Assessing and prioritising public service needs

Understanding the people you serve

The challenge

Combining data sources to build a rich picture of population needs and experiences

  • Effective commissioning starts with a robust public services needs assessment, providing a solid foundation for service design and evaluation that will drive the right outcomes for the populations you serve.
  • Commissioners should be concerned that their investments in the public services system may not be delivering optimal outcomes for their populations. Unfortunately, commissioners often lack the capacity or internal capability to undergo a comprehensive public services needs assessment.
  • There is a wealth of data available. Commissioners need to use an appropriate but comprehensive and trusted mix of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ data from multiple sources and agencies with a suitable combination of historical analysis and predictive modelling.
  • The public services needs assessment applies a systematic method to understand the social issues facing a population. Prioritising underserved needs and sub-optimal experiences leads to improved outcomes whilst addressing population inequities.


What we do

Our structured public services needs assessment approach provides a comprehensive view of the population’s needs and the gaps in current service provision. We also identify where experiences of the public service system are adversely impacting consumers, providers, and population outcomes.

Our structured approach for conducting public services needs assessment includes:

  • Literature reviews bring empirical evidence and best practice public service models from national and international exemplar sites.
  • Market analysis considers the shares of expenditure on the relevant public service sectors and maps the current service provision. It also reviews existing pathways and the inherent public service variation.
  • Consumer perspectives are gained through interviews, surveys, focus groups and social media analysis. This synthesises insights involving consumer groups, peak bodies and local public service providers.
  • Public service economic data analysis uses national and international population benchmarking and economics to statistically assess relevant outcomes for different communities, demographics and conditions.

This structured approach provides commissioners with a rich body of information for planning, implementing and evaluation of future services. As a result, commissioners have a confident platform to construct programs of service improvement and system reform.

Get in touch to discuss how we can support you to develop your Public Service Needs Assessment