Most countries now share the prospect of an extended period of public fiscal austerity. Yet at the same time the demands for improved public services continues. This paper reviews the relationship between expenditure restraint and reform. It describes three broad strategies for achieving savings, noting that each has a different mixture of advantages and disadvantages. It then identifies four significant considerations that public service leaders will need to bear in mind as they decide their programs: timing, ethics, communications and legitimacy. The paper concludes with the observation that simultaneously tackling the needs for austerity
reform will call for extraordinary levels of public service leadership.