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A public service is a
service Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of university faculty * Civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of gove ...
intended to serve all members of a community. Public services include services provided by a
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...

government
to people living within its jurisdiction, either directly through
public sector The public sector (also called the state sector) is the part of the economy composed of both public services and public enterprises. Public sectors include public goods and governmental services such as the military, law enforcement, infrastructu ...
agencies or by financing provision of services by private businesses or voluntary organizations (or even by family households, though terminology may differ depending on context). Other public services are undertaken on behalf of a government's residents or in the interest of its citizens. The term is associated with a social consensus (usually expressed through democratic elections) that certain services should be available to all, regardless of
income Income is the consumption and saving opportunity gained by an entity within a specified timeframe, which is generally expressed in monetary terms.Smith's financial dictionary. Smith, Howard Irving. 1908. Income is defined as, "Revenue; the amount o ...
,
physical ability Mixed ability is a proposed new term to be used in place of the terms Disability, disabled, handicapped, abnormal, and crippled. Mixed ability refers to any person who has a different or ''mixed'' physical ''ability''. It can also refer to anyone w ...
or mental acuity. Examples of such services include the
fire brigade A fire department (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American E ...
,
police The police are a constituted body of persons A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing con ...

police
, air force, and
paramedics A paramedic is a health care professional whose primary role is to provide advanced emergency medical care for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system. Not all ambulance personnel are paramedics. In English-speak ...
(see also
public service broadcasting Public broadcasting involves radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. In many countries of the world, government funding, funding comes from governments, especially via annual Broadcasting licens ...
). Even where public services are neither publicly provided nor publicly financed, they are usually subject to
regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory, these types of rules exist in various fields of biology and society, but the term has slightly different meanings according to context. Fo ...

regulation
going beyond that applying to most
economic sectors Image:Economic sectors and income.JPG, 250px, Percentages of a country's economy made up by different sectors. Countries with higher levels of socio-economic development tend to have proportionally less of their economies operating in the primary a ...
for social and political reasons.
Public policy Public policy is an institutionalized proposal to solve relevant and real-world problems, guided by a conception and implemented by programs as a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government, in response to social issues. Be ...
, when made in the public's interest and with its motivations, is a type of public service.


Sectors

In modern
developed countries A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized governmen ...
, the term "public services" (or "services of general interest") often includes: *
Courts A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, Cr ...
*
Electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its positio ...

Electricity
*
Education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion a ...
*
Emergency services Emergency services and rescue services are organizations which ensure public safety and health by addressing different emergency, emergencies. Some of these agencies exist solely for addressing certain types of emergencies whilst others deal with ...
*
Environmental protection Environmental protection is the practice of protecting the natural environment by individuals, organizations and governments. Its objectives are to conserve natural resources and the existing natural environment and, where possible, to repair damag ...
*
Healthcare Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in people. Health care ...

Healthcare
*
Military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or para ...

Military
*
Public transportation Public transport (also known as public transportation, public transit, mass transit, or simply transit) is a system of transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, movement of huma ...

Public transportation
*
Public buildings A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a w ...
*
Social servicesSocial services are a range of public services provided by the government, private, profit and non-profit organizations. These public services aim to create more effective organizations, build stronger communities, and promote equality and opportunit ...
*
Telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, Optical system, optical, or other Electromagnetism, electromagnetic systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication ove ...
*
Urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, a ...
*
Transportation infrastructure Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the movement of humans, animals and goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, t ...
*
Waste management upContainers for consumer waste collection at the Gdańsk University of Technology Waste management (or waste disposal) includes the processes and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes ...

Waste management
*
Water supply network A water supply network or water supply system is a system of engineered hydrologic and hydraulic components that provide water supply. A water supply system typically includes the following: # A drainage basin (see water purification - sources ...


Implications

Public services can be constructed, coordinated and operated in many ways or forms. They include government agencies, independent
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
-funded institutes, government-coordinated organizations, civil society, militaries and volunteers. ;Government employees Government agencies are not profit-oriented and their employees are often motivated differently. Studies of their work have found contrasting results including both higher levels of effort and fewer hours of work. A survey in the UK found that private sector hiring managers do not credit government experience as much as private sector experience. Public workers tend to make less in wages when adjusting for education, although that difference is reduced when benefits and hours are included. Public servants have other intangible benefits such as increased job security and high wages. ;Need satisfaction and sustainability A study concluded that public services are associated with higher human
need Animal, A need is something that is wikt:necessary, necessary for an organism to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants. In the case of a need, a deficiency causes a clear adverse outcome: a dysfunction or death. In other words, a ...

need
satisfaction and lower energy requirements while contemporary forms of
economic growth Economic growth can be defined as the increase or improvement in the inflation-adjusted market value Market may refer to: *Market (economics) A market is a composition of system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrela ...
are linked with the opposite. Authors find that the contemporary
economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and services within a society or a given geographic area. I ...
is structurally misaligned with goals of
sustainable development Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services Social forestry in India, Social ...

sustainable development
and that to date no nation can provide decent
living standard Standard of living is the level of income, comforts and services available, generally applied to a society or location, rather than to an individual. Standard of living is relevant because it is considered to contribute to an individual's quality ...
s at sustainable levels of energy and resource use. They provide analysis about factors in social provisioning and assess that improving beneficial provisioning-factors and infrastructure would allow for sustainable forms of sufficient need satisfaction.


Characteristics

A public service may sometimes have the characteristics of a public good (being non-rivalrous and non-excludable), but most are services which may (according to prevailing
social norms Social norms are shared standards of acceptable Acceptability is the characteristic of a thing being subject to acceptance for some purpose. A thing is acceptable if it is sufficient to serve the purpose for which it is provided, even if it is fa ...
) be under-provided by the
market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *Market (1965 film), ''Market'' (1965 ...
. In most cases public services are
services Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of Faculty (academic staff), university faculty * Civil service, the body of employees of a governm ...
, i.e. they do not involve manufacturing of
goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods ...
. They may be provided by local or national monopolies, especially in sectors that are
natural monopolies A natural monopoly is a monopoly A monopoly (from Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none) exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular c ...

natural monopolies
. They may involve outputs that are hard to attribute to specific individual effort or hard to measure in terms of key characteristics such as quality. They often require high levels of training and education. They may attract people with a public service ethos who wish to give something to the wider public or community through their work. The process of assessing the needs of the people of an area, and then designing and securing an appropriate public service to meet those needs, is often referred to in the UK as ''commissioning''.Cabinet Office, Office of the Third Sector (2006)
Partnership in Public Services: An action plan for third sector involvement
published December 2006, accessed 17 February 2021
The commissioned services may be delivered by organisations in the public sector, private sector or third sector: when the private or third sector is involved the process of commissioning will usually be linked with a process of
procurement Procurement is the process of finding and agreeing to terms, and acquiring goods, Service (economics), services, or works from an external source, often via a tendering or competitive bidding process. Procurement generally involves making buying ...
, to determine who will provide the services, at what cost and on what terms. Commissioning is often seen as a cyclical process.


History

Governing bodies have long provided core public services. The tradition of keeping citizens secure through organized military defence dates to at least four thousand years ago. Maintaining order through local delegated authority originated at least as early as the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest ...
(5th to 3rd centuries BCE) in ancient China with the institution of (prefectures) under the control of a centrally appointed prefect. Historical evidence of state provision of
dispute resolution Dispute resolution or dispute settlement is the process of resolving disputes between parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview; cropped away black borde ...
through a legal/justice system goes back at least as far as ancient Egypt. A primary public service in ancient history involved ensuring the general favor of the
gods A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a polytheistic religion)", or anything revered as divine. C. Scott Littlet ...

gods
through a theologically and ceremonially correct
state religion A state religion (also called an established religion or official religion) is a religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether ...
. The widespread provision of
public utilities A public utility company (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a ...
as public services in developed countries usually began in the late nineteenth century, often with the
municipal A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...

municipal
development of
gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid, liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an appl ...
and
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts ...

water
services. Later, governments began to provide other services such as
electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its positio ...

electricity
and
healthcare Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in people. Health care ...

healthcare
. In most developed countries, local or national governments continue to provide such services, the biggest exceptions being the
U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all ...

U.S.
and the , where private provision is arguably proportionally more significant. Nonetheless, such privately provided public services are often strongly regulated, for example (in the US) by Public Utility Commissions. In
developing countries 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A developing country is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, ...

developing countries
, public services tend to be much less well developed. For example, water services might only be available to the
wealthy Wealth is the abundance of valuable financial asset A financial asset is a non-physical asset In financial accountancy, financial accounting, an asset is any resource owned or controlled by a business or an economic entity. It is anything ( ...

wealthy
middle class The middle class is a Social class, class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy. Its usage has often been vague whether defined in terms of job, occupation, income, education or social status. The definition by any author is often chosen f ...
. For
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of reso ...

political
reasons, the service is often
subsidized A subsidy or government incentive is a form of financial aid or support extended to an economic sector (business, or individual) generally with the aim of promoting economic and social policy. Although commonly extended from the government, the term ...
, which reduces the finance potentially available for expansion to communities. The United Nations
Sustainable Development Goal 5 Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5 or Global Goal 5) concerns gender equality Gender equality, also known as sexual equality or equality of the sexes, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gende ...

Sustainable Development Goal 5
is however, a global initiative which aims to influence the provision of public services and infrastructure to marginalized demographics.


Nationalization, privatization and personalization


Nationalization

Nationalization took off following the
World War A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad ...
s of the first half of the twentieth century. In parts of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest ...

Europe
,
central planning A planned economy is a type of economic system where investment To invest is to allocate money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with th ...
was implemented in the belief that it would make production more efficient. Many public services, especially electricity, fossil fuels and public transport are products of this era. Following the Second World War, many countries also began to implement
universal health care Universal healthcare (also called universal health coverage, universal coverage, or universal care) is a health care system in which all residents of a particular country or region are assured access to health care. It is generally organized aroun ...

universal health care
and expanded
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion a ...
under the funding and guidance of the state.


Privatization

There are several ways to privatize public services. A free-market corporation may be established and sold to private investors, relinquishing government control altogether. Thus it becomes a private (not public) service. Another option, used in the
Nordic countries The Nordic countries (also known as the Nordics or ''Norden''; lit. 'the North') are a geographical and cultural region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science de ...

Nordic countries
, is to establish a corporation, but keep ownership or voting power essentially in the hands of the government. For example, the owned 49% of
Kemira Kemira Oyj () is a global chemicals company serving customers in water intensive industries. Kemira has two main segments, Pulp & Paper and Industry & Water. Kemira is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. In 2019, Kemira had annual revenue of arou ...

Kemira
until 2007, the rest being owned by private investors. A 49% share did not make it a "government enterprise", but it meant that all other investors together would have to oppose the state's opinion in order to overturn the state's decisions in the shareholder's meeting. A regulated corporation can also acquire permits on the agreement that they fulfill certain public service duties. When a private corporation runs a
natural monopoly A natural monopoly is a monopoly in an industry in which high infrastructural costs and other barriers to entry relative to the size of the market give the largest supplier in an industry, often the first supplier in a market, an overwhelming adva ...

natural monopoly
, then the corporation is typically heavily regulated, to prevent abuse of monopoly power. Lastly, the government can buy the service on the free market. In many countries,
medication A medication (also called medicament, medicine, pharmaceutical drug, medicinal drug or simply drug) is a drug used to medical diagnosis, diagnose, cure, therapy, treat, or preventive medicine, prevent disease. Drug therapy (pharmacotherapy) i ...

medication
is provided in this manner: the government reimburses part of the price of the medication. Also, bus traffic, electricity, healthcare and waste management are privatized in this way. One recent innovation, used in the UK increasingly as well as Australia and Canada is public-private partnerships. This involves giving a long lease to private consortia in return for partly funding infrastructure.


Personalization

Personalization is an all-encompassing theme and a dominant
idea In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, lan ...

idea
in the public service environment. It is a story made up of five narratives: 1. People are their own life
experts An expert is somebody who has a broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (procedural knowledge), or obj ...

experts
2. Human-centred methods reveal her
lifestyle Lifestyle often refers to: * Lifestyle (sociology), the way a person lives * ''Otium'', ancient Roman concept of a lifestyle * Style of life (german: Lebensstil), dealing with the dynamics of personality Lifestyle may also refer to: Business and ...
more than limited departments
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to exp ...
. 3. Personalization is tailored to everyone, not just those who need
social care Social work is an academic discipline and practice-based profession A profession is an occupation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested objective counsel and service to others, for ...
. 4. The essence of personalization is to improve a person's life. 5. Personalization reduces costs.Dvorak, J. (2013). Exploring the Personalization of Public Services. Public Administration Review, Vol. 73, p. 378–380.


See also

* , the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest * Certificate of public convenience and necessity * Good governance *
Infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy An eco ...

Infrastructure
* Labour Relations (Public Service) Convention, 1978 * Right to Public Services legislation ** The Odisha Right to Public Services Act, 2012 *
New Public Management New Public Management (NPM) is an approach to running public service organizations that is used in government and public service institutions and agencies, at both sub-national and national levels. The term was first introduced by academics in the ...
*
United Nations Public Service Awards The United Nations (UN) Public Service Award is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public services, public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a mor ...
* UN Public Service Day * Universal basic services


References


External links


Municipal Services Project

Public Services International

Public Services International Research Unit
* Daniel Chavez (ed)
Beyond the Market: The Future of Public Services
TNI Public Services Yearbook 2005/6,
Transnational Institute The Transnational Institute (TNI), is an international non-profit research and advocacy think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establishment founded ...
/ Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), February 2006
European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest



Government Jobs Alert
{{DEFAULTSORT:Public Service Political economy
Service Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of university faculty * Civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of gove ...