Improving service quality in the new public sector

Authored by: Christine S. Williams , Mark N. K. Saunders

The Routledge Companion to Nonprofit Marketing

Print publication date:  November  2007
Online publication date:  November  2007

Print ISBN: 9780415417273
eBook ISBN: 9780203936023
Adobe ISBN: 9781134114917


 Download Chapter



Public sector reform movements around the world in the 1990s, codified as new public management (NPM) have been aimed at ‘fostering a performance-oriented culture in a less centralised public sector’ (OECD 1995). Such reforms are characterized by key elements including increasing use of markets and competition in the provision of public services (e.g. contracting out and other market-type mechanisms) and increasing emphasis on performance, outputs and customer orientation. One consequence of these reforms has been the reorientation of public services towards their consumers. This has brought with it pressure for betterquality public services, from service users as their needs change and their expectations rise in respect of how well services can be performed (Flynn 1995). Furthermore, increased service user choice, such as that occurring in the UK National Health Service (Vidler and Clarke 2005) forces public service providers to consider how to deliver high-quality public services both efficiently and effectively, generating best value (Martin 2002). In some instances this requirement is underpinned by statutory guidance. For example, the UK government’s ‘Best Value’ policy was designed to ‘secure improvements in quality as well as in cost’ (Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions 1998:57). As a result, high-quality service is a priority for public service providers worldwide (Borins 2000) and service quality improvement has become a very real issue for new public management (Edvardsson and Enquist 2006).

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.