Room W142, Williams building, Hendon
A lecture by Richard Simmons, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of the Mutuality Research Programme at the University of Stirling.
Concepts of mutuality have a long association with public policy in the UK. However, until recently this association has been relatively neglected in policy narratives. As the public policy context is reconfigured to reflect the changing demands of the late-modern environment and public service systems become more flexibilised, ideas of mutuality are resurfacing. Attempts to institutionalise these ideas are evident in a number of developments that suggest a new momentum for mutuality in public policy. In this way, mutuality provides both a conceptual category or tool of analysis and an object of analysis in the form of an actual mode of co-ordination and governance.
In this paper I examine the implications of ‘thinking mutually’ in today’s public services. I seek to demonstrate that mutuality is based on a set of ideas and principles that is at least as clear and coherent as those of state-led hierarchies and market-led provision. However, using examples from a range of public services, I also engage critically with these ideas and principles, delimiting some of the conditions under which mutuality works best and building a better understanding of some of the success factors for a new mutualism in public policy.
Richard Simmons is Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of the Mutuality Research Programme at the University of Stirling. Over the last decade he has led an extensive programme of research, including studies funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, World Bank, Scottish Government, NHS, Care Inspectorate, Single Regeneration Budget, NESTA, National Consumer Council, Co-operatives UK, and the Carnegie Trust. He also writes widely on these issues for academic, policy and practitioner audiences. Richard has written for a number of high-quality international journals such as Social Policy and Administration, Policy and Politics, Annals of Public and Co-operative Economics, and Public Policy and Administration, as well as policy-oriented publications and professional journal articles for a practitioner audience. His research interests are broadly in the field of user voice, the governance and delivery of public services and the role of mutuality and co-operation in public policy. The Mutuality Research Programme has acquired an international reputation as a centre of excellence for research, knowledge exchange and consultancy on these issues.