Replacing the State: The case for third sector public service delivery

This was a major policy publication by ACEVO, which set out the case for the third sector providing public services. This drew together contributions from many different authors including journalist Will Hutton, economist Paul Ormerod and former CEO of the National Consumer Council Ed Mayo.

Central to the argument of the report is that the most important aspect of public service delivery was its effectiveness. Rather than obsessing on precisely who delivered services, we should instead be looking for whichever provider would create the most beneficial outcomes. Indeed, a diversity of providers was held to be desirable, as this should lead to innovation within service delivery.

At the same time, the report emphasised the importance of an independent charity sector. Providing services for the government should not lead to charities becoming subsumed by the state apparatus. Instead, they must retain their independence and ability to campaign. Up until this point, charities had largely been held as marginal to such concerns. This report helped to put charities at the centre of the debate on our public services.

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