Public services are facing an unsustainable rising tide of demand. In response, politicians across the political spectrum are calling for a greater shift to prevention in public services. This is necessary: public services today are too reactive, intervening too late.
To address this we need to move from transactional public services to relational public services. However, focusing on a broken model alone will be insufficient.
In this essay, The Preventative State, we argue that we need a state which is more expansive in how it sees the challenge of reforming public services. That’s because to truly reduce demand for public services in the long run, we need to not only prevent problems from arising, but create the conditions for flourishing and resilience within communities. Achieving this means investing in those foundational goods which create the social capital that enables us to lead better lives, without state intervention.
Only then can a truly preventative state emerge