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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Hearing Voices: User Involvement in Public Services
Author(s): Simmons, Richard
Birchall, Johnston
Prout, Alan
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Keywords: public services
Public administration Case studies
Local government Great Britain
Issue Date: Sep-2007
Date Deposited: 17-Sep-2009
Citation: Simmons R, Birchall J & Prout A (2007) Hearing Voices: User Involvement in Public Services. Consumer Policy Review, 17 (5), pp. 234-240.
Abstract: Modern public services demand greater awareness of who they are trying to serve. Managing relationships in the service of the public therefore requires the ability to ‘tune in’ to who public service users are, and what they are trying to say. This article examines the nature of the relationships between service users and providers through various mechanisms of voice. It suggests that if the user voice is to be recognised and acknowledged, a range of channels should be provided that cater for the values, norms and attitudes of a differentiated user constituency. Beyond this, however, it suggests that the simple provision of a range of channels is insufficient. Resistance to hearing the user voice through one or other of these channels can result in counterproductive ‘culture clashes’ and/or withdrawal. The article argues that this should be avoided through a combination of appropriate institutional design and the commitment of institutional effort to ensure that service cultures fit better with users’ expectations.
Rights: The publisher has granted permission for use of this article in this Repository. The article was first published in Consumer Policy Review by the Consumers' Association (Which?).

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