Newcastle University Business School

Event Item

Public Services are Dead. Long Live Public Services.

Join Henry Kippin, CEO, Collaborate, in the latest of our Little Heresies series.

Date/Time: Thursday 6 July, 18.00-19.30

Venue: Partners' Room 8.10, Newcastle University Business School

Public services are dying a slow death, but what comes next? Henry Kippin, CEO of Collaborate sets out a vision for a move towards “services to the public” – a vision that requires us to re-think the needs of citizens, the reality of a mixed economy, as well as the relationship between citizens and the state.

Public services as we know it are dying. Squeezed by austerity, overwhelmed by demand and subsumed by Brexit, there is little-to-no chance that we will reach 2030 with a set of services that are analogous with those we experience today.

We are entering the slow death throes of William Beveridge’s vision of public services as things to invest in and celebrate. We should be angry about this. But then we need get on with defining and building what happens next.

We need to start doing the work now to define what tomorrow’s services to the public will look like. The mix of specialist, personalised, clinical and social will need to look different: quite possibly costing the exchequer less; very definitely blurring the artificial lines between economic growth, public service reform and community development.  What links rich, poor, young and old is the need for bespoke services that are enabling and valuable – yet Collaborate and Ipsos MORI research from 2014/5 suggested that only around 15% of people say they consistently feel they have influence on the services that are provided on their behalf. This is the reality of taking back control.

Woody Allen said that “I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens”. Well, where public services are concerned, it’s happening already. Let’s make sure that we are here for the rebirth too.

About the Speaker

Henry is chief executive of Collaborate, a social consultancy leading innovative thinking and practice around place-based models of public service change in the UK.  He is a visiting fellow at the United Nations Development Programme's Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, and a visiting fellow at Newcastle University Business School.  He is co-editor of 'Public Services: a new reform agenda', published in 2013 by Bloomsbury, and his most recent article is 'Public Services: Zombies, Suez or Collaboration?' published in the latest edition of Political Quarterly.  More at, and on twitter @h_kippin

Henry Kippin, Chief Executive, Collaborate