Prop masters or puppeteers? The role of public servants in staging public value review

Scott Douglas, Mijke van de Noort, Mirko Noordegraaf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


The ideas of Public Value Management have expanded the scope of ambitions and actors involved in government. Public, private, and community partners increasingly join forces to achieve societal outcomes. Yet the measures and processes for reviewing the impact of these collaborations have lagged behind. Reviews traditionally center on politicians holding the executive to account on specific promises, ignoring the wider constellation of actors and ambitions now at play.

Public value reviews should entail multiple public, private, and community actors holding each other to account for their contribution to the desired societal outcomes. New routines and arenas are needed to enable such wider reviews, while existing political procedures and democratic forums must remain insured and respected.

This chapter examines what public value reviews could look like by exploring how the various actors can come together to explicate their goals, exchange and examine performance information, and explore actions for future improvements. The idea of public value reviews is made concrete by looking at summits, where the various partners literally gather to jointly reflect on their collective impact.

The chapter focuses specifically on the role of public servants in preparing and staging these summits. Public servants play a key part by (1) getting the right people together, (2) helping to explicate goals, (3) providing useful data props to inform the discussion, and (4) distribute the insights of the review to a wide audience. However, public servant must be careful to not overstep their mandate, becoming the backstage “puppeteers” of public value reviews.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of the Public Servant
EditorsH. Sullivan, H. Dickinson, H. Henderson
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapterpart IV
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-29980-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-29979-8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Public Value Management
  • Collaborative governance
  • Performance review
  • Collaborative performance summit
  • Public servants


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