PUBLIC GOVERNANCE AND THE THIRD SECTOR: OPPORTUNITIES FOR CO-PRODUCTION AND INNOVATION?
The issue is especially relevant at a time when many countries in Europe have been searching for new ways in which to include the third sector in the provision and governance of social services. Of course, state-third-sector collaboration is not a new phenomenon and goes back a long way. What we now call the “third sector” provided public services before the state ever did, and in many countries its involvement in the welfare state dates back as far as the nineteenth century. Public governance implies that multiple parties are involved in the delivery of healthcare, care of the elderly, education, housing, welfare, safety and other public goods. Recent decades have been marked by a rearrangement of the relationships between the state and thirdsector organizations that supply public goods and services like education, housing, healthcare and community services. New third-sector organizations have been drawn into public service provision; in other words, there has been
an increase in co-management between third sector and state. In addition, those third-sector organizations already in the public services have faced the challenges of quasi-marketization and/or performance measurement. Long-term relationships based on trust have been replaced by short-term, contract-based relationships, changing the nature of the government-thirdsector partnership.