rethink is needed. This Talking Points outlines some of the new risks facing HEIs and the ways in which these may be addressed.

Infrastructure investment in the wake of crisis

Our latest Talking Points publication argues for continued investment in infrastructure, despite the global financial crisis.

Sustaining an affordable asset base for UK plc

Our latest Talking Points publication looks at how government invests in the UK's infrastructure, and the possibilities for extending this to other parts of the public sector.

Rebalancing the economy: prospects for the North

This report by the Smith Institute, in association with PwC and Newcastle University provides a detailed analysis of past and present policies to tackle regional inequalities.

Charging ahead: Should government charge for more?

With the Coalition facing the dual challenge of reducing the deficit and implementing public service reform, should government charge for more services?

Inheritance tax: Could it be used to fund long-term care?

Inheritance Tax: Could it be used to fund long-term care?, January 2011, is the second in a ten part series from the Strategic Society Centre, with support from PwC, alongside BUPA, Age UK and Tunstall. This series is exploring practical solutions for financing social care in the UK.

Business as Usual? - The need for radical change to the delivery of economic policy

The economic recovery in Northern Ireland is weak and lacklustre. So what can the government do?

Government Futures: Corporation Tax - Game changer or game over?

In this publication we ask if low Corporation Tax is the gamechanger for today's Northern Ireland that Ray McSharry perceived it to be for the Republic of the 1980s – or is it game over for cutting headline rates and, if so, what else is out there?

A vision for funding adult social care

A new publication from the Strategic Society Centre, with support from PwC as well as BUPA, Age UK and Tunstall, seeks to provide a long term vision for adult social care funding. This is the first of a series of publications on the funding options for social care in the UK.

The future of retirement in a transforming workplace

People are living longer, healthier lives, bringing a number of challenges. A public debate is required, alongside action from Government, employers and the financial services industry

Assertive citizens: New relationships in the public services

A Social Market Foundation report produced in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP examines how the rise in "assertive individualism" is affecting public policy in the UK and draws conclusions on how government can enable reform in a way which empowers users in their dealings with public services.

Who's accountable?

All parties appear to support greater localism but given the tendency to hold ministers accountable for all aspects of public service performance is it really possible for government to let go in our centralised political culture?

Expectations and Aspirations: Public attitudes towards social care

The future of social care has long been a topic of policy debate in the UK. Current social care arrangements are widely considered to be financially unsustainable, incoherent and unfair. However, despite the strong consensus for the need for change, policy on social care has stagnated.

Finance at the crossroads: The changing role of finance in government and the public sector

Finance functions in government and the public sector face one common and pervasive challenge - balancing competing demands of finance efficiency, compliance and control, and insight. In any organisation, finance must juggle with running efficiently, demonstrating value for money while establishing and maintaining effective controls to manage risk, and delivering real insight to the business.

New partnerships for public services

The third sector makes a significant contribution to society, employing 650,000 people, and contributing nearly —9 billion a year to the UK economy with social enterprises alone. The sector has evolved at a rapid rate, assisted over the last decade by a determined push from Whitehall to create a more mixed economy for public service delivery.

The Perfect Storm

There is widespread agreement that there is an impending crisis in public sector finances. The impact on local government will be significant with many predicting a correction of between 25% - 30% of the cost base.

Social Private Partnerships - Innovation in public service delivery

The last decade has seen a determined push by Whitehall to create a more mixed economy for public service delivery. The policy objective, has been to transform the UK's £79bn public service market by widening choice, lowering cost and radically improving service delivery.

A place at the top table

This publication continues PricewaterhouseCoopers' research into the role of Finance in the public sector, examining the trends, issues and the changing environment faced by finance directors across the sector.

School workforce matters

School Workforce Matters reports that while Northern Ireland significantly outperforms the rest of the UK in terms of A-Level and top-end GCSE results, a long tail of under-achievement persists.

Working longer, living better: A fiscal and social imperative

This generation is enjoying longer lives and longer periods of retirement than any of its predecessors. But these big changes also create a number of significant challenges, especially to the government's fiscal position through higher costs of state pensions, health and long-term care.

When Im 94: How to fund care for an ageing population

The Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) are working in partnership to consider how the future system of social care can be based on principles of fairness, sustainability and simplicity.

Capable Communities: Towards Citizen-Powered Public Services

Everyone is talking about the 'Big Society' but much of the discussion to date has been abstract rather than practical.

Northern Ireland: Whatever happened to the Programme for Government?

This publication considers the previous Programme for Government in Northern Ireland (2008-11) in terms of outturns contrasted to targets with a view to informing the most recent Programme for Government (2011-15).

Sectoral and regional impact of the fiscal squeeze

Nearly one million public and private sector workers are expected to lose their jobs by 2014/15 because of public sector spending cuts. And, some regions and industries will be hit harder than others.

The value of PFI: hanging in the balance (sheet)?

This publication looks at the impact of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in the light of the impending adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by the UK Government from 2008/2009 onwards.

Dealing with (even more) debt

The UK public finances remain under severe strain. Recession has been more severe than forecast and the rising tide of public debt is worrying politicians, businesses, bond markets, credit rating agencies and taxpayers alike. Taking tough decisions on both tax and spending will be critical to turning the tide of debt.

Reforming public services and narrowing the fiscal gap

Exceptional times require exceptional responses. The UK's public finances are under severe strain due to the effects of the global financial crisis and the deepening UK recession.

London Councils

New thinking is needed to meet the scale of the UK's fiscal challenge. Public services – particularly locally – still underperform in working effectively across organisational boundaries which impacts adversely on quality and outcomes. It also builds cost and inefficiency into the system.

The Commission on Long-Term Care Funding Options: A roundtable summary

The Commission on Long-Term Care Funding Options reports on a roundtable convened by the Social Market Foundation to draw lessons from the experience of previous commissions on long-term care funding and from previous commissions on other policy challenges, notably pensions.