Public sector/government consulting frameworks

Framework Government issue tree Public Sector Structure
New answer on Feb 27, 2020
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Daniel asked on Apr 11, 2019


I'm wondering if anybody could give some advice or point me towards sources for good public sector/government consulting frameworks which can assist me in structuring public sector/government cases? My career plan is to work in consultancy solving cases for national and regional governments for some years and then head to the foreign service where I also believe this knowledge will come in handy.

I have had great use of learning about traditional business consultancy frameworks and I can for sure apply some of this knowledge on public sector cases. I'm however looking for some specific frameworks to assist in structuring cases for public sector clients. I think that public sector cases are often more complex than private sector cases since it's not "just" about making profit or deciding on entering a new market or not etc. The public sector often has multiple equally important goals at the same time which often contradicts each other, for example efficiency goals, equality goals, political feasibility and so on. And often these goals works in the opposite direction of each other; For example the goal of making unemployment services more efficient often contradict the goal of making it equal for all citizens (so it's not just helping "easy" Uni graduates but also disadvantaged long-term unemployed) and you might also have a tough time raising political support for some of the possible solutions. So can you name any good sources for public sector consulting frameworks?


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 13, 2019
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Daniel,

My approach

Public sector cases are tricky because they feasibly be any case type (Product Launch - new service for citizens; M&A - merging two departments; even Profitability - cost cutting mandate). For any public sector case, I recommend:

  1. First identifying the type of case it is.
  2. Second, leverage your knowledge of the public sector as constraints/considerations.


Regards #2, you know that public perception is particularly important to consider in any public sector move. Additionally, you can count on bureacracy/slowness in implementation. You should identify the goal/mission of the organisation as well and keep this top of mind (if it loses money, but achieves it's goal of helping the poor, no problem). Howvever, just because the government sector doesn't have profit as a target, doesn't mean you should ignore the profit tree altogether - governments are still obliged to take into costs (and sometimes revneues) in decisions (example: setting up a public transport initiative). Don't get tricked into thinking you can't consider the economics of the case!

Other items to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Politlcal landscape (i.e. upcoming elections, special interest groups)
  • Sustainability
  • Private-public partnerships
  • International vs governmental vs state vs local partnerships/alignment
  • Income = taxes/budgetary landscape
  • Digitialization of government

Framework Resource

In terms of resources, the UPenn Wharton 2011 casebook has a framework for public sector. It's split into:

  1. Strategic rationale (Mission of organisation and stakeholder reactions)
  2. Deal economics (planned investment and returns, if any)
  3. Other (Required capabilities and risks)

Practice Cases

If you want some practice cases:

  • Tepper 2008's "NGO Effectiveness"
  • Colombia 2011's "MadeCasse"

Hope this helps, and please don't hesitate to ask any follow-up/clarifying questions!

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 27, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached


The public sector cases are not completely different from standard cases. The critical point is to clearly identify the objective of your client that could be really different from standard cases (often non-monetary). You should stress this part, asking for clear definition and target. For example "To improve the Healthcare system" could be transformed in completely different analyses (do we want to increase the quality of our system?Or do we want to make it more accessible for everyone?Or do we want to reduce the waiting time for a medical test?)

Once that you know your goal, you can start your analyses like in a standard business case. Don't forget that even if you are not in a standard P&L case, you will probably have a budget for your project. This means that you have to consider what are the revenues and the costs in a specific time horizon, otherwise you don't know if your project is feasible or not.

The specific "public case" parts that you should consider to add to your standard framework are:

  • Potential partnerships with private companies
  • Public value of your project
  • Alternative solutions to address the same problem
  • Political landscape and public opinion

Hope it helps,

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replied on Apr 11, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


They are rare is that the casebooks (that are in general not a good source of cases). To provide a bit of structure, there are several types of non-profit cases:

  1. Factors influencing the price (What are the factors influencing the price of oil? Factors influencing the price of real estate?)
  2. Macroeconomic cases (How will you improve life expectancy in a particular city? How will you decrease the unemployment?)
  3. Public sector non-profits (Increasing the revenues of a museum; increasing the revenues from tourism in a city)
  4. Redesigning the processes (How will you develop a new anti-monopoly regulation?)
  5. Non-profit investments (A billionaire is building a new school. What are the factors to look at?)

Feel free to reach out if you need help with these cases. I usually give homework of 10 of these cases and then we go through them during the session.


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Ian gave the best answer


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