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The third sector, user involvement and public service reform: A case study in the co-governance of health service provision

By Graham P. Martin


The full-text of this article is not available from the Leicester Research Archive owing to publisher copyright restrictions.The ‘modernization’ of British public services seeks to broaden public sector governance networks, bringing the views of third sector organizations, the public and service users (among others) to the design, management and delivery of welfare. Building on previous analyses of the contradictions generated by these roles, this paper draws on longitudinal qualitative research to enunciate the challenges faced by one third-sector organization in facilitating service user influence in a UK National Health Service (NHS) pilot programme, alongside other roles in tension with this advocacy function. The analysis highlights limits in the extent to which lateral governance networks pluralize stakeholder involvement. The ‘framing’ of governance may mean that traditional concerns outweigh the views of new stakeholders such as the third sector and service users. Rather than prioritizing wider stakeholders' views in the design and delivery of public services, placing third sector organizations at the centre of governance networks may do more to co-opt these organizations in reproducing predominant priorities

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1467-9299.2011.01910.x
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