Long-Term Sustainability of Co-creation and Co-production of Public Services

A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2023) | Viewed by 17456

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
KU Leuven Public Governance Institute, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Interests: professionalism; public service motivation; professional-citizen co-production of public services; central-local government relations; public sector innovation

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Guest Editor
Institute for Management Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Interests: public services

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Guest Editor
Department of E-Governance and Administration, Donau-Universitat Krems, Krems, Austria
Interests: online communciation; online participation; online lurking; public participation; e-participation cyberpsychology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Public Governance and Management, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Interests: general management; strategic management; organization theory; corporate governance; public management; not for profit management; public administration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The involvement of citizens in the creation and production of public services is a major topic in current Public Administration research. Co-creation and co-production refer to citizens being involved as co-designers and co-implementers of public services, alongside ‘regular’ service providers (i.e., government professionals). In this Special Issue, we address the questions of whether and how co-creation and co-production initiatives can be scaled up and sustained over time as to create long term collaboration between professionalized service providers in public agencies and citizens.

As research by Brudney and England (1983), amongst others, demonstrates, active and voluntary involvement of citizens in the delivery of public services has been a practice for many years.  However, the challenge of sustainability of co-creation and co-production (Jaspers and Steen, 2020) seems all the more pertinent in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. During the COVID-19 crisis, new co-creation and co-production practices have emerged worldwide. The crisis provided opportunity to break through procedural restrictions, leaving room for both government and citizen-initiated co-production projects to materialize. Moreover, COVID-19 displays the dependence of government on citizens not only in complying with new directives that penetrate their social and economic life, but also in co-creating and co-producing social and health care. The question arises, however, what will be necessary to support the continuation of these co-creation and co-production initiatives beyond the immediate crisis, once the sense of urgency disappears (Steen and Bransen 2020).

Literature reviews of co-creation and co-production research (Voorberg et al. 2015; Sicilia et al. 2019; Rodriguez Müller et al, 2021) identify very few studies that examine co-production from a long-term perspective. Learning more about conditions for sustainability of co-creation and co-production not only addresses a gap in our theoretical and empirical knowledge, but may also provide insights for governments on how to support the continuation of co-creation and co-production initiatives. In a next step this knowledge can contribute to co-creation and co-production initiatives having a stronger impact and a multiplier effect.

Contributions for this Special Issue should address issues of sustainability of co-creation and co-production, including, but not limited to:

Organisational and procedural conditions for sustaining and scaling up co-creation and co-production initiatives: What impact does sustainability has on the design of public services?  Is sustainability an issue of organisational design to be addressed already at the onset of a collaboration between professionalized public service providers and citizens? Are supportive legislative frameworks and structural allocation of resources necessary to support the continuation of co-production initiatives? What are thresholds for sustaining co-creation and co-production over time?

Engagement of professionals and citizen co-producers: In how far does sustaining co-creation and co-production over time depend on mutual commitment by and empowerment of professionals and citizen co-producers? What incentives are needed to induce long-term engagement and motivation of both professionals and citizen co-producers?

Digital enabled co-creation and co-production. Can new technologies help sustain and scale up co-creation and co-production initiatives? How does the combination of digital tools with face-to-face communication work in setting up long-term participation? What challenges arise from the use of digital tools in co-creation and co-production initiatives? What factors contribute to sustainable digital co-creation?

What is the legitimacy of co-creation and co-production practices as an integral and continuous part of the functioning of (local) democracy in the perspective of different actors, including political actors, public service professionals, and engaged citizens, as well as the wider public? What promises do co-creation and co-production hold for the future, including narrowing the gap between government and citizens? How sustainable are co-creation and co-production in different policy fields?

We look forward to working with you to form a Special Issue to address these topics and more.

Prof. Dr. Trui Steen
Prof. Dr. Taco Brandsen
Dr. Noella Edelmann
Prof. Dr. Bram Verschuere
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • public services
  • co-creation
  • co-production
  • involvement of citizens
  • sustainability over time

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 2100 KiB  
Article
The Police and Citizens as Co-Producers of Crime Prevention in Johannesburg
by Mary S. Mangai, Anjewayne Clive Pillay, Tyanai Masiya and Stellah Lubinga
Adm. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci13060138 - 25 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2532
Abstract
The city of Johannesburg is the largest metropolitan municipality out of eight in South Africa. It is notorious for its high levels of crime, with a crime index of 80.72 and a safety index of 19.28. This article examines crime prevention co-production in [...] Read more.
The city of Johannesburg is the largest metropolitan municipality out of eight in South Africa. It is notorious for its high levels of crime, with a crime index of 80.72 and a safety index of 19.28. This article examines crime prevention co-production in the Johannesburg metropolitan area. The purpose of the study was to analyse how co-production of crime prevention is organised in Johannesburg and to understand the effectiveness of the practice there. Collaborations between the regular producers (police) and citizens were assessed to fully determine the potential of crime prevention co-production. This led to qualitative interviews with 20 police officers from 10 police stations in the Johannesburg metropolitan area. A citizen survey was conducted with a selected sample from the population (n = 400) residing in the neighbourhoods covered by the police stations investigated. The findings indicate that police officers have devised practices and programmes to co-produce crime prevention. These include the sharing of pamphlets and crime prevention education and awareness during school visitations, the use of Zello technology, community police forums, and information sharing at the youth desk and in WhatsApp groups. Nevertheless, these practices do not seem to be popular among the citizens. There is a contradiction in the perception of successful crime prevention co-production between citizens and the police. This is mainly due to citizens’ lack of trust in the police. The study acknowledged the importance of the work carried out by the police in crime prevention co-production but also observed the citizens’ lack of trust in the police as a potential threat to crime prevention co-production. Trust is crucial in managing information sharing on crime prevention. Front line professionals, such as the police, will not be able to meet future crime challenges if there is a trust deficit. Hence, it is important to restore trust in the work carried out by the police. Professionals in public administration could learn about the importance of trust in their crucial role of implementing policies, government programmes, and service delivery. Full article
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9 pages, 363 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Quality of Digital Coproduction: An Interdisciplinary Model
by Ina Radtke, Noortje Hoevens, Taco Brandsen and Marlies Honingh
Adm. Sci. 2023, 13(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci13030069 - 27 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1658
Abstract
The digital transformation of society raises high hopes for the improvement of the design and implementation of coproduction processes, which may lead to higher levels of acceptance, satisfaction, and trust with respect to public services. Yet and despite a growing number of studies [...] Read more.
The digital transformation of society raises high hopes for the improvement of the design and implementation of coproduction processes, which may lead to higher levels of acceptance, satisfaction, and trust with respect to public services. Yet and despite a growing number of studies on the role of digital technology on coproduction, our knowledge on how to assess the quality of digital coproduction is still very limited. The difficulty of defining quality indicators relates to three issues: the complexity of defining quality in public services, the lack of a clear understanding of quality in a coproduction process and the tendency to evaluate coproduction using the same approach as with other digitalised services. In this article, we adopt an interdisciplinary perspective to develop a conceptual model that builds on and bridges theoretical approaches commonly used to assess the quality of digital services, while adding elements that are specific to coproduction. Full article
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19 pages, 805 KiB  
Article
Healthy and Happy Citizens: The Opportunities and Challenges of Co-Producing Citizens’ Health and Well-Being in Vulnerable Neighborhoods
by Carola Van Eijk, Wilma Van der Vlegel-Brouwer and Jet Bussemaker
Adm. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci13020046 - 07 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2579
Abstract
This explorative study aims to contribute to the debate about citizen involvement in (complex) medical and social issues. Our research goals are: (1) to explore the main opportunities, threats and challenges to co-producing healthcare in vulnerable communities from the perspective of professionals, co-producers [...] Read more.
This explorative study aims to contribute to the debate about citizen involvement in (complex) medical and social issues. Our research goals are: (1) to explore the main opportunities, threats and challenges to co-producing healthcare in vulnerable communities from the perspective of professionals, co-producers (i.e., citizens with a volunteering role) and service users (i.e., patients); (2) to distil lessons for public managers concerning the main issues involved in designing co-production initiatives. We studied co-production initiatives in the Dutch city, The Hague. These initiatives were part of a broader, unique movement named ‘Healthy and Happy The Hague’, which aims to change the way healthcare/social services are provided. Two intertwined research projects combine insights from interviews, focus group meetings and observations. The first project analyzed a variety of existing co-production initiatives in several neighborhoods; the second project involved longitudinal participatory action research on what stakeholders require to engage in co-production. The two research projects showed similarities and differences in the observed opportunities/treats/challenges. The study found that empowering citizens in their role as co-producers requires major changes in the professionals’ outlook and supporting role in the communities. It illustrates the potential of synergizing insights from healthcare governance and public administration co-production literature to benefit co-production practice. Full article
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21 pages, 329 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Sustainability on Co-Creation of Digital Public Services
by Noella Edelmann and Shefali Virkar
Adm. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci13020043 - 05 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2630
Abstract
Co-creation focuses on engagement with citizens and other stakeholders with public administrations to develop innovative processes or public services. The integration of resources and knowledge mediated by technology can lead to the emergence of novel outcomes (such as products, services, processes, and social [...] Read more.
Co-creation focuses on engagement with citizens and other stakeholders with public administrations to develop innovative processes or public services. The integration of resources and knowledge mediated by technology can lead to the emergence of novel outcomes (such as products, services, processes, and social practices), but it is necessary to understand the mechanisms that lead to sustainable co-created innovation and outcomes. The aim of this research article is to contribute a more nuanced understanding of the impact of sustainability on co-creation of digital public services. To study co-creation and sustainability in the context of the public administrations in depth, a qualitative research approach was used. The data were collected through moderated discussions conducted during a workshop held with 20 experts and practitioners in the field of public sector digital transformation, during which participants shared their views and experiences in a free-flowing conversation. A systematic two-cycle analysis approach based on Grounded Theory was used to code and analyse the data collected. Results from this study focus on developing a common understanding of sustainability within the context of co-created digital public services, an exploration of how sustainability in public administrations may be supported by co-creation and a critical examination of the elements that contribute to the sustainability of digital public services—all drawing on existing examples of co-creation initiatives from within the public sector. Full article
15 pages, 277 KiB  
Article
The Persistent Constraints of New Public Management on Sustainable Co-Production between Non-Profit Professionals and Service Users
by Caitlin McMullin
Adm. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci13020037 - 29 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2113
Abstract
In this paper, I explore whether and how New Public Management (NPM) inhibits the long-term sustainability of co-production between non-profit practitioners and service users in the United Kingdom. I show how the key elements of NPM (contracts and competitive tendering, performance measurement, a [...] Read more.
In this paper, I explore whether and how New Public Management (NPM) inhibits the long-term sustainability of co-production between non-profit practitioners and service users in the United Kingdom. I show how the key elements of NPM (contracts and competitive tendering, performance measurement, a pressure for non-profits to become more ‘business-like’, and the framing of citizens as ‘customers’) provide distinct barriers for non-profits to engage in co-production over the longer term, inhibiting the long-term creation of value for citizens. Through an analysis of seven case study organisations, this paper contributes to building theory about the sustainability of co-production, the factors that shape enduring co-production, and the compatibility/incompatibility of NPM tools with co-production. Full article
21 pages, 448 KiB  
Article
A Study on the Enablers and Challenges of Co-Creation for the Digital Common Household Unit Integrated Public Service in Malta
by Judie Attard and Keith Cortis
Adm. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci13020029 - 18 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2037
Abstract
Several public services in Malta operate under the stewardship of different governmental bodies, ministries, or departments. This results in considerable effort in the delivery of public services, especially ones that require the use of multiple registries, such as integrated public services (IPSs). Co-creation [...] Read more.
Several public services in Malta operate under the stewardship of different governmental bodies, ministries, or departments. This results in considerable effort in the delivery of public services, especially ones that require the use of multiple registries, such as integrated public services (IPSs). Co-creation and co-production are increasingly being seen by public administrations as an approach toward mitigating issues stemming from such a siloed environment. Indeed, they are seen as a means to improve service provision through the delivery of citizen-centric public services that are more efficient and effective. This paper presents the Malta pilot as part of the inGOV project. The latter aims to develop and deploy a comprehensive IPS holistic framework and ICT mobile tools that will support IPS co-creation and governance. The Malta pilot focuses on modernising the Digital Common Household Unit public service. Improving considerably upon the previous ad hoc solution, the Digital Common Household Unit public service implements an iterative co-creation and co-production approach with the various stakeholders. This paper therefore presents the applied methodology in researching current challenges and enablers to the co-creation and co-production of a digital common household unit public service, with a specific focus on sustainability. Full article
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19 pages, 841 KiB  
Article
Invigorating Care Farm Ecosystem Based on Public Service Innovation: Case of South Korea
by Hodong Lee and Boyoung Kim
Adm. Sci. 2022, 12(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci12020058 - 09 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2508
Abstract
Recently, the importance of care farming has been emphasized worldwide for the purpose of public health and healing, and, in particular, discussions on innovative transformation and expansion of the care farm ecosystem have continued in terms of convergence of agriculture and welfare. This [...] Read more.
Recently, the importance of care farming has been emphasized worldwide for the purpose of public health and healing, and, in particular, discussions on innovative transformation and expansion of the care farm ecosystem have continued in terms of convergence of agriculture and welfare. This study aims to present influencing factors based on a hierarchical concept framework for revitalizing care farm ecosystem based on public service innovation. To this end, the AHP methodology was used. Through previous studies, 16 variables were derived within four categories: recognition, structure, leadership, process, and recognition of variables that affect the activation of the care farm ecosystem and conceptualized them through Delphi techniques. In addition, a survey was conducted on 28 stakeholders in care farming to derive the importance of each variable. As a result of the analysis, ‘reliability’ was derived as the most important factor, followed by factors such as human competence, vision, civic participation, and innovation awareness. Hence, it was confirmed that trust and communication between stakeholders are important to lead the innovative public service ecosystem of care farm, and above all, human competence is an important influencing factor. Full article
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