Purpose – Public services will face major challenges over the next decade; severe financial pressures and cuts; growing demand; raising public and user expectations; decentralisation and community empowerment; opportunities to deploy new technology; and global competition. This will result in a changing relationship between citizen and services users with the state and service providers. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the challenges and opportunities in contemporary public sector leadership which face executive leaders. Design/methodology/approach – The paper considers what public service leaders will need to do; how they will need to behave; and the competencies and styles of leadership that will be required. It is a commentary and thought piece based on the author's wide experience, conversations with leaders from all sectors in the UK and his advisory and research projects. Findings – There will be a paradigm shift in the relationship between the business, public, social and third sectors and this will require more effective collaboration between the sectors. The result of these far‐reaching changes is the need for a strong, outcome focused and collaborative leadership across all sectors, and specifically in the public sector. Leadership will be critical. Originality/value – This article provides challenge and advice for leaders in the public sector and in the business, social and third sectors who work with the public sector and are responsible for public service delivery. It should enable leaders and potential leaders to consider how they can develop and practise collaborative leadership personally and within their organisations.
The International Journal of Leadership in Public Services – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 16, 2012
Keywords: Leadership; United Kingdom; Public services; Public leadership; Local governance; Innovation; Public service reform; Collaboration; Partnership; Collaborative leadership; Public services industry; Social sector; Third sector; Whitehall; Civil Service reform
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