Understanding the co-production of public services: the case of asylum seekers in Glasgow
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This thesis explores the co-production of public services in the case of asylum seekers in Glasgow. It makes contributions on the theoretical and empirical levels. First, it integrates two theoretical standpoints on co-production from the public administration/management and services management literatures. This integration forms the basis for the development of an original conceptual framework which differentiates three modes of co-production at the level of the individual service user: consumer co-production; participative co-production; and enhanced co-production. The thesis then extends co-production to consider organizational modes, considering specifically the role of voluntary and community organizations (VCOs) in the production of services. This discussion contributes to the expansion of the conceptual framework, by introducing the concepts of co-management and co-governance to refer to VCOs co-production in service delivery and in service planning and delivery, respectively. The result is the development of a ‘Typology of Co-production’ which differentiates all five types of co-production according to who co-produces public services and when. These two conceptual frameworks are used to explore the case of asylum seekers and the social welfare services they receive in Glasgow. The case of asylum seekers is particularly interesting given the marginal nature of the group and their legal position as non-citizens. This serves to sharpen the focus on co-production. Three research questions emerged from the theoretical work which are explored in the case of asylum seekers: to what extent is co-production dependent upon citizenship? Can co-production act as a conduit to build social inclusiveness and citizenship? And is individual service user co-production a prerequisite for co-production and partnership working by public service organizations? The study took a mixed methods approach, consisting of policy/practice interviews, a small survey of public service organizations providing services to asylum seekers and an embedded case study design of Glasgow, which involved a series of interviews, observations and document analysis. The empirical context provided a fertile ground to explore and better understand the five types of co-production differentiated in the theory. It further suggests that citizenship is not a prerequisite for each mode of co-production and also that the co-production of public services can positively impact the lives of asylum seekers, particularly around issues of integration.