COGOV – Co Production and Co Governance: Strategic Management, Public Value and Co Creation in the Renewal of Public Agencies across Europe



The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 770591

European societies are facing a large number of ‘wicked’ and unruly problems and the public sector is caught in a cross-pressure between growing expectations from citizens and scarce public resources.

In response to these twin challenges, this project aims to explore and assess the strategic leadership efforts of local governments and other public agencies to transform themselves from ‘bureaucratic authorities’ – treating citizens as legal subjects – and ‘service providers’ – treating citizens as customers – into ‘arenas for co-creation’, in which citizens are recognised as experts in their own life and capable of providing useful inputs (in terms of resources, ideas and energy) into the process of public governance.  It will highlight co-created public innovation that not only provides more effective services, solutions and policies, but which also enhances the responsiveness of the public sector.

The projects core idea is to suggest that the desired wholescale renewal and redesign of public agencies can most usefully be seen through a post New Public Management strategic management prism.  That is, one which goes beyond standard Weberian/bureaucratic and New Public Management (NPM) paradigms to display a greater concern for core and bottom up themes of public value, co creation and democratic participation as complementary values to those of due process (Weber) or efficient and cost effective service production (NPM).

The project explores these themes in three contrasting public services settings across Europe. The settings are:

  1. Local Government (which might be seen as more downwards facing in its accountability mode and therefore likely to be attracted to public value and co governance ideas);
  2. National ministries of public administration (to capture a higher level and national picture of approaches to public management reform) and, finally
  3. Publicly funded agencies, particularly in the cultural sector. This sector has been selected because Europe is characterized by a humanistic attachment to culture as a good in itself and because of the growing importance of cultural industries and associated public funded agencies (e.g. museums; galleries; theatres) in a knowledge based economy.

Based on these settings, the project will:

  • Undertake a large scale survey across the 6 national contexts delivered to ‘strategists’ in a large sample of local governments, cultural policy agencies and public agencies at the national level.
  • Target up to 15 case studies across the partner countries of ambitious interventions aiming to transform service delivery and draw upon detailed interviews with key staff, including professionals and external stakeholders.

This project started in May 18 and will operate until October 2021.

The project relies on a strong pan-European collaboration of academic and policy partners and is strongly connected to, and informed by, practice. The partner organisations are: