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New Labour and the Public Sector in Britain


We examine the nature of the third way as a vision of public sector reform in Britain. New Labour has a distinctive public philosophy that contains an ideal often found in the socialist tradition, that is, citizens attaining moral personhood within and through the community. Old Labour generally sought to realise such an ideal in a universal welfare state characterised by a command form of service delivery. New Labour has responded to dilemmas, akin to those highlighted by the New Right, by transforming this model of the public sector. It conceives of the state as an enabler acting in partnership with citizens and other organisations, delivering services through networks characterised by relationships of trust. We explore this distinctive public philosophy through its ethical vision and then its implications for welfare reform and the delivery of public services.

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