Sector 'O'

Public admin, defence and compulsory social security


This article is one of a series that considers the employment and economic value of various sectors of the Lancashire economy. Please see the sector profiles introduction page for details of where we derive the employment and gross value added results, plus how we identify various organisations in Lancashire as belonging to particular sectors. 

The sector includes general public administration activities, defence, judicial, fire service and public order and safety activities, along with compulsory social security, and covers the standard industrial classifications 84.11 to 84.30.

The economic value of public administration and defence

Gross Value Added (GVA) is generally regarded as the best measure of the sum of economic activity within an area. Local estimates of gross value added (GVA) are published by the Office for National Statistics that are split by various industrial sectors. The estimates of GVA for 2014 reveal that public administration and defence accounted for £1,286 million which represented 4.6% of the total GVA figure for the Lancashire 14-authority area.  


In the Lancashire-14 area, public administration, defence and compulsory social security in 2014 provided jobs for some 32,700 employees (there are no working owners allocated to this sector) which equates to 5.2% of the employee workforce (4.4% at the GB level).  In the Lancashire-14 area, part-time employment accounted for just over 32.3% of jobs in 2014.

Table 1 Public administration and defence, compulsory social security employees, Lancashire-14 area, 2014 

Employee status 2014
No %
Full-time employees 22,100  67.7% 
Part-time employees  10,600 32.3% 
Total employees 32,700   100%

Source ONS – Business Register Employment Survey. Note: There are no working owners allocated to this sector.

Jobs in this particular sector in Lancashire are highly concentrated in Preston and Blackpool, and together, these two areas account for 51.1% of all the jobs. Preston is the location for a significant number of Lancashire County Council employees, and the authority, along with Blackpool, is home to a large number of civil servants.

Figure 1 Public administration and defence employment by district, 2014


Source ONS – Business Register Employment Survey

In contrast, West Lancashire and four East Lancashire authorities each have less than 1,000 employees in this sector.

Major employers

Even after taking in to account the loss of employees in the compulsory social service activity sub-sector, Lancashire, and particularly the Fylde Coast area, continues to benefit from the presence of civil service jobs which introduced a large number of fairly secure new white-collar occupations into the area, complementing the more traditional local authority town hall jobs. Examples along the Fylde Coast include the Land Registry in Lytham, the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency at Norcross, and the NHS Pensions Agency in Fleetwood.  

The Local Government Association publishes quarterly results for the number of local government employees in authorities across the country. The figures are available for all employees, full-time equivalents, gender, full and part-time, temporary and permanent employees. We have downloaded the recent results for Lancashire that reveal, amongst other things, the sharp drop in Lancashire County Council full-time-equivalent job numbers that took place in 2011. The table also has the results for the 14 other local authorities in Lancashire.

Examples include Lancashire Constabulary has its HQ in South Ribble., whilst prison employees are classified within this sector, and the five sites in Lancashire are in the districts of Preston, Lancaster, Fylde and Chorley. Please see the national offender management service workforce statistics (table 10) for details of prison staff numbers.

Lancashire has a modest number of armed forces and ministry of defence civilian personnel stationed in Lancashire. Fylde district has a number of armed forces personnel stationed at Weeton Barracks, whilst Wyre has by far the largest number ministry of defence civilian personnel in the county. 

The number of civil servants in Lancashire has been on the decline over the past few years, and this will feed through into the total employment results in the next update of this article. 

Page updated October 2015