Delivering 'public value': Implications for accountability and legitimacy

Francesca Gains, Gerry Stoker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The possibility that public servants can act to create 'public value' offers a popular and potentially liberating normative code for the activity of public managers. The adoption of the concept however implies a changed understanding of legitimacy and accountability for policy actions. It is argued this new 'public service contract' is likely to be easier to adopt in local settings than in the core executive although in neither case is the adoption of new modes of working between politicians, officials and citizens unproblematic. Old codes and informal ways of thinking provide an awkward backcloth for the adoption of public value as a guideline for public management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-455
Number of pages17
JournalParliamentary Affairs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • Public value
  • Governance
  • Service delivery
  • Public management


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