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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: User Participation and Involvement in the Governance and Delivery of Public Services
Author(s): Simmons, Richard
Supervisor(s): Anderson, Isobel
Daniel, Brigid
Keywords: Participation
Public Services
Issue Date: Jul-2017
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Via six published papers, this thesis assembles a body of work by Simmons on user participation and involvement in the governance and delivery of public services in the UK. Collectively, the papers examine how users are able, and what makes them willing, to interact with public services in order to maintain or improve them. Cumulatively, the published papers contribute to a more detailed and nuanced understanding of user involvement and participation, enabling deeper understanding of users’ motivations and experiences, the choices available to them and how these are constrained. The published papers are contextualised in a linking narrative. This locates the papers within wider debates about the place and role of service user involvement and participation and how this has evolved over the last fifty years (Section 3). It then considers a range of broader literatures, selected to capture key elements of the conceptual and theoretical questions to which the papers are addressed (Section 4). A summary of each publication is provided, detailing its individual contribution to the participation literature (Section 5). The papers’ cumulative contribution is then considered (Section 6). Together, the six publications contribute to deeper understandings of both user involvement (establishing nuances in user attitudes and behaviour), and the possibilities that arise within different spaces for involvement (according to such factors as who the participants are, what they connect with (service, service providers, service context), and how these connections form distinctive ‘fields' of relationships). This thesis suggests these things all matter when it comes to users finding their voice - and user knowledge being incorporated into the governance and delivery of public services. It concludes that users’ ‘projects’ of involvement and participation (and the environments for those projects) are often complex, bringing together a range of different forces that must be balanced within the public service system.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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