Cuts top concern of public sector managers, poll shows

10 Apr 13
Three-quarters of local government leaders say funding cuts are the most important issue facing their areas, according to an Ipsos Mori poll published today.

By Vivienne Russell | 10 April 2013

Three-quarters of local government leaders say funding cuts are the most important issue facing their areas, according to an Ipsos Mori poll published today.

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Half of all respondents to the survey, which covered 200 chief executives and senior managers working in health, education, central government and councils, also cited the cuts as their top concern.

Only 16% of those polled said they expected the economic situation in the UK to improve in the next 12 months.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) disagreed that the government’s polices would improve public services in the long run. This is broadly unchanged since the same question was asked in 2011, and reflects attitudes in the wider public.

A large majority (84%) said they thought their organisation had been affected a ‘great deal’ or a ‘fair amount’ by spending cuts. Again, those working in local government felt the cuts most strongly, with three out of five (62%) saying their organisation had been a affected a ‘great deal’, compared with 42% of respondents overall.

Half of the affected public sector leaders (54%) said their organisations were providing a similar quality of service since the cuts took effect. A fifth (22%) said quality had improved and the same proportion said services had deteriorated.

The most commonly cited means of making savings were working in partnership with other organisations, cutting pay and reducing spending on managerial and back-office functions.

Commenting on the findings, Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos Mori, said: ‘Public sector leaders display a mix of traditional British stoicism as much as pessimism when it comes to the current state of public services.

‘Despite budget cuts and the challenges around implementing the reforms, as many think their services are getting better as worse, which matches what is happening among the public, with satisfaction levels with several services still holding up. The question is, can this be preserved with the pressures on the public finances only likely to increase?’

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