Chapter 7: Methods and quality issues in analysing complex and localized services
Most public services are locally delivered, because they fundamentally require personal contact with customers or clients, or need to be provided in places that are spatially accessible by customers. Teachers normally have to be in the same room with a class of children in order to promote education. Health professionals currently cannot do much still to diagnose or treat patients in their absence. And police forces inherently have to deliver the protection of persons and property in the same spaces where people are living and working. Of course the development of second wave of ‘digital era governance’ is still extending very rapidly the boundaries of what public services are electronically (a- spatially) deliverable (Dunleavy and Margetts, 2010; Margetts and Dunleavy, 2012). Many public services that are currently locally provided may be de- spatialized in future, as has begun to happen with public libraries, given the growth of online information and e- books. But for the moment this is an exceptional case, and local provision still dominates the delivery of public services.
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