Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance
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Critical Reflections on Interactive Governance

Self-organization and Participation in Public Governance

Edited by Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

In many countries, government and society have undergone a major shift in recent years, now tending toward ‘smaller government’ and ‘bigger society’. This development has lent increased meaning to the notion of interactive governance, a concept that this book takes not as a normative ideal but as an empirical phenomenon that needs constant critical scrutiny, reflection and embedding in modern societies.
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Chapter 12: What has co-production ever done for interactive governance?

Tony Bovaird and Elke Loeffler


In Chapter 12 Bovaird and Loeffler argue that promotion of more intensive user and community co-production not only opens up new potential for a transformation of public services, but can also support the wider principles of public governance. The chapter explores the characteristics of co-production, its theoretical underpinnings and its different forms: co-commissioning, co-design, co-delivery and co-assessment (the four co’s). Bovaird and Loeffler then analyse how the four co’s might contribute to the ‘principles of good governance’. They suggest that the concern of many authors may be overdone about whether the governance of co-production can meet such high standards as the governance of professionally-provided services. The authors state that co-production may actually play a counterbalancing role to the over-dominance of politicians or state bureaucrats in interactive governance. Finally, Bovaird and Loeffler look at the empirical evidence and suggest some conclusions and implications arising from this analysis.

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