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date: 21 July 2018

public sector

A Dictionary of Social Work and Social Care

John Harris,

Vicky White

public sector 

The totality of services provided by the state. Traditionally, the mainstay of social services provision but increasingly services have been provided by the voluntary and private sectors in a mixed economy, with the state in the roles of funder and commissioner. This transition is sometimes masked by referring to the provision of public services, as opposed to previous provision of services by the public sector, because this term enables the use of ‘public’ to refer to private sector provision. See also commissioning; privatization.