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Going Privately: Partnership and Outsourcing in UK Public Services

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve VincentORCiD


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Public private partnerships provide an important illustration of the way the traditional role of government as employer and service provider is being transformed. While policy-makers argue that the growing role of the private sector is not driven by ideological thinking - that, in fact, both public and private sector organizations can benefit from working together in partnership relations - in practice it is the norms and rules of private sector management that underpin reforms. This paper assesses evidence from two detailed case studies of partnerships and demonstrates, first, that there is little evidence of mutual gains from partnership arrangements and, second, that because of an imbalance of power between public and private sector partners, any gains achieved are not distributed equitably. These results suggest that current reforms need to be refocused around building on the distinctive qualities of services provision in the public sector, rather than expanding the private sector world of markets and contracts.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Grimshaw D, Vincent S, Willmott H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Public Administration

Year: 2002

Volume: 80

Issue: 3

Pages: 475-502

ISSN (print): 0033-3298

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9299

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/1467-9299.00314


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