UK: What Citizens Think About The Public Sector

The State Of The State
Last Updated: 24 November 2016
Article by Deloitte LLP

Understanding citizen attitudes has always been important to government and the public sector. Political leaders strive to respond to the electorate's priorities and public service managers want to deliver on citizen expectations. But a clear view on what matters to the public is more important than ever in an age of spending restraint – it allows the public sector to make informed choices about allocating resources and reforming services in ways that deliver the most citizen impact.

For this year's State of the State report, Deloitte LLP and Reform commissioned Ipsos MORI to survey more than 1,000 members of the public on their attitudes and expectations of the public sector. The research offers seven headline findings:

  1. The NHS remains people's top priority
    The NHS should stay at the top of the government's priority list, according to our survey – in spite of Brexit. Although 33 per cent of respondents said that the government needs to prioritise leaving the EU, the NHS was well ahead with 57 per cent. And 30 per cent said that the government should focus on education. So while people recognise the importance of a successful Brexit, they want the government to keep improving public services and deliver 'business as usual'.
  2. People fear a post-Brexit decline in services
    Many people remain wary about the impact of Brexit on public services. Just 28 per cent think the decision to leave the EU will improve services – compared to 41 per cent who fear it could have a negative effect. That said, the most pessimistic respondents came from groups more likely to have voted 'remain' in the referendum including Londoners and higher earners. In other words, the people who voted to stay in the EU are likely to still believe that leaving could have negative consequences.
  3. Citizens are broadly satisfied with public services
    Nationally, more people believe public services are getting worse than they did in the late 1990s – yet their personal experience is largely positive. Some 18 per cent told us that the public services exceed their expectations compared to just five per cent when Ipsos MORI ran the same survey question in 1998, and overall satisfaction levels are high. This suggests public awareness about austerity has created a sense of worsening services, or has reduced expectations – but actual user experience remains good.
  4. Austerity's impact has risen in the past year
    The majority of respondents to our survey – some 72 per cent – did not feel they have been significantly impacted by spending cuts. But the proportion of those hit by austerity measures has increased since last year from 23 to 27 per cent. And we found parents, people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and renters are generally more likely to feel affected.
  5. Support for tax rises has grown
    Our survey asked people what would most improve their services locally – and the top three answers were 'better public transport', 'better healthcare' and 'more investment'. If the Chancellor is considering a shift to infrastructure and public investment in the Autumn Statement, as many believe, he might find that the move reflects public opinion.
    But if the public wants more money spent on services, the obvious question is whether they would be willing to pay for it – and our survey suggests that support for tax rises has indeed risen over the austerity years. Some 60 per cent told us they believe public services should be extended, even if that means higher taxes. That's a marked increased from 46 per cent when Ipsos MORI last asked this question last in 2009.
  6. People want a more responsive and personalised public sector
    Our survey asked people how their experience of public services compares to their experience of private sector services, like banks and shops. Overall, people see little difference – except in two regards: just 19 per cent said public bodies listen to their preferences, compared to the private sector score of 28 per cent. Similarly, 17 per cent said the public sector offers a personalised service compared to 27 per cent for the private sector. And the over 65s – the most frequent users of many public services – are the most likely to feel that public services are less likely to listen. These findings suggest that citizens want to feel that public bodies are responsive to their needs.
  7. The public sector needs to bridge a digital divide
    As public bodies ramp up their online engagement with the public, our survey finds a digital divide that needs to be recognised. When we asked people about their preferences for contacting the public services, we found that public demand for communicating online is split. There is a huge appetite for online engagement among affluent professionals and those under 45, but it trails off by age and occupation classification. For the public sector, that means online channels have a very strong future – but in the meantime, public bodies need to make sure that no user groups are excluded as online interaction is rolled out.

For more detail on our citizen survey, take a look at The State of the State 2016-17.

Other consultations

There have been a number of consultations on other tax matters over the last few months and we can expect to hear the outcomes (or a progress report) at the Autumn Statement.

These include:

  • Changes to the farmers' averaging rules (a move to five-year averaging)
  • A review of the use of Deeds of Variation for tax purposes
  • Replacement of the 'wear-and-tear' allowances for those letting furnished residential
  • accommodation with an allowance based on actual costs
  • Review of employee benefits and expenses
  • Simplifying tax and national insurance on termination payments
  • Changes to the IR 35 rules

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions