Over the last two decades the public sector has been one of the more important driving engines for consuming management consulting services internationally. Consultants have been used widely to help modernise the design and delivery of public services and introduce best practices from the private sector.
The need to improve efficiency has presented an important strategic and operational challenge as it involves a range of socio-economic and political interests. In the UK the successive political parties have been dependent on their capacity to modernise society through the deployment of large software systems that can allow easier access to local authority services, healthcare and tax. The need to improve quality of public life led to the deployment of large change initiatives by deploying consulting services. Recent developments include the deployment of electronic services that aim to reduce red tape and increase efficiency by replacing traditional methods for processing information and also for responding to the public. Connecting for Health is one of the largest UK initiatives for modernising the National Health Service (NHS) with costs expected to reach £20 billion.
The relationship between management consulting and the public sector is currently changing, mainly because of the new economic constraints imposed as a result of country's exposure to deficit. The uncertain economic environment is inevitably challenging existing methods and practices by which the UK government chooses to sustain their modernisation strategy for reforming the public sector.
This research involves the collection of interview data, participant observation analysis and the production of internal reports to explore structural shifts and international trends in the changing relationship between management consultancy and the public sector.