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  • Geoff Mulgan

The relational state - governing with as well as for citizens

In the late 2000s I started a programme at the Young Foundation on the idea of a 'relational state' - how government could act with people as well as for them, and how to take relationships seriously. We published a paper which prompted engagement with several governments - in particular Singapore, Denmark and Australia. A version was published a few years later by IPPR in a collection of essays.

Conditions in the UK then weren't propitious for taking the ideas forward - with austerity and retrenchment. But interest is reviving and this week an international conference is happening on relational state ideas which are now a lot more mainstream.

Mulgan relational state paper
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So here is the paper from a dozen years ago - which I don't think has dated too much. It argues that governments increasingly need to act with their citizens, and not just for them. The second diagram set out a way of thinking about which services would most benefit from a relational approach which is explained in more detail in the paper.


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