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The Government’s Review of Public Sector Productivity Comes With Risks

“Productivity and unintended consequences”

In the last year, many of our private and public sector clients have reported challenges in improving productivity post-Covid, as they grapple with new working practices, blended working, and the changing expectations of employees. Of course, on the flip side of the coin is the huge potential rise in productivity due to the digitisation of their services and production processes, as well as property cost reductions and the introduction of innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).

With over 5.83 million people employed in the public sector, the Government has ordered a review of public sector productivity, aiming to “deliver more for less”.

With findings published in Autumn, the review will investigate unnecessary admin tasks, diversity initiatives and opportunities to use new technologies to increase productivity.

Whilst the exploration of AI and new ways of working could produce welcome benefits, many are dismayed at yet another focus on “delivering more for less”. Perhaps more worrying is the apparent suggestion for a crackdown on equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives and jobs.

In recent years there have been great improvements in EDI across both the public and private sectors, and Penna has supported many of them and is already utilising AI to improve recruitment outcomes.

Achieving greater productivity is a critical priority for the UK economy, but at what cost? By damaging the infrastructure that has allowed greater sections of our community to contribute their skills and innovation, aren't we in danger of undermining productivity and harming the economy?

Embracing new technology, providing greater access to jobs and challenging social discrimination must be part of the mix.

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