UK Public Service Productivity Fell by 0.8% in Q3 2023

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported a 0.8% decline in UK public service productivity for the third quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter. This marks the second consecutive quarterly fall, with levels remaining relatively stable since Q2 2021.

Key Points:

  • Year-on-Year Change: Q3 2023 saw a 0.1% decrease compared to the same quarter in 2022, with inputs rising by 1.8%, slightly outpacing the 1.7% increase in output.
  • Service Areas: Healthcare, education, social protection, justice and fire, military defense, and central government “other” witnessed increases in both inputs and output. Local government “other” experienced a decline in both.
  • Healthcare Impact: The significant growth in healthcare inputs, especially intermediate consumption components, contributed to the overall increase in total inputs.
  • Annual Estimates: Annual estimates suggest a 2.9% rise in public service productivity in 2022, following a 9.1% increase in 2021. However, the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic did not restore productivity to pre-pandemic levels.

The ONS urges caution in interpreting these estimates, emphasizing ongoing methodological developments. A comprehensive review is underway to enhance the measurement of public service productivity, starting with a focus on England.