The State of the State 2020-21

Government in the pandemic and beyond. This year's State of the State finds government and public services across the UK leading radical, exhaustive and dynamic responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

The State of the State 2020-21 is now live. The report, now in its ninth year, brings together Deloitte and Reform to take an annual snapshot of the UK’s public sector. It has been informed by an exclusive survey with more than 5,000 people on their views of government and public services carried out by Ipsos MORI, as well as an analysis of interviews with more than 40 public sector leaders on a range of topics including their aspirations to retain some of the agility with which their organisations have been addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

Our exclusive citizen survey explores perceptions of public services and public spending beyond COVID-19, as well as a public perspective on the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. We found that:

  1. Local job opportunities are the public’s biggest cause of dissatisfaction. 
  2. The public are worried about young people after COVID-19, but are more hopeful for community spirit and business innovation. 
  3. Half the public are expecting higher public spending and higher tax or borrowing. 
  4. Nearly half the public believe that pursuing a green recovery will boost the economy. 
  5. What people want levelled up varies by region and nation. 
  6. Public priorities for more investment are health, social care, crime, jobs and housing. 
  7. The public are split on whether departments should share their data within government. 
  8. Attitudes to the public sector’s use of personal data vary by data type. 
  9. Older people are slightly more likely to back data sharing across government for its benefits. 
  10.  The public increasingly trust the NHS with data more than any other part of the public sector and many private sector organisations.

The report features an analysis of interviews with more than 40 public sector leaders on a range of topics and found that:

  1. 2020 has seen government and public services deliver for the country. 
  2. Leaders want to retain the agility they found in the pandemic but sense a drift back to normality. 
  3. Unwinding government’s economic intervention is a looming challenge. 
  4. The public sector estate and ways of working may change but leaders are yet to decide how. 
  5. Civil Service reform plans are welcome but require fundamental change in Whitehall. 
  6. The future is data-driven but government needs to build consent and capability 
  7. Exiting the EU is a chance to rethink the UK’s place in the world but officials urge businesses to be ready. 
  8. Levelling up is right for the UK but it needs definition and devolution to drive delivery. 
  9. Levelling up and a green recovery won’t happen without investment in skills. 
  10.  Macro choices for the NHS and social care still lie ahead. 
  11.  Diversity and legitimacy are front of mind for police leaders. 
  12.  Local government faces a perfect storm of heightened demand and reduced income.

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