Financial Foundations Framework, Budgeting and Forecasting

The Relationship Between Public Engagement and Coproduction

Image from GFR

In considering the institutional and civic benefits of public engagement in the budgeting process, we need to acknowledge the relationship between public engagement and coproduction. Elinor Ostrom defines coproduction as “a process through which inputs from individuals who are not ‘in’ the same organization are transformed into goods and services.”

Rather than playing a passive role, with government acting on their behalf, citizens can act as coproducers with government, becoming active contributors “in the conception, design, steering and management of public goods and services.”2 Their contributions provide an economic value to government in increased efficiency and effectiveness, values that should be recognized and captured in the budget. Coproduction also fosters equity and inclusion as all citizens in a neighborhood or community can participate in the work to be done. Local government can help facilitate coproduction and the benefits accrued by creating places for civic learning, neutral spaces where citizens and government can learn to work together in more democratic and complementary ways to produce the goods and services that are important to them.