Posts Tagged ‘Public Value’

The End of Mark Moore’s Public Value?

Reading previous posts on this blog, it will be obvious that a great deal of time has been spent responding the concept of “Public Value”, developed by Moore (1995) and subsequently in different directions, both within Moore’s work e.g. Benington and Moore 2011 and Moore 2013 and by others including Meynhardt and Bozeman, reflecting an interest in the term in Germany and Europe. In the UK, from its high point in the mid 2000’s e.g. its use by the BBC in 2004 and the setting up of the Institute for Public Service Value by Accenture in 2006, the concept has been seen less regularly in public discourse where it was not used by the political parties in the recent General Election in the UK, for example. This disappearance from public discourse seems to follow the sidelining of the discussions, initiated by Moore, which focused on the purpose and values of public services and the pivotal role of senior staff in those services in defining those purposes. (more…)


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9 Key Findings in the Executive Summary

In February 2013 the final report of the public inquiry into the management and poor practices within the Mid-Staffordshire Health Trust was published; consisting of an Executive Summary and three volumes of more than 1000 pages. The reason for the size of this report was the intense public and political interest into the way in which the operations of a public body, the healthcare trust, had failed to promote patient care and had seemed to create a climate where abuse and neglect of patients, particularly the elderly, was commonplace under a management that was more focused on financial performance and the status of the organisation than supporting and sustaining a culture of professional care. The background to the setting up of the inquiry can be found here on WikiPedia  and there is a huge range of commentary and resources which can be found by using the search terms “Francis Report” and “Mid Staffordshire Health Authority Inquiry”. One year on from the publication of the report there is much literature on what has changed as a result of the inquiry and now seems a good time to review the main findings and the recommendations of the committee of inquiry from the perspectives being developed in this blog. After this overview the next post will look at “progress” one year on from the publication of the report and how this exemplifies the issues discussed below.

The key to the Francis report was the disconnect between a managerial focus on finance and organisational status and the public expectation of professional and ethical care for all patients. This latter was overlooked, and sometimes suppressed, in an environment focused on organisational efficiency in order to achieve “Foundation Trust” status. Both the nature of this status and the Mid-Staffordshire Trust’s concern to gain this status are well described in the report, and the key issues clearly elucidated in the Executive Summary.

Francis’ 9 key concerns with the running of the Mid-Staffordshire Health Trust are summarised below. (more…)

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Readers of this blog will know that I have discussed an outline of the alternatives to conceptions of “public value” developed by and from the work of Mark Moore in the US and the promotion of this work in the book “Public Value: theory and practice” edited by Moore and Benington (2011). My key criticism of this approach remains that the “public value” defined by Moore and others is not “public” in the sense that publics are engaged in deliberating and defining public values and that there is an underlying acceptance that those engaged in government and public services as senior managers are best placed to form and articulate these debates and, ultimately, determine what “value” is placed on public services. Another strand of this argument could be characterised as “you can have too much democracy!” where political thinkers are putting forward ideas that support restrictions on democratic processes and criticising their application in given circumstances e.g. Berggruen and Gardels (2012), who argue that intelligent governance should replace liberal democracy as it faces crises in terms of funding and legitimacy. Similar perspectives are put forward in Michael Lewis’s “Boomerang: travels in the new third world” (2011)

As I have noted before, this approach is driven by ideas from neo-conservative economic theories and their focus on markets and financial values and “market forces”. This influence is carefully explored in Ben Fine’s work in critiquing the term “social capital” and his key arguments apply here. (more…)

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Valuing alternate views

If I’m setting out an alternative to the visions on public value I’ve already discussed, then I need to show how this deals with the outlines of measurement stated in “Public Value: Theory and Practice” (PVT&P), which I assume, is approved by the editors Mark Moore and John Benington. The authors of the section discussed below are Louise Horner and Will Hutton of the “Work Foundation” whose paper is entitled “Public Value, Deliberative Democracy and the role of public managers” (PVT&P pp 112-126) and it is not surprising that these views seem to have informed the recommendations made by Hutton in relation to the pay of senior staff in the UK public sector, which advised that there should be no cap on these salaries, but that the level of these salaries should be public along with a reporting of the range of salaries in the organisations employing these staff. Let’s examine the measurement  of Public Value. (more…)

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Just as you think that Mark Moore has moved on from public value a new book co-edited with John Bennington comes along “Public Value: theory and practice” and published within the last two weeks (2011). On a very brief survey of the contents it would appear that the majority of writing on this topic emerges from university business schools in the English speaking world, particularly Warwick University, and writers on policy such as Will Hutton. What appears to be almost entirely absent (there is one exception) are any contributions from those working in public sector organisations delivering services, or from communities that receive those services.  (more…)

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Towards Engaging Communities; Away from Managerialism

Those of you reading the previous discussions on public value in this blog will be aware that it has focused on the way in which the term has been used by NIACE (National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education – the membership group and lobby for those providing adult and community learning in the UK).  We have been particularly concerned with the shift to an economistic model of defining public value apparent in their recent national inquiry which lead to the publication of the papers and final report for the Inquiry into the Future of Lifelong Learning (IFLL). Without re-iterating all the details, it is apparent that NIACE chose to move away from models of public value grounded in traditions of community action and community learning in the UK and instead to adopt a model derived from the work of Moore (Mark H. Moore (1995), Creating Public Value Strategic Management in Government, Harvard University Press) in the US. This latter model was subsequently developed by the Cabinet Office under the Labour Government from 2005 and a range of UK think tanks such as Demos and The Work Foundation.  The adoption of this model by the IFLL appears to have ignored the thinking and advocacy that was aired in NIACE’s own, excellent book “Not Just the Economy: the public value of adult learning” (NIACE 2008) which was based on a more community focused model.  The use of the term public value was much more contested in this book, by writers such as Ursula Howard and Richard Bolsin and we will investigate that approach more deeply here. The writers of this blog regard a revitalised, and networked, concept of Public Value relevant to the post-web 2.0 world we live in, and a critical element in rethinking institutions and policy for the Knowledge Economy. These three posts will update our thinking on how this might be achieved, but first some background.  (more…)

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As I promised, here is the post on Ben Fine’s new book “Theories of Social Capital: Researchers behaving badly” (RBB). The reason for this slight digression from the theme of my posts on public value is that one issue I have identified in papers by Schuler and others, is an uncritical adoption of the term ‘social capital’. However this term has been addressed in great detail from the perspective of social theory and political economy through the work Fine has carried out over the last decade. The other authors who also appear to accept the term uncritically are Wilkinson and Pickett in “The Spirit Level: why equality is better for everyone” and as their findings and analysis help frame a number of arguments I will be making here, in the final post of this series, I felt that it was necessary to introduce Fine’s work first and then explore what this means for the discussion on public value in my final post. (more…)

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