Citizen Contracting: What Went Wrong with the UK's Green Deal and Verify?
20 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020
Date Written: April 2020
Citizen contracting describes public service provision models in which decisions traditionally taken by the State are instead taken by citizens as the recipients of that service. These decisions may relate to the choice of service provider, or to the nature of the service itself. While approaches such as voucher schemes for schools, healthcare, or childcare have been widely debated, this paper focuses on two novel approaches adopted in the UK between 2010 and 2015: the Green Deal for energy-saving home renovations and the Verify system for online identity assurance. These schemes targeted environmental and innovation objectives respectively – and both failed to achieve the intended results. The paper asks how such schemes fit within the broader taxonomy of public service delivery models which involve an element of citizen choice, and how they affect policy objectives currently embedded in public procurement rules, such as transparency and accountability. Drawing lessons from the Green Deal and Verify, it proposes criteria for evaluating citizen contracting models which take account of the full range of desiderata attached to public procurement.
Keywords: public procurement, public service provision, citizen choice, quasi-markets, vouchers, environmental sustainability, innovation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation