02/21/2013

A new contract between business and the state?

Change and complexity are a constant challenge. Disruptive events, both ‘black’ and ‘grey’ swan, seem to be happening faster than ever. And economic conditions are becoming tougher for all, even in the BRIC economies.

While more developed regions, such as North America and Europe, continue to wrestle with fiscal deficits and debt, developing countries are coping not only with the consequences of reduced demand in their export markets, but also the price of success of their own rapid growth, such as the lack of availability of talent and skills.

Against this backdrop of global uncertainty and austerity, government and public sector leaders are facing the challenge of balancing between an internal focus on efficiency and effectiveness and an external focus on helping business to create the wealth and jobs that societies need to prosper. 

Our new Government and the Global CEO report sets out how governments need to respond by: 

  • dealing with uncertainty and create the conditions for good growth and jobs;
  • building resilience by becoming more agile; and
  • shifting the mindset and engagement of public sector and business leaders from co-existence to mutual collaboration.

The world has become so interconnected and inter-dependent that a clear and common agenda of actions has emerged for government and public sector organisations. Public sector leaders must lift the tone and act as strategic role models for their organisations, and their partners, by:

  • Developing their growth stories, describing how businesses and the public sector can work together to reduce the uncertainty that hinders the confidence to invest and create jobs.
  • Prioritising resources and actions to develop the financial sector stability, skills and the enabling infrastructure (transport, housing, energy) required by business to succeed, while also tackling the threat of over-regulation as it rears its head again. This involves supporting businesses in their ambitions to foster the skills and health of their workforces.
  • Building agility to enable public sector organisations to adapt more easily and quickly to their external pressures, from budget cuts to disruptive events, and emerge as more resilient entities able to face the future whatever the uncertainties.
  • Innovating to make breakthroughs in doing things differently and doing different things in a systematic way, including rapid prototyping of new ideas to speed up the service delivery cycle using new technologies and social media.
  • Collaborating with public sector organisations and businesses working in a true spirit of partnership both with each other and with citizens, academia and NGOs to drive us towards good growth.

By creating a new way of working – a new contract between business and government – we should be optimistic that, together, we can make a real difference to the future of our society.


Nick C Jones
Director of PwC’s Public Sector Research Centre
Email: Nick C Jones


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