P21 Public value for all? Considering the parameters of public value co-creation

Panel Chairs:
Professor Zoe Radnor, Dr Victoria Cluley, Dr Steven Parker and Professor Sharon Williams

Corresponding Chair:
Victoria Cluley,  victoria.cluley@city.ac.uk

The inclusion of service user voices in the development and improvement of public services in order to facilitate public value is now a key concern and co-production and co-creation represent common management approaches. The public value emergent from the interaction between the service user and the service provider is implicitly thought of as providing a positive outcome or experience and both parties tend to be conceptualised as benefiting from the interaction.  Generally, as a process co-creation is thought to add public value by involving people in service delivery and design.  In their review of empirical studies outlining co-creation processes, Voorberg et al (2014) found that in practice co-creation and co-production are often used with the implicit understanding that they are valuable in themselves.  It is this implicit understanding and acceptance that we seek to question.

In reality, some people may be denied access to public value creation processes, whilst others may be forced and/or unwilling to take part in it.  Obvious examples include prisoners (those of whom want to avoid incarceration) and those who have been involuntarily sectioned under mental health legislation.  Less obvious examples include those who are subject to institutional biases and those who do not conform to generally accepted social norms.  In other words the ‘value’ that emerges from public service exchanges will be different for different people.  In these circumstances, and many others, public value may not be the positive experience it is implicitly considered to be.  Instead the ‘value’ that emerges could be conceptualised as co-created disvalue, defined as unwanted co-creation or even, coerced co-creation.

For these reasons we are interested in exploring the parameters of public value co-creation.  We welcome papers that apply a critical perspective to the concept of public value and its creation process.  We are interested in alternative perspectives on value, both theoretical and empirical.  We would like to hear about examples of public service experience that do not conform to typical co-creation processes and include those who could be considered to be diverse, hard to reach, and/or vulnerable service users.  We welcome abstracts of 500 words or less including references.