The purchaser - provider split: theory and UK evidence
In this paper the authors focus on the purchaser - provider split within UK local government. They assess whether that split has had the effects predicted by the theory, especially in terms of diverting the purchaser's attention away from service production per se and more towards assessing and meeting the needs of service users. This implies a shift of attention from inputs and processes to outputs and outcomes. In making that assessment, the authors review other research and present the results of their own survey of all British local governments. They conclude that, if anything, the purchaser - provider split has increased the amount of attention paid to inputs and processes and has done little to focus attention on outputs and even less in respect of outcomes. Although this evidence is by no means conclusive, it does serve to qualify earlier research results that found improvements in outcomes for some services as a result of contracting.
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