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

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - COGOV (Co Production and Co Governance: Strategic Management, Public Value and Co Creation in the Renewal of Public Agencies across Europe)

Reporting period: 2020-11-01 to 2022-04-30

COGOV responds to the challenge that European societies are facing a large number of complex problems which increasingly require collaborative and innovative solutions in the context of austerity and scarce public resources. COGOV also responds to the call in EU Horizon 2020' ‘Understanding the Transformation of European Public Administration’ by exploring participatory practices that are able to generate high levels of civic participation, public engagement and the legitimacy of the decision making and service delivery processes.

The key question for COGOV is, how can strategic management enable local governments and public agencies to exploit the drivers - and overcome the barriers - to the co-production or co-creation of innovative public value outcomes at both organizational and project levels, and which lessons can be shared on undertaking strategically managed co-creation?

Organisationally, COGOV will examine the efforts of local governments (and other regional and national public agencies) to transform themselves from ‘bureaucratic authorities’ - treating citizens as legal subjects - and ‘service providers’ - treating citizens as customers - into ‘arenas for co-co-production and co-creation’ in which the citizen emerges as ‘partner’.

The project’s conceptual contribution is to suggest that such wholesale renewal and redesign of public agencies can be best understood through a post-New Public Management strategic management approach. Such an approach will draw upon ‘downwards-facing models of public management including, public value, network governance, digital governance, collaborative leadership and co-governance, co-production and co-creation.

COGOV's key findings are strongly linked to practice and practitioners. At the core of our ambitions are plans to develop an evidence based tool kit for use by practitioners to adapt and improve their day-to-day co-creation practices across Europe.

The recent COVID-19 virus has impacted upon the project during 2020 - it is planned to refine aspects of data-collection to enable an early assessment of COVID's impact on the strategic management of co-production and co-creation.
1. Designing, collecting and analysing original data - both quantitative and qualitative- via surveys, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. This includes administering a large pan-European Survey across 6 national sites.

2. Established an archive of innovative practices, based on 205 interviews in 15 case studies

3. Creating a comparative analytical framework to examine co-production and co-creation of territorial cultural strategies in the UK and France

4. Organising and implementing a highly innovative design-experimental approach to examining co-creation in the Slovenian Ministry of Public Administration; Newcastle City Council (UK); Vitrolles Council (France); Rijeka Local Partnership (Croatia); and Gentofte Municipality Council (Denmark).

5. Developing the parameters of the CO-CREATOR board game

6. Identifying relevant skills for managers and professionals engaged in co-production and co-creation

7. Developing the functional specifications (i.e. user requirements) of the COGOV toolkit based on four tools providing holistic support for public service renewal through co-creation. (Co-Ready) supporting the assessment of organizational readiness for co-creation. (Co-Serve) supporting the selection of public services most suitable for the renewal based on co-creation principles. (Co-Renew) supporting the co-creation process for a selected public service (once it has been selected with Co-Serve tool). (Co-Master) supporting the assessment of the quality of the co-creation process that took place during the service renewal in order to identify room for improvements of future co-creation processes.

8. Further reflecting on conceptual/theoretical contributions of COGOV - such as the contribution of the project to understanding the challenge of co-production and co-creation for strategic managers

9. Deepening and widening dissemination: The COGOV team organised 4 conferences, 8 workshops, delivered 37 conference contributions, published 37 outputs and had a strong social media presence

10. Ensuring that COGOV delivery and progress processed as effectively as possible in the context of COVID restrictions
The project report highlights emerging results from COGOV including: how best to apply strategic management to co-creation; a range of best practices for organisations; how to apply a co-creation 'ladder'; the tools professionals need to implement such an approach; the cultural shift needed; the importance of effective evaluation of collaboration; and, the need to capture potential impacts of COVID on public sector operations. Dissemination and impact has been enhanced since Period 1 by:

• Improvements in web content on www.cogov.eu including all deliverables available, working papers, blogs, newsletters, and networking information (http://www.cogov.eu)

• Additional data collection in year 2 generating new qualitative and quantitative results to inform scholarly outputs in the realm of Public Administration in terms of articles, special editions of journals, conference papers, and keynote addresses. The COGOV project has established itself as a major source of research and scholarship within academic circles across Europe. This includes COGOV-led special editions of prestigious journals

• The development of practitioner-focussed findings aimed at those involved in the strategic management of co-production and co-creation in national, regional and local governance agencies through the use of the Archives of good practice (WP2), The Co-Creator Game (WP 4) and the COGOV toolkit (WP7). WP 2 findings have been distilled into an archive of good practice and are ready for dissemination to practitioners. Several events for practitioners have taken place during the period under review and links with networks developed e.g. delivering workshops on Sound Local Public Management in Vienna; a workshop on Welfare state reform and the role of professionals in the Netherlands; and a workshop for professionals in the cultural sector in Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

In summarising the impact of COGOV in this review period, it is noticeable that while the impact of COVID has reduced opportunities, both in terms of delaying the generation of empirical insights and causing the cancellation of important conferences and events, much has still been achieved. This is particularly the case with the extent of the COGOV footprint on academic research and scholarship across Europe and with the range of outputs provided.

We acknowledge however, that this is an area that requires further efforts (contained in our Dissemination Plan: 2020-2022). Priority will therefore be given to achieving impact on practitioners by ensuring the swift delivery of practitioner-focused deliverables, increased networking (once COVID restrictions are hopefully lifted) and the development of practitioner-focussed events. Thus, we have plans for 2 events in 2021 on the implications of COVID on Strategic Management and Leadership. Our contribution to wider social learning around, and citizen engagement in, the strategic renewal of public services is also planned via the Co-Creation Best Practice Source Book.
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