Public service reform is top of the political agenda. Without fresh ideas, the obituary for the welfare state will read, “Fondly remembered – Failed to deliver”. There will be nowhere for the public sector to go except the corrosive route of break-up, privatisation, confusion and citizens’ distrust.
There is, however, a new vision for government, based not on serving citizens but on co-operating with them. The idea is simple. Citizens, on their own or coming together at a neighbourhood or some other level, play a key role in the design and delivery of public services.
We call this the Mutual State. It draws on a long history of mutual approaches that enlist people as partners rather than users. But it recreates a new form of mutuality focused on participation and social entrepreneurship rather than conventional ownership.
This pocketbook describes the new mutuality and sets out the vision of government it embodies.