Social Efficiency of Public Services

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Hilary Wainwright:

"This essay is about making public services socially efficient, the emphasis on social efficiency does not mean taking public money for granted; rather it means allocating taxpayers' money with the goal of maximising public benefit, as distinct from maximising profit. The appropriate means of improving the ability of public services to meet this social goal is not the market but rather the deepening of democracy beyond the periodic election of politicians formally to 'run' the public sector. There is much to be done to strengthen the link between the citizen and the elected politician. But the specific importance of democracy-driven change as distinct from market driven change is to introduce democracy, i.e. the real-life public, at every level of public administration.

The participation of citizens in public decision making is a familiar idea, though more as a promise than a reality. What is less explored is work place democracy, genuine collaboration – co-labouring – between staff and management to turn the capacities and commitment of public servants – who are also themselves citizens and neighbours - into a force for improving the common good." (