Why collaboration between the public and private sectors is a prerequisite for a safe, secure and prosperous society
Safety and security lie at the heart of the prosperity of any nation. Citizens want to feel safe (protected from risk or injury) and secure (free from danger or threat). But today security is challenged in all aspects of our daily lives and trust in the institutions that should keep us safe is low. As a result, even in stable countries, many citizens say they feel or perceive themselves to be unsafe.
In this new reality, national, regional and local governments need to view citizen safety (and security) in a holistic light and work across borders to achieve it. Our new report proposes an approach to security that is purposefully broad and inclusive, with collaboration deeply embedded across four interrelated domains: physical, digital, economic and social.
We use case studies to show how collaboration across these domains and among institutions and organisations in both the public and private sectors can help increase citizen security.
We challenge leaders to assess what they are doing now and propose actions they can take to strengthen their ability to deliver a more secure future for their citizens.
The security domains in which individual organisations are present may differ based on their scope and area of operations, and the examples below are only indicative.
The interconnectivity of the domains adds to the complexity of delivering security and the need to think holistically across all domains. Across the world PwC has encountered areas where successful collaborations between governments and their private and not-for-profit partners have been forged. It is not only possible but imperative for institutions to collaborate, as this will help build and maintain citizens’ trust.
We have developed a systemic approach to security across four intersecting domains that illustrates potential areas of collaboration.
The strength of a nation’s defence force is traditionally seen as a key source and indicator of physical security. Defence is increasingly shifting into the digital domain to provide protection against cyber warfare. Protecting citizens and property (intellectual and physical) means that defence forces will also need to collaborate with the private sector, including technology organisations, and local government to maintain and build citizens’ trust.
Education underpins social security by giving citizens the ability to both exercise their rights as citizens and acquire the skills they need to ensure their economic security. Educational establishments have a dual responsibility to their students: to keep them secure, which requires working with policing institutions (physical security), and to prepare them to work in a changing world, which means enhancing digital security on the platforms they use and also working closely with the private sector to match training to job requirements.
The interconnected global economy is at the heart of delivering economic prosperity and social progress. This requires collaboration across the public and private sectors, particularly in financial services, where digital security needs to be robust to ensure societal trust. This includes the protection of financial assets, no matter where they are held and how they are transferred around the globe, as well as personal data.
Security applies to anything we would want to protect from a perceived risk or threat. This includes food and water — the basic needs of life (social, physical and economic). It would require, for example, government working with the private sector to secure food and water supply chains across borders. By 2050, the global population will increase by one-third, to almost 10bn people. Global food production will therefore need to increase proportionally.
People rely on healthcare organisations for their social security to keep them well and able to contribute to the economy. The increased use of technology in healthcare management and service delivery through digital health records and e-consultations is raising issues of personal data security. This underscores the importance of digital security in this sector and the need for organisations to ensure their trustworthiness.
Housing is an essential element of a nation’s infrastructure and is the foundation of people’s physical and social security. Suitable accommodation ensures that people are well enough to live, work and contribute economically to society. Government must work with the private sector to ensure, either through specific policies or incentives, that citizens have shelter. Widespread homelessness exacerbates civil unrest.
We rely on the traditional security agencies to keep our neighbourhoods safe (for physical and social security). The disruption to communities caused by migration, which is likely to continue, is putting more strain on these services. The increasing complexity of criminal networks and the rise of cybercrime (digital) is also putting pressure on resources.
The retail sector not only provides employment (economic security) for a large number of people but, more broadly, also supplies the basics people need to survive. Retailers and governments should work together to ensure the security of the supply chains (physical) for these goods across and within borders. With the growth of online shopping, retailers also need to safeguard customers’ personal data from digital threats.
Technology touches most aspects of people’s lives (social and digital). Whether it’s surveillance tech used to monitor borders and potential hot spots or blockchain ledgers used to verify financial transactions, there’s little in today’s world that isn’t digitised and connected. People need to trust the agencies in charge of their data, and earning that trust requires the private and public sector to work together on digital privacy and cybersecurity (economic) regulations and the technology needed to keep our data safe.
Transportation is part of a nation’s critical infrastructure, which is bound up with physical security. A resilient transport and logistics system is essential to economic prosperity. Threats to transport from, for example, climate change, terrorism and cyberattacks (digital) need to be addressed through collaboration across institutions, both public and private.
Infrastructure (including power, telecoms, transport and the like) is critical to people’s physical security and requires digital security. Whether operated in the public or private sectors, critical infrastructure promotes economic growth and helps safeguard social cohesion. That’s why it is important that operators of these services work together to mitigate and cope with threats, including cyber, climate and terrorist risks.
Governments, their agencies and other stakeholders need to be constantly vigilant to the risks that endanger the safety of their citizens. This means assessing the threat levels across the four intersecting domains of physical, digital, economic and social security. It is helpful to view these domains within the context of PwC’s ADAPT framework, which identifies five global issues facing the world today and their implications:
Against this backdrop, we advocate a collaborative approach that focusses on where the key elements of security overlap and places a particular emphasis on trust.
Based on our experience, we have identified six key actions that government leaders at all levels need to prioritise now:
1. Develop systemic approaches to security. Assess how your existing approach can adapt to address the interplay of the different physical, digital, economic and social security domains and identify weak links across sectors.
2. Identify the stakeholders needed to collaborate to develop a joint agenda and a national safety and security policy that can cascade to the local level, adopting an inclusive approach to stakeholder engagement.
3. Identify key deliverables and assess the interconnectedness of those involved across sectors in their delivery.
4. Develop the capacity and capability to deliver security, in particular by identifying whether the required distributed leadership is in place across sectors.
5. Invest in leadership to understand better how to engage the public and instil a sense of trust in those who serve them.
6. Manage carefully the trade-off of security with citizens’ rights. This means agreeing to a new relationship between citizens and the state with regard to how people’s data will be safeguarded.
Private-sector firms (from multinationals to small and medium-sized enterprises) and the not-for-profit sector (including civil society) need to address their own set of overlapping challenges:
Egon de Haas
Global Government & Public Services, Senior Manager, PwC Netherlands
Tel: +31 88 792 65 13
Global Government Security Network, Director, PwC Netherlands
Tel: +31 88 792 32 85
Global Government Defence Network, Partner, PwC Australia
Tel: +61 2 6271 3522
Cyber Security, Senior Manager, PwC Sweden