Together for Better Public Services: Partnering with Citizens and Civil Society

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This report analyses the partnerships that governments form with citizens, users and CSOs in order to innovate and deliver improved public service outcomes. These approaches can offer creative policy responses that enable governments to provide better public services in times of fiscal constraints.  Although co production and citizens’ involvement are still in the developmental stage in many countries, early efforts appear to lead to cost reductions, better service quality and improved user satisfaction. This report identifies the risks of citizen and user involvement in service delivery, and the barriers that must be overcome to make these models work. Top-level political commitment, adequate public sector capacity, and aligned financial incentives are the key factors for success. 

“Co-production is attracting increasing interest among scholars and practitioners alike. This report, which offers a comprehensive survey of existing practice across OECD countries, is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the state of play internationally.”

-Professor John Alford, Australia and New Zealand School of Government, (author, Engaging Public Sector Clients: From Service-Delivery to Co-Production, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

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Success factors and challenges in partnering with citizens for public service delivery

This chapter analyses the organisational issues related to implementing partnerships with citizens and civil society organisations (CSOs) in service delivery – which have been identified by the literature review and research – and how these have been or are being addressed in practice. Building on the evidence and analysis in the previous chapters, this chapter describes the factors leading to effective co-production of public services, and identifies the risks and barriers which need to be overcome. This chapter also addresses assessing the costs and benefits associated with coproduction practices, and provides initial evidence of impact in terms of involvement, cost reduction, user satisfaction, service quality and value for money.

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