Consultation outcome

Business productivity review: call for evidence

This consultation has concluded

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Business productivity review

Detail of outcome

The Business Productivity Review is our response to the call for evidence. It outlines plans to spend £56 million to support business productivity, and highlights 10 key actions to drive forward change and improve productivity.

The call for evidence responses highlighted that the changes needed to improve the productivity of businesses, and in turn realise growth, are often cyclical and following a number of key steps, each with their own challenges.

The 4 stages of the business change cycle are:

  • realisation that a change is needed
  • assessment of the costs, quality and value of change, and of the business support available to help identify solutions
  • navigation of the business support environment to find advice, or new services and products, to deliver the desired change
  • embedding the change in the business to realise the benefits, which may require strong leadership and or training of staff

Detail of feedback received

We received more than 140 written responses to the call for evidence, and held meetings with 3,000 business leaders. In parallel, we engaged with sector trade bodies and membership organisations that jointly represent over 500,000 businesses across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The responses broadly agreed with our interpretation of the evidence base and have furthered our understanding of key areas of debate. Some of the responses highlighted helpful sources of information, and provided anecdotal evidence to demonstrate the barriers that small and medium businesses face today. As a result we have expanded our thinking into new areas beyond those set out in the call.

Original consultation


We're seeking evidence on firm-level factors that may improve productivity for the long tail of low productivity businesses.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

Raising productivity is one of the government’s key priorities and core to the UK’s Industrial Strategy.

As part of our approach to improving the business environment, the Industrial Strategy white paper announced that the government would launch a review of the actions that could be most effective in improving the productivity and growth of small and medium-sized businesses. This review is focused on improving the productivity of businesses with lower productivity, sometimes described as a ‘long tail’ that lags behind the leading firms and underperform relative to domestic and international benchmarks.

This call for evidence will inform the review. It seeks evidence relating to firm-level factors that may impact productivity – these are decisions that are controlled by and / or taken within individual businesses.

As well as responding to the formal consultation here, why not join this discussion around the subject of productivity?

The review will build the government’s understanding of how firm-level interventions, by public and private sector actors, can support growth and improve productivity for the long tail of low productivity businesses. It aims to:

  • improve our understanding of high and low productivity businesses, and the practices driving the performance of each
  • improve our understanding of the market in which interventions operate
  • explore which interventions by the public sector and private sector are effective in improving the practices that drive business productivity, including the ways in which information is communicated

This review will report its findings to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Autumn 2018. The output of the review will be used to help inform the next steps on the delivery of the Industrial Strategy.


Business productivity review: call for evidence

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Published 23 May 2018
Last updated 5 November 2019 + show all updates
  1. Business productivity review published.

  2. Closing date changed to 6 July 2018.

  3. First published.