Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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Local public services - public or private management?

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Alejandro de Diego Gómez. Secretary for Local Administration. 

The Constitution of Cadiz said that the purpose of government is the happiness of the nation, since the aim of every political society is none other than the welfare of the individuals who comprise it. Sure enough, even though in recent times we could say that we get the impression that this is, if not anachronistic, then at least romantic phrase. But if there is a political organization that historically this maxim can be applied to without fear, it is the municipalities.

After the restoration of democracy and the first municipal elections 37 years ago, at that time the town councils did what they could, since they practically totally lacked the means to provide the most basic services, not only water supply or sewage, but asphalting of roads, rubbish collection, and even, in many places, to lighting and other basic services, that to new generations would seem unthinkable today more than ever, in the recent past simply did not exist. But with the passage of time, and great strides we have seen the authentic transformation of our local government, in spite of its nineteenth century atomization, and today we can see how in virtually all municipalities of our country provide the basic needs of its population and a huge amount is paid, and unimaginable a few decades ago, as regards public services. And this despite the government's attempt to reduce this range of provision, trying to prevent municipalities promoting all kinds of activities and provide those public services that help meet the needs and aspirations of the local community through its already battered Local Reform Act, after two judgments against the rulings by the Constitutional Court.

Following what has historically been advancing in a better provision of local public services, the choice between whether that provision was to be public or private has increased. The truth is that if today we have the level of service we have, it is through public initiative, since only the government can ensure the provision of these public services and, therefore meet the needs of their residents, as the private has always shown very little interest in those cases which have in consideration the so-called "social prices", for obvious reasons, because the private sector is characterized by, not as an NGO, but companies operating for profit, which is the basis of their existence. Also, the private sector has almost always shown very little attraction for the introduction of innovative services, which, if not by the public initiative would had not been established. However, in return, the public sector has failed, even today, get rid of the yoke of bureaucracy in management and lack of efficiency and effectiveness, in general terms, in its results.

The search for efficiency has been a subject of great interest



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