Negotiating Space in Confined Places – Co-Production of Public Services with Unwilling Users

Therese Reitan


An expanding body of research on co-production, participation, co-creation and other forms of user involvement in public services has not sufficiently reflected their coercive nature. Coercion, like persuasion, is a central dimension of public administration and a defining element of, for example, compulsory care. It is, however, seldom properly addressed in the literature on co-production. The aim of this study is twofold; to propose a broadened definition of co-production which more adequately reflects the complexities of human services by distinguishing between users (clients) and consumers (social services), and to investigate the relevance and practice of co-production in a non-voluntary setting. Examples of enhanced, participative, consumer, and user co-production were identified based on organizational and individual data from the Swedish government agency responsible for compulsory care for substance abusers. Forms of user co-production at the operational level were highlighted through client records and administrative data concerning transfers to community care – so called Care in Other Forms (COF). COF placements are intricate processes involving many different stakeholders and the analysis revealed how clients actively partake in negotiations on the terms and content of service delivery. The idiosyncrasies of involuntary human services should be considered in future research on co-production.


Full Text: PDF

Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413