Co-production has become a dominant term to address how contemporary policy should be orchestrated. Therefore, wide ranges of collaboration structures are examined under the guise of co-production. As a consequence, what co-production entails in comparison to other concepts (e.g. collaborative governance, interactive governance, co-creation and community self-organization) is often blurred. In this chapter our goal is to demarcate the lines of the co-production concept, by comparing this body of literature to overlapping concepts. We conclude that co-production is best be considered as a ‘mode’ of collaboration between citizens and government. Furthermore, given the empirical focus of co-production it is recommended to preserve the term to address collaboration structures for public service delivery (rather than policy design or agenda setting). Last, in search of the collaborative nature of co-production, forms of interactive and collaborative governance can be studied within the concept of co-production, due to their focus on, for example, relational structures and dynamics.
William Voorberg and Ingmar van Meerkerk
William Voorberg and Victor Bekkers
Voorberg and Bekkers argue in Chapter 13 that Western governments are retreating from the public domain and are actively seeking alternative forms of public service delivery. These forms are increasingly interactive and reliant on the competences and expertise of citizens. Citizens are no longer considered as (just) end-users of public services, but are expected to be co-creators. Using the conceptual framework of Schneider and Ingram, Voorberg and Bekkers explore what such a social construction of citizens implies for citizens who can be considered as co-creators, but also for citizens who initially do not belong to the group of co-creators. They argue that mainstreaming citizens as such might strengthen certain democratic values such as responsiveness and equal consideration, but at the same time, endangers others such as equal access to public service delivery and service diversity.