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Research report: Change in the public sector

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APM has launched its latest research report The successful delivery of change within the public sector: getting it right.

Commissioned by APM's Enabling Change SIG Public Sector practitioner group in conjunction with APM Research, the report seeks to promote new understanding of change in public-sector organisations while triggering new discussions on how delivery can be improved.

Commenting on the importance of the research, Dr Andrew Schuster (PWC), research project lead, explained: “Every segment of the public sector appears to be undergoing enormous change in response to near cataclysmic shifts in technical, economic, social and political pressures. The pressures can be expected to increase in coming years. This study explores the distinctive nature of the public sector and how it enables to change, providing relevant and practical insights. I hope it will help organisations to cope with the current changes and to prepare for those in the future."

The research project considers criteria that contribute to the successful delivery of change in the public sector and was designed around two key concepts: organisational capability and accountability.

The study found six criteria (below) were critical to improving the delivery of public-sector change. If one or more of the identified criteria were absent, the change largely resulted in failure.

Becci Bryant, chief executive of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Services, who participated in the research, commented: “I was very pleased that the fire service was invited to support the development of the APM report as the work that has been undertaken to ensure effective change management at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has been substantial over the last five years.”

Participating organisations also included:

  • Animal and Plant Health Agency
  • Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
  • Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs
  • London Borough of Hackney
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Independent consultants experienced in working across public-sector organisations

Download the report

Further information on APM’s research can be found HERE



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  1. Andrew Schuster
    Andrew Schuster 20 May 2017, 12:37 PM

    The report infers that the 'publicness' of an organisations matters and explores areas where it appears to matter. If you are leading or delivering public projects, your views may be of interest to others. Comments?

  2. Andrew Schuster
    Andrew Schuster 03 June 2017, 05:15 PM

    Although extensive research has examined both risk and innovation, the idea of considering the two issues in the public sector is novel. A band of merry people spent some time researching this topic for the Cabinet Office. I happened to be involved. Details of these study can be found at