Ownership influence on the participation of recreationally disadvantaged citizens

2018-02-01T10:41:57Z (GMT) by Ian Hodgkinson Russell J. Glennon
Traditionally, some public services have been provided at a reduced cost for greater access opportunities among disadvantaged citizens, but is this the case under service externalisation? And if price of entry is no longer prioritised by different ownership types, does this impact the participation of disadvantaged citizens? These are the research questions addressed by this exploratory study in the context of a public sector sport and leisure service. Secondary objective data is used to capture different ownership types that coexist in service delivery as a consequence of service outsourcing (i.e., public, non-profit, private), the cost of access (£) to sport and leisure opportunities provided by these different ownership types, and the level of inclusion of specific market segments at the facility level for each ownership types. Multivariate analysis of variance with a post hoc test is used to examine if differences exist between the three ownership types in levels of pricing and inclusion across all market segments. The findings demonstrate that policy-makers should not attach normative values based on ownership type in the delivery of sport and leisure opportunities as contrary to common assumption private ownership is not damaging to the inclusion of specific recreationally disadvantaged citizens. Rather, private ownership reports the highest levels of inclusion across most market segments, including the recreationally disadvantaged, despite their pricing being significantly higher than public ownership. Implications for public management theory are presented and discussed.