A Public Values Perspective
Edited by Peter Leisink, Paul Boselie, Maarten van Bottenburg and Dian Marie Hosking
In this chapter we are interested in the rise of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s public services initiative: ‘Big Society’, and one of its antecedents, ‘Total Place’. We suggest that while these remain sites of political contest, they provide an opportunity for rethinking the nature of public value, why the leadership of change might be linked to a change of leadership, and which actors take and avoid responsibility. In effect, if these approaches are the answer to the problem of providing public services in an age of austerity, we need to start the analysis by asking what the questions are to which these are the answers. It would seem at face value that these developments are embodiments of different approaches to the nature of public value which reflect both different political agendas, assumptions about the nature of politics and bureaucracy, and disputes over and between the sources of political authority – central or local.
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