Don't call me a customer: public service markets and the citizen

G03 Alan Walters Building
Thursday 22 March 2018 (18:00-19:00)

For more information, please contact Ceara Wason by email or by phone on +44 (0)121 415 1050.

Needham, Promotional image

As part of the College of Social Sciences Inaugural lecture series, Professor Catherine Needham looks at public service markets and the citizen.

For the last thirty years, public services have been reoriented to make them more responsive to the people that use them. Explicitly people who use health, care, education and housing services have been called customers. Implicitly it has been assumed that through mechanisms such as choice and complaint, frontline services will have an incentive to improve to keep customers and the money that they bring. 

Building on 20 years of research in this field, the lecture looks at key issues in the public services that we use every day such as hospitals, schools, care homes and universities.  It will look at how we are treated as users, how we interact with the people delivering them and how services could improve. It will discuss whether we can and should be smart customers of public services- switching our provider when we don’t get what we want. Or does the current customer model misrepresent the relational nature of these services and close down other routes to service excellence?

Catherine NeedhamAbout Professor Catherine Needham

Catherine Needham graduated from the University of Leeds in 1996, and worked for political strategist Philip Gould prior to undertaking an MSc (1999) and DPhil (2004) at Nuffield College, Oxford. She worked in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London from 2003 to 2012. She joined the University of Birmingham in 2012 as a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Public Management.

Open to all University staff, HSMC students and alumni, Inlogov students and alumni (drinks and canapés from 19.00 onwards)

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