Hobson's choice? Meaning, manner and merits of choice in public services

Michael Macaulay, John Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to show that since its election in 1997, the Labour Government in the United Kingdom has pursued a policy agenda which in some senses represents a continuation of the New Right agenda it inherited. Central to this agenda has been the emphasis placed on choice in public services. Design/methodology/approach: Within the context of the New Right agenda this paper explores the concept and suggested merits of choice in public service provision. It does so by focusing on the experiences in England, particularly in relation to health and education. Findings: By reference to the empirical evidence, the paper evaluates the conceptual arguments in favour of choice and finds that the current emphasis is consistent with the news of the New Right. Originality/value: The paper questions the merits of choice in public service provision and, in doing so, suggests that the apparent political consensus in favour of choice can not be justified.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Public Sector Management
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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