Knowledge and innovation are central to the UK’s future productivity and growth. They are a key focus of the government’s Industrial Strategy. These strengths are apparent in the public sector as well as the private sector, where research has highlighted a large growth in the value of the UK public sector’s knowledge assets. Work undertaken as part of the Balance Sheet Review, launched at Autumn Budget 2017 and tasked with getting better value from government’s wide range of assets and liabilities, brought to light the scale and variety of knowledge assets held by the public sector. Engagement with experts from across government and the wider public sector, including universities, revealed examples of ground-breaking innovations that were delivering huge public benefits, including financial returns for government.
The work also found that a range of barriers stand in the way of enterprising public servants and agencies who want to realise the full impact of their innovations. This report makes a series of recommendations for how to overcome these barriers and help to unlock the full value of public sector knowledge assets. They would involve a radical transformation in the way that government manages its knowledge assets, increasing its visibility across the public sector and ensuring that the right expertise is deployed to maximise the social, economic and financial returns on these important intangible assets.