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  • Author or Editor: Elizabeth Cookingham Bailey x
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The last decades have seen growing privatisation and contracting out of public services, which are increasingly delivered by private and third sector organisations. Providing a long-term historical view of the delivery of public services, this chapter examines this mixed economy of public services and showcases that the involvement of private and third sector organisations in the delivery of public services is, in fact, not a new development. It examines different actors involved in the delivery of services and explores the increasing need for innovation and partnerships. The growing importance of partnerships and collaboration leads to a need to understand the different sectors involved in the delivery of public services, their interactions as well as an understanding of challenges and opportunities.

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Public services are delivered by a range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations, which are embedded in an ever-changing context. Drawing on ideas behind the creation of public service organisations and their history, this chapter examines continuity and change in and of public service organisations. It explores organisational structures, organisational culture and organisational dynamics and their impact and outlines key concepts and theories of organisational change. Based on an outline of organisational change, this chapter further outlines key developments impacting public services, such as e-government and co-production of public services which are essential parts of the public services in the COVID-19 era.

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A Contemporary Introduction

Dive inside this textbook for an accessible guide to the discipline of public services.

Perfect for students, it offers a comprehensive account of core public service topics and explains the fundamental elements of working in the public services. Outlining their role in the welfare state, it explores the policies, providers and legalities shaping the context in which public services operate.

Students will study concepts of organisational change, strategy, management, leadership and funding, and engage with timely discussions around contemporary public issues such as equality, sustainability and climate change. Key features to support student learning include:

  • objectives at the beginning of each chapter;

  • case studies and examples;

  • end of chapter summaries;

  • reflective questions;

  • further reading recommendations and resources.

Bringing together authors with expertise in politics and public policy, social policy and law, this book is essential reading for everybody studying public services.

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Addressing needs and safeguard rights, public services are a crucial part of modern states and everyday lives. This book presents an in-depth introduction to public services as a field of study and provides a holistic guide to both the discipline of public services and core elements of working in public services. Aiming to provide a comprehensive account of core public service topics, this book explores the context in which public services operate, the delivery of public services between the state, the market and civil society as well as strategy, leadership and management of public services and emerging key themes of public service delivery. The introduction provides an outline of the aims and nature of public services. The first part of this book introduces the reader to the relationship between public services and public policies, explores organisations and the mixed economy of public service provision, and outlines the legal framework that shapes public services. Focusing on the internal dimension of public services, the second part then explores strategy, management and leadership of and in public services. Contributions on current and emerging issues and themes, from sustainability and the environment to equality, and their relationship to public services form the third part of the book.

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Addressing needs and safeguard rights, public services are a crucial part of modern states and everyday lives. This book presents an in-depth introduction to public services as a field of study and provides a holistic guide to both the discipline of public services and core elements of working in public services. Aiming to provide a comprehensive account of core public service topics, this book explores the context in which public services operate, the delivery of public services between the state, the market and civil society as well as strategy, leadership and management of public services and emerging key themes of public service delivery. The introduction provides an outline of the aims and nature of public services. The first part of this book introduces the reader to the relationship between public services and public policies, explores organisations and the mixed economy of public service provision, and outlines the legal framework that shapes public services. Focusing on the internal dimension of public services, the second part then explores strategy, management and leadership of and in public services. Contributions on current and emerging issues and themes, from sustainability and the environment to equality, and their relationship to public services form the third part of the book.

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Addressing needs and safeguard rights, public services are a crucial part of modern states and everyday lives. This book presents an in-depth introduction to public services as a field of study and provides a holistic guide to both the discipline of public services and core elements of working in public services. Aiming to provide a comprehensive account of core public service topics, this book explores the context in which public services operate, the delivery of public services between the state, the market and civil society as well as strategy, leadership and management of public services and emerging key themes of public service delivery. The introduction provides an outline of the aims and nature of public services. The first part of this book introduces the reader to the relationship between public services and public policies, explores organisations and the mixed economy of public service provision, and outlines the legal framework that shapes public services. Focusing on the internal dimension of public services, the second part then explores strategy, management and leadership of and in public services. Contributions on current and emerging issues and themes, from sustainability and the environment to equality, and their relationship to public services form the third part of the book.

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Public services comprise a wide range of organisations carrying out an array of activities. Starting with an exploration of the broad variance of services and the different ways in which they are organised and delivered, this chapter examines the nature and goals of ‘public services’. This chapter outlines the complexity involved in defining the term ‘public services’, particularly in cross-cultural and cross-national perspective. It argues that public services can be defined as services provided by or on behalf of the state based on political decisions. This chapter then proceeds to place public services in the context of social policy and public administration.

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Since the founding of the welfare state, there has been considerable debate concerning the balance between advocacy and service delivery functions of voluntary sector organisations (VSOs). The COVID-19 pandemic, once again, raises the question of the relationship between the advocacy and service delivery function of VSOs and the argument that advocacy is being crowded out by service delivery. This is particularly important in small VSOs and community-based organisations reliant on funding from service delivery. This chapter explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the advocacy functions of voluntary sector organisations across England, Scotland and Wales. It draws on two projects: the Institute for Voluntary Action Research on the advocacy work of small charities in England, and the University of South Wales research comparing Scottish and Welsh VSOs’ advocacy work during the pandemic. This chapter will consider how advocacy activities have been defined by the voluntary sector as well as the importance of these activities to marginalised groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Drawing on the previous chapters, the conclusion brings together main insights developed throughout the book. It highlights that, like many welfare state institutions, public services are exposed and adapting to a changing social, economic and political environment. This chapter outlines the challenges of ever more complex issues reshaping the way public service organisations interact with the state and the other sectors and the influences these developments have on the internal operations of public services. Many of the attempts to adapt to broader changes draw on best practice from a range of industries but they also show the barriers to applying management concepts in different settings. As a result, public services have to find new techniques to meet the challenges of shifting demographics, financial restrictions and ecological change in a sustainable way.

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