The New Public Contracting: Public Versus Private Ordering?

Peter Vincent-Jones
Professor of Law
University of Leeds

This article explores the hybrid character of contemporary public service organization with specific reference to the emergence in Britain over the last twenty-five years of a novel mode of governance, the “New Public Contracting.” The New Public Contracting governs an ever-expanding range of aspects of modern life through contracting regimes directed at the attainment of particular policy purposes. In Britain, this mode of governance has been problematic in that many contracting regimes have failed to respond adequately to public needs. While the trend toward privatization may be politically irreversible, the role of the state should be to help establish the conditions that enable all parties with stakes or interests in particular public services to participate in collective learning processes aimed at addressing deficiencies in existing provisions.

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