At the doctor's surgery, the local school, the JobCentre Plus, public service users share a desire for prompt, polite and responsive treatment. They want services that meet their individual needs and allow them to feel engaged in the process. These common and seemingly non-contentious expectations are at the centre of controversy over New Labour's public service reforms in the UK. Such attitudes are linked to consumerism in public services - a force that can, according to rival interpretations, drive up service standards or corrode the collective status underlying citizenship. The book shows how New Labour has drawn on different narratives of consumerism during a decade in office. Using content analysis of government documents and interviews with policy actors and citizens, it moves beyond accounts that assume New Labour's consumerism has applied evenly to public services and over time. The book concludes with a call to transcend consumerism and encourage approaches that recognise the service user as a 'coproducer'.

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