With an election campaign underway in Australia there has been a lot of talk that seeks to distinguish between the private and public sector.
On one hand, the incumbent Government has started a public dialogue about the delivery of Government services by the private sector; the other side of politics is focused on highlighting the outsourcing of key Government services to the private sector as a risk – even making part of its platform a focus on looking closely at “consultant and contractor fees” paid by the private sector.
Without taking sides in this political debate (we’ll leave politicians to the argy bargy and focus instead on how to design services better for users of government services), we have been reflecting on just what the ‘private sector’ means to some people. Because it isn’t one single, definable, generic thing.
When it comes to the intersection between government services and private service deliverers, there are many active groups:
- The large commodity providers.
- The small and medium commodity providers.
- Generic business consultancies.
- Specialist service agencies.
- Outsourced service providers.
All quite different, each with a role, each offering something and at the same time requiring strong public sector management to deliver quality outcomes. But none especially ‘evil’, or ‘untrustworthy’ just because they are private.
As private practitioners ourselves, we’re always looking for inspiration and sources – be it public sector design, industrial design, graphic design. From our perspective, if you wanted your government services designed and built, why shouldn’t you expect they be as beautiful and useful no matter where they came from. For example, imagine the outcome if one of our favourite sports designers, POC designs approached a complex public program with us and a Government collaborator.
Surely the best of both sectors should deliver for people – it’s what we do every day.