Civil servants to face leadership challenges

London, 17 October 2008 —Most senior civil servants will face extraordinary leadership challenges over the next few months and years, even by their robust standards, according to a paper published today by Booz & Company.

The paper, ’Strong medicine - are public sector institutions willing and able to swallow this bitter pill?’  details how the pressures on the public purse coupled with the government’s ambitious delivery objectives will demand particularly nimble and decisive leadership. The report discusses the inherent nature of the public sector, the implications for its leadership at a time when major changes are required, and the imperative for that leadership to come from within the Civil Service.

Stewart Hobbs, Principal in the Public Sector practice at Booz & Company, commented: "There are many challenges that public servants will need to overcome if they are to seize the leadership agenda. Only the best and the strongest public servants can drive through a medium term transformation agenda in the face of political pressure for continued short term victories in the media. Successful application of this prescription requires investment in strong leaders, supported by relevant expertise, who both understand and challenge those barriers to change that permeate the public sector.”

The report concludes that senior public servants will need to move from responding to political pressures to imposing change on their own terms.