Police officer writing a report

Public service reform for productivity boosts

The UK Government has announced that innovation and public service reform can unlock productivity, as a new review outlines the effect that administrative tasks have on productivity.

Following the review’s finding that some public servants are spending around a day every week on admin, it has been found that more than 38 million police hours every year could be freed up, alongside a five-hour reduction in teacher workload per week.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said:

“Our public servants are among the best in the world, but we don’t help them or taxpayers when a day every week is wasted on admin.

“We must do better by cutting admin, preventing problems before they emerge and safely introducing new technology like AI. This will deliver happier workforces, better public services, and a stronger economy.”

Ahead of the Autumn Statement this week, an update is being published to the Public Sector Productivity Programme that will open up new opportunities for the cutting of admin, utilising the use of AI, and delivering early interventions to support public services that are under pressure.

The Productivity Programme combines technology, business, and public service expertise as it looks to overcome the challenges that are faced by public services in the future. Workforce, AI and new technology, and prevention have been identified as three areas that can be improved upon.

Following the Chancellor’s announcement that civil service numbers are to be capped and its potential to save the taxpayer £1 billion during the current spending period, a review is underway to look into equality and diversity spending within the civil service. This has led to improved opportunities for reform in the culture, shape, and size of the public sector in the UK. Other improvements include the cutting of “unnecessary bureaucracy” for police officers with this helping to direct officers’ time back to keeping communities safe.

Touching on this, Home Secretary James Cleverly said:

“I am committed to keeping the British public safe, so I that means removing red tape from policing, that is the action I will take.

“We have already made a start by cutting bureaucracy and reducing the time officers spend attending mental health callouts that should not require a policing response, but we must go further.

“I will work with the police to consider how we can take the review’s other recommendations forward.”

With the rise of artificial intelligence across all sectors, the government is working to use the opportunities that it presents to improve productivity across public services. One way that this is already being utilised is through the use of £2 million of government funding to support teachers through a AI-powered lesson planner and quiz builder that is being piloted.

The third area of improvement within public services, prevention, is being supported through work to help with the improvement of productivity across the NHS and care. This will cover supporting people before they require hospital care, as well as kinship care.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Lara Trott also commented:

“Improving schools, hospitals and our justice system isn’t always about reaching for the spending tap. By safely wielding new technology, cutting down bureaucracy and tackling issues earlier, we can improve morale and performance – while ensuring our public services are ready for the challenges of tomorrow.”


Image credit: iStock

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