Tuesday, January 02, 2024

Restoring UK public sector will take 2 parliamentary terms

Prof. Michael Hudson, World Predictions for 2024 (USA, UN, Palestine, Russia And BRICS)

Michael Hudson pulls out his crystal ball to forecast what might be in store for 2024.


Workforce management

Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolios 2006

Restoring UK public sector will take 2 parliamentary terms, warns think-tank Next government will inherit one of ‘most challenging contexts’ since the war, says IPPR

The restoration of “broken” UK public services levels will require two terms of government, according to fresh analysis by a centre-left think-tank.
The Institute for Public Policy Research has warned in a new report that it will take nearly a decade to shrink NHS waiting lists back to 2010 levels, while the backlog in the court system is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2033. 
It also said that more than a single parliamentary term would be needed for the attainment gap between wealthier and poorer secondary school pupils to return to 2017 levels. 
“Many people feel public services are broken . . . We have examined how to return public services to an acceptable level — first meeting basic minimum standards and then aiming higher, because we can’t run before we can walk,” said Harry Quilter-Pinner, research director at IPPR and co-author of the report.
The government formed after the next general election, expected to take place in 2024, will inherit one of the “most challenging contexts” since the second world war, on account of a “toxic combination” of rising demand, stretched resources, “misguided” reform, the pandemic and government cuts, the think-tank said. 
Its analysis chimes with the argument made by Labour that if it won the election, the party would require two terms in government to implement its plans for a “decade of national renewal” to turn around flagging public services. 
The report warned that improving public services would require both additional cash and bold reforms. 
It added that these could include improving the public sector by focusing on what it dubbed the “three Ps” — bolstering productivity, increasing the personalisation of services and preventing people hitting crisis-point by intervening earlier.
The analysis also highlighted the potential for new technologies such as artificial intelligence to free public sector staff for more frontline work.
It examined the potential impact of ChatGPT-4, the most advanced publicly available version of OpenAI’s chatbot interface, and other similar technologies and found that the productivity gains from the technology could save £24bn a year. 
The report modelled the degree of automation likely to be possible for each category of job across the public sector, and found that secretarial, customer service and administrative positions would be the most exposed.
Its analysis showed that caring and personal service occupations would be in line for the biggest productivity boost, which could translate to a “wage gain” of a third for people in these roles. 
However, the think-tank acknowledged the gain “might be captured by the employer” rather than passed on to employees. It cautioned that such technologies had to be “designed and implemented with care”, while staff and general public should be consulted to ensure its use did not increase inequalities.
The IPPR also stressed that capturing AI productivity gains would require major investment in technological infrastructure, plus digital and data skills, while ministers would need to demonstrate “clear and consistent leadership” on related issues such as the future of data-sharing. 
A government spokesperson said “record sums” were already being invested into public services, helping to increase bed and operation capacity in the NHS, and driving up standards in English schools. 
The government has also recruited more judges and invested more funding into the criminal justice system, leading to the highest number of cases being processed in the Crown Courts since 2019, the spokesperson added.
They said: “We are looking at how new technologies like AI can improve public services... Ministers are continuing to build on progress already for greater efficiency and productivity across the public sector.”