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Public Adm. 2011;89(3):933-55.

Towards developing new partnerships in public services: users as consumers, citizens and/or co-producers in health and social care in England and Sweden.

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University of Manchester.


The causes and effects of marketization of public services have been analysed extensively in the literature, but there is relatively little research on how those policies impact on the development of new forms of governance, and the role of users in these new arrangements. This study reviews examples of competition, freedom of choice and personalized care in health and social services in England and Sweden, in order to examine the type of relationships emerging between the user/consumer vis-à-vis market driven providers and various agencies of the state under the marketized welfare. The article focuses on the possible roles users might assume in new hybrid arrangements between markets, collaborations and steering. A user typology: namely, that of a consumer, citizen, co-producer and responsibilized agent in various governance arrangements, is then suggested. The article concludes by arguing that pro-market policies instead of meeting the alleged needs of post-modern users for individualized public services are likely to promote a new type of highly volatile and fragile partnerships, and create a new subordinated user who has no choice but to ‘choose’ services they have little control over.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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