Public Service Day 2020: 95% rise in Brighton’s appreciation for public sector workers

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A survey conducted by Brighton-based public sector membership club, Boundless, shows that Brighton & Hove’s appreciation for public sector workers has increased by a whopping 95% in just 12 months. 

Only a year ago, the same survey, which was commissioned in the build-up to UN Public Service Day (23rd of June), asked public sector workers in the area how long they had gone without hearing “thank you”. It revealed that the average key worker had gone 77 days without being thanked for their work.

The survey has been repeated ahead of this year’s Public Service Day, and the results show that the average number of days a key worker has gone without being thanked has now dropped dramatically to just 3.5.

This massive increase in gratitude has left Brighton in second place in the UK, falling just short of Edinburgh with 2.5 days.

The same survey also revealed:

  • 44% of all public sector workers in Brighton feel that they are appreciated by the public – last year the number was 36%.
  • Nurses are no longer seen as the most under-appreciated profession by Brighton people, as they were last year – they have been overtaken by care workers.
  • Refuse collectors and bus drivers were named third and fourth on the list. This is a big leap for bus drivers as they were only in 12th last year.
  • 77% of NHS workers across the country now say that they feel they are appreciated by the public – it was only 48% in 2019.

Everyone in Sussex is now being encouraged to continue this growing appreciation for local key workers by showing support for Public Service Day.

This day was officially launched by the United Nations back in 2003, however it has barely been recognised by the UK. Boundless, which was founded in 1923, is trying to find ways to change this.

Public Service Day aims to bring the UK together on the 23rd of June to acknowledge and celebrate the societal contributions made by millions of public service workers. This includes anyone from nurses to teachers, firefighters to administrators and police officers to care workers.


Darren Milton at Boundless, which is based in Station Road, Brighton, said:

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“This year Public Service Day falls on Tuesday 23 June and it’s a wonderful opportunity for people in Brighton & Hove to remind their public service workers that we won’t forget what they have done for us. Not least during the last few months.

“The figures coming back from our survey are hugely encouraging because they show that millions of people have been saying ‘thank you,’ and doing so far more often than a year ago. 

“The response in Brighton has been particularly special because nowhere in England has thanked public sector workers more often than here.

“But we don’t want that to stop when pandemic is over. The next step is to back Public Service Day and to think about ways that we can value our public sector workers long into the future.”


Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, stated:

“On this year’s Public Service day it feels more important than ever to recognise the work of the millions of dedicated people who work in our health and care sectors, as well as teachers and other public sector workers right across the UK.

 “Over the last 12 weeks we have all seen key workers putting duty and compassion above their own safety and making tremendous sacrifices to protect each other and particularly our most vulnerable citizens. While ‘thank you’ will never be enough, we should continue to celebrate them as often as possible – as well as ensuring their pay and conditions reflect the enormous contribution they make.”


Lloyd Russell Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown, added:

“Covid has revealed to us all how much we rely on Public Sector workers and we should all show them the appreciation they deserve. On the 23rd of June please thank your public sector workers.

“If you are a public sector worker, I want to say a huge thank you to you, but you deserve more than a thank you, you deserve a pay rise. So, join your trade union and fight with your colleagues for what you rightly deserve.”


The 10 most under-appreciated professions, according to public sector workers in Brighton this year, are:

1 Care workers: 36% (last year: 2nd)

2 Nurses: 34% (last year: 1st)

3 Refuse collectors: 30% (last year: 3rd)

4 Bus drivers: 26% (last year: 12th)

5 Teachers: 24% (last year: 4th)

6 Police: 16% (last year: 6th)

7 Lollipop crossing guards: 16% (last year: 9th)

8 Probation service worker: 14% (last year: 7th)

9 Doctor: 10% (last year: 8th)

10 Civil service: 10% (last year: 10th)


The top 10 cities where public sector workers are thanked most often are:

1 Edinburgh: 2.5 (average amount of days since workers were last thanked)

2 Brighton: 3.5

3 Cardiff: 4

4 Nottingham: 4

5 Belfast: 5

5 Manchester: 5

7 Southampton: 5.5

8 Liverpool: 6

8 London: 6

8 Newcastle: 6

For more information, head to


Featured Image: © Étienne Godiard

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