Our research



The Serco Institute is constantly producing new research and a significant library of reports from its previous incarnation that provides valuable insight into the economic, political and social environments in which public service delivery can work best. 

People Powered Public Services: Monitoring Australian Opinion
In our first quarterly report monitoring sentiment towards public services, we find Australians are overwhelmingly satisfied with their country's public services, but there exist disparities between the sentiments of different age groups and in the satisfaction levels of different regions with the handling of Covid-19.
Ben O'Keeffe, Geordie Morrison, Robert Liao
14th October 2021
Competitive Tension: The Value of contestable public services in a post-pandemic world
In collaboration with Australian think tank the Menzies Research Centre, this case-study based paper argues that adding a ‘competitive edge’ to many areas of the public sector, services from public transport to healthcare can be markedly improved, productivity increased, and employment opportunities expanded.
Dr Peta Seaton AM, Matt Crocker, Henry Ergas AO
12th October 2021
People Powered Public Services: Monitoring UK Opinion
In our first quarterly report monitoring sentiment towards public services, we find over twice as many Brits are satisfied with public services than not, but men are consistently happier than women and older generations are the most dissatisfied.
Ben O'Keeffe, Geordie Morrison, Robert Liao
1st October 2021
What’s heading down the tracks? The Future of Passenger Rail in Britain
Passenger rail was in the process of transforming before the pandemic took hold. The pace and shape of this change has been significantly impacted by Covid-19. It has left the sector reliant on governments to ensure its survival in the short-term and unsure of the long-term habits of rail users. Government and industry must now collaborate to ensure the railways bounce back strongly.
Serco Institute Staff Team
14th May 2021
Transformation, digitisation & happiness: Public opinion on UAE government services
In this ground-breaking report, we look at what UAE service-users think, how they want things to change and what governments can do to deliver futureproof services.
Serco Institute Staff Team
14th April 2021
Policy People: Dr Ann Limb CBE DL
Policy People is a series of interviews with key figures across the international public service landscape. This time we speak to former senior UK civil servant Dr Ann Limb CBE DL.
Dr Ann Limb CBE DL
8th March 2021
Transformation, digitisation & happiness: Public opinion on government services in Saudi Arabia
In this ground-breaking new report, the Serco Institute outlines its research into what Saudi Arabian citizens and residents think of the government services they use and how they want to develop in future.
Serco Institute Staff Team
3rd March 2021
Vaccine Passports & UK Public Opinion
Are vaccine passports the next big policy tool in the response to Covid-19 in the UK? Our new research explores the UK population's attitudes towards them.
Serco Institute Staff Team
15th February 2021
Policy People: Justine Curran QPM
Policy People is the Serco Institute’s series of interviews with key figures from across the international public sector landscape.
Justine Curran QPM
25th October 2020
Whole Force By Design: Optimising Defence to Meet Future Challenges
How can regular armed forces best be supported by industry, civilians, reserves and contractors? Our study tries to answer this question.
Professor John Gearson (Study Lead); Dr Philip Berry (Senior Researcher); Dr Joe Devanny; Dr Nina Musgrave
13th October 2020
Smart Cities: The critical importance of private sector finance
Research from Siemens Financial Services shows public funds alone fall far short of the resources needed to develop smart cities. Smart, sustainable financing needs to be harnessed from the private sector.(localgov.co.uk)
Smart Cities: The critical importance of private sector finance
31st October 2019
The Structure and Future of the UK Public Services Market
The public service industry in the UK – that part of the market made up of non- government suppliers – accounts for almost 6 percent of GDP and employs some 1.2 million people. However, virtually nothing is known of the supply side of this market.
Alexis Sotiropoulos, Gary L Sturgess, 2012
4th December 2012
Integrated Commissioning: Building a better model for the delivery of social value through diverse networks of local providers
Decentralisation has been identified as an important key to unlock more productive and responsive public services. The closer the services are to service users, the more accountable they are for addressing users’ diverse and individual needs. As such, increasing the impact of public services means devolving control and providing more choice.
Stephen Duckworth, Alexis Sotiropoulos, June 2012
30th June 2012
Frugal Innovation: Learning from social entrepreneurs in India
Over the last 60 years, innovation and improvements in India's public services have frequently emerged in the absence of state intervention or involvement. Social enterprises have stepped in to address the challenges where the government has failed.
Shalabh Kumar Singh, Ashish Gambhir, Alexis Sotiropoulos and Stephen Duckworth, February 2012
29th February 2012
To Guide The Human Puppet: Behavioural economics, public policy and public service contracting
Behavioural economics is the latest fashion in Westminster and Washington. The Serco Institute explores this new trend and asks what it means for public service contracting.
Lauren Cumming, November 2012
30th November 2010
Put To The Test: Commentary on government sourcing of public services for cost efficiency
Gary Sturgess originally published this article in Ethos magazine in 2010. He discusses the benefits of competition in driving large initial cost-savings for public services as well as the impact of buyer’s choice on enduring cost-efficiency, innovation and quality from public service suppliers.
Gary Sturgess, June 2010
4th June 2010
Payment By Performance: Commentary on payment mechanisms for policy outcomes
'If policy analysts carry bumper stickers they should read: Payment on Performance'. The great American political scientist, Aaron Wildavsky, wrote these words almost forty years ago, and yet only recently have politicians begun to give them serious attention.
Gary Sturgess, June 2010
4th June 2010
Government Business: Commentary on the cultural and historical factors that shape public service markets internationally
When it comes to involving the private sector in public service delivery, opinion differs greatly. So is there such a thing as an inherently governmental function?
Gary Sturgess, June 2010
4th June 2010
Competitive Edge: Does contestability work?
One of the principal reasons why governments contract with private firms for the delivery of public services is to be found in the belief that competition will deliver financial benefits. To some this seems self-evident, but others have questioned the scope of these savings, insisting that even where costs have been reduced, it has only been achieved at the expense of workers’ terms and conditions. This paper assesses the impact of contestability across five sectors.
Gary L Sturgess, Briony Smith, November 2007
23rd November 2007
What Gets Measured: Contracting for delivery
Why measuring performance matters, when measurement works, new challenges and approaches, and how to develop the right competencies
Briony Smith, November 2007
23rd November 2007
Built To Serve: The benefits of service-led PPPs
Understanding the benefits brought through the integration of asset design and service design.
Briony Smith, February 2007
23rd February 2007
Bound For Botany Bay: Contracting for quality in public services
A contracting fable that shows it is the design of the contract that matters for successful delivery – in the evaluation criteria, the performance regime, and the manner in which the contract is managed.
Gary Sturgess, August 2005
23rd August 2005
Good People, Good Systems: Former public servants speak about delivering public services in the private sector
Former public servants speak about delivering public services in the private sector and the decision-making environment that enables these people to get on with the business of delivering efficient and effective public services.
Emma Reddington, June 2004
23rd June 2004
The future of public services
Our mission is to help enable governments to develop the next generation of public service solutions for citizens through research and innovation in service design.