Delivering public services: A greater role for the private sector? An exploratory study in four countries

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This report explores the growing role of the private sector in the provision of public services in the EU. The research is based on sector-specific case studies carried out in Lithuania, Spain, Sweden and the UK. It focuses specifically on social services of general interest (SSGIs) in the areas of healthcare, early childhood education and care (ECEC), employment services and long-term care. The findings show that in the two countries with long-established welfare systems (Sweden and the UK), the key factor driving governments to expand the role of the private sector has been the expectation of gains in quality and efficiency. In the countries with less-extensive welfare services (Lithuania and Spain), budgetary constraints have been the key driver. The report finds that greater private sector involvement in the provision of public services often leads to less equitable access and that quality-related outcomes can be mixed. An executive summary is available - see Related content.

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17 September 2015
Social care
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