If you look just at the finances it's purely grim news.
Councils will get 1.8% less than in 2014 on top of cuts of 37% over the last five years.
Things aren't much better for the NHS. Even with protection, there will, on today's trends, be Â£30 billon annual shortfall, or about 25% of today's NHS budget.
The result of the General Election won't have a big impact on these fundamentals. All the main parties are committed, explicitly or implicitly to continued shrinkage of the public sector.
So the biggest question now is how we can create a public realm with far fewer resources than in the past?
There will be three answers to this question.
The first is to ask citizens to contribute more themselves either financially or by doing more for themselves and each other. Modern public services will be about helping people to help themselves, not along paternalistic lines.
The second will be to accelerate the move of services out of the traditional public sector. Vast numbers of public services, including front-line ones, will need be put out to tender. Competition to provide them, including social enterprises and charities, will drive down costs and increase the flow of new ideas.
The third is that public bodies themselves will try, in the face of these threats, to become more commercial in their approach. Councils will have to redouble their efforts to create businesses from their own departments to become more financially independent.
The view of Stepping Out is that serious cuts in public spending, while tough, also create precious opportunities to 'unfreeze' many public services which have, over time, become outdated and expensive and to give a wide variety of alternative providers a chance to show what they can do at lower cost.
Some of this will be better than what we have now, as shown by many of the public service mutuals and other former public services now provided by new and existing companies.
The mark of a civilised country is the quality of its public realm, not simply the size of its public sector. The two are very different things.
As 2020 draws near, a world-leading public realm in the UK depends not on somehow 'saving' existing public services - that can't happen - but on an unprecedented opening up of public service to new-style providers.
There is every reason to believe that new companies set up by public sector staff will have an important role to play.
Now, as never before, it's Time to Step Out.
The year is coming to a close and it is a good time to sit back (albeit briefly) and consider what has happened in the year that we can learn from and celebrate with you all. We are proud to have worked on some very successful projects, to have seen new businesses spin out or start their journey. We are also extremely proud to see clients winning contracts, growing, improving services and winning awards for all their hard work.
Here is a round up of some of the amazing achievements of our clients, our team and our associates:
Leading Lives - Celebrate their 2nd Birthday as a Social Enterprise and in addition they win a contract for a new supported living project Realise Futures - Win an award from SE100 as Trailblazing Newcomer Join Dementia Research - Win a Â£1million grant to support their next phase of technical development Independence Matters - Holds it's official launch as a new Social Enterprise Provide - John Niland ,CEO, wins EY Social Enterprise Entrepreneur of the year award Pure- Win a five year contract to run Royal Borough of Kingstonâ€™s learning disability services The Healthy Living Centre - See the opening of a new centre in August Chime - Launch their 14th Community clinic in Torbay Chiltern Rangers - Hold official launch
We also saw the first 100 Mutuals celebrated at No 10 this year and Craig represented Stepping Out and met with a large number of our clients to enjoy the celebrations.
From all of us at Stepping Out, a huge congratulations for all you have achieved in 2014.
Ask the Expert
Rachel Law is the Chief Executive of Possabilities, a Â£6.5 million social care spin out from Rochdale Council that went live in April 2014.
We spent much of November out on the road meeting with council members to discuss the alternative delivery models that are available to them and are proud of the outcome. We would like to thank everyone who gave such amazing feedback, it is always reassuring to read that you are hitting the spot.
If you would like to review slides from the sessions, they can be found on our website here
All that remains is to wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and to see our very special message please click here
We get involved in some fascinating assignments and have associate opportunities for people with particular skills and experience that will help move our clients forward. If you have a talent that you think those setting up and developing new public service delivery models could benefit from then weâ€™d love to hear from you. Send a CV and covering note to Rob Fountain at email@example.com and letâ€™s start the conversation.