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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 State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

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 service A public service is a service Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administ ...
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 In microeconomics Microeconomics is a branch of mainstream economics Mainstream economics is the body of knowledge, theories, and models of economics, as taught by universities worldwide, that are generally accepted by economists as a bas ...
,
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 Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citize ...

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 A complex system is a system composed of many components which may interaction, interact with each other. Examples of complex systems are Earth's global climate, organisms, the human brain, infras ...

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 A government is th ...
, 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 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, govern ...

Courts
*
Electricity Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

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 ...

Education
*
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 The natural environment or natural world encompasses all and non-living things occurring , meaning in this case not . The term is most often applied to the or s ...
*
Healthcare Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the , is "a state of complete physical, and social and not merely the absence of and ".. (2006)''Constitution of the World Health Organization''– ''Basic Docume ...

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 pa ...

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 hum ...

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 ov ...
*
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 A design is a plan or specification for the construction o ...
*
Transportation infrastructure Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and ...
*
Waste management Waste management (or waste disposal) includes the processes and actions required to manage from its inception to its final disposal. This includes the , transport, treatment and disposal of waste, together with monitoring and regulati ...

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 A need is something that is necessary Necessary or necessity may refer to: * Need ** An action somebody may feel they must do ** An important task or essential thing to do at a particular time or by a particular moment * Necessary and sufficient ...

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 of the goods and services produced by an economics, economy over time. Statisticians conventionally measure such growth as the percent rate of i ...

economic growth
are linked with the opposite. Authors find that the contemporary
economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the co ...
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 acceptance, acceptable behavior by groups. Social norms can both be informal understandings that govern the behavior of members of a society, as well as be codified into wikt:rule, rules and laws. Social norm ...
) 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 a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant ...
. 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 The private sector is the part of the economy An economy (; ) is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consumption of Goods (economics), goods an ...
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 The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
(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 The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by suc ...

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 In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space ...

gas
and
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known li ...

water
services. Later, governments began to provide other services such as
electricity Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

electricity
and
healthcare Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the , is "a state of complete physical, and social and not merely the absence of and ".. (2006)''Constitution of the World Health Organization''– ''Basic Docume ...

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 A developing country is a sovereign state with a less developed Industrial sector, industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no ...

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 class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an an ...
. 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 res ...

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 State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newsp ...
s of the first half of the twentieth century. In parts of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
,
central planning A planned economy is a type of economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. T ...
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 ...

education
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, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impac ...

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 aro ...

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 A monopoly (from Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none) is as described by Irving Fisher, a market with the "absence of competition", cre ...

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) ...

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 common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosoph ...

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 understanding Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical thing, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to use concepts to model that thing ...

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 something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
. 3. Personalization is tailored to everyone, not just those who need
social care Social work is an academic discipline and that concerns itself with individuals, , s, , and society as a whole in an effort to meet basic needs and enhance social functioning, self-determination, collective responsibility, optimal health, and ...
. 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

*
CEEP SGI Europe (known as CEEP - European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services and Services of General Interest until December 2020 Press release"A New Start for Services of General Interest in Europe: CEEP becomes SGI Europe"/re ...

CEEP
, the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest * Certificate of public convenience and necessity *
Good governance Good governance is the process of measuring how public institution conduct public affairs and manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption and with due regard for the ...
*
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 ec ...

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 ...