Public services feel the persistent and conflicting pressure of customer demands and budget limitations. They risk seeing service users as a burden rather than their purpose and partners. Most public service users are personally invested in the service’s success. This investment means that service users are more engaged and willing to contribute – both to outcomes and to reducing costs.

Although public services can learn from the commercial sector, it is a mistake to treat them exactly the same. Public service users; residents, citizens, students and patients – feel much more involvement with a service than the usual customer/company relationship. Attitudes commercial companies would die for.

The willingness of public service users to collaborate is the public sector’s great-untapped resource. When users are included in the design and delivery of services, it uncovers huge potential for improved service provision and collective sense of purpose. If this is not apparent something is missing.

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