What is a public service?

What Does Public service Mean

We explain what a public service is and the types that exist. Also, examples of these services and their importance to society.

Public services are provided by the State.

What is a public service?

The utilities are a set of assets and activities, usually essential or basic type, through direct administration, subsidies or other regulatory mechanisms, a State guarantee your population , in order to provide better standard of living and protect equal opportunities among its citizens .

Public services are usually paid for with taxpayers' money , that is, with public funds (public spending), which is why they are usually limited to those essential for contemporary life. Such services, then, are usually protected by the state and are considered a good of national interest , even when concessions are granted to the company private to administer the service. In some constitutions, they are even declared the inalienable property of the State. These types of services play an important role in mixed economy models , that is, they control the free market through rules of the game that tend to protect the most disadvantaged, as occurs in social economies or in welfare states. In fact, access to public services is one of the many factors taken into account when measuring human development indices (HDI).

Sometimes we can speak of semi-public services when it comes to privatized services but that have a certain margin of subsidy or protection from the State. The criterion for the differentiation between the services that must be public and those that must be private often constitutes the debate between the liberal (or neoliberal) positions and the protectionist or developmentalist positions. See also: Private law

Types of public services

Public transport is a basic service.

In general, public services can be classified into:

  • Emergency services. Those who attend to irregular situations in which the life and / or material properties of citizens are in danger.
  • Bureaucratic services. Those that have to do with the administration of the State and with the steps that citizens can or should do before it.
  • Basic services. Those essential for life in an organized society , and that are often brought directly home.

Examples of public services

The administration of justice is a bureaucratic service.

Some examples of public services are:

  • Emergency services. Citizen security (police), firefighters, military bodies, medical emergencies, rescuers, civil protection, etc.
  • Bureaucratic services. Identification and immigration service, administration of justice , registration of university degrees, civil registry, notaries, tourist services, commercial registry, historical archives, public cultural management, etc.
  • Basic services. Electricity, gas service, drinking water , Internet access , public transport, postal service, public education, public health or sanitation service , solid waste collection, etc.
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