Professor Tony Bovaird

Professor of Public Management and Policy

Institute of Local Government Studies

Contact details

Institute of Local Government Studies
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • M.A. in Regional Economics and Planning, University of Lancaster, 1971.
  • B.Sc. (Economics), Queen’s University Belfast, 1970.


Tony Bovaird worked in the UK Civil Service, Birmingham University, Aston Business School and Bristol Business School before returning to University of Birmingham in 2006. His research covers strategic management of public services, performance measurement in public agencies, evaluation of public management and governance reforms, and user and community co-production of public services.

He has carried out research for ESRC, the European Commission, UK government departments (including the current CLG, BIS, Home Office, DCMS, DfID and Cabinet Office), LGA, IDeA, Audit Commission, National Audit Office, Capacitybuilders and many other public bodies in the UK and internationally. He was a member of the Strategy Board of the UK Research Councils’ Local Government Initiative (LARCI) until 2011. He is a member of the Local Government Reference Panel of the National Audit Office, the Governing Council of Local Areas Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA) and the CLG Analytical Advisory Group for the Neighbourhood Community Budgets Pilots.

He chaired the Evaluation Partnership, set up by ODPM to co-ordinate a major set of evaluations of the Local Government Modernisation Agenda from 2002 – 2008, also co-chairing the ODPM Local and Regional Governance Research Network. He also led a team evaluating the Civil Service Reform Programme, commissioned by the Cabinet Office.

His recent research has focused on improving local governance through user and community co-production and better partnership working. In 2008 he led the UK contribution to an EU study into co-production in five European countries. In 2009 he undertook a major study of user and community co-production in Adult Social Services in Birmingham City Council. He has recently led an AHRC Connected Communities project (with Gerry Stoker) on ‘Activating the 'Big Society': Developing evidence on the underlying conditions for individual and community co-production’. In 2010-11 he was a member of the Policy Commission organized by University of Birmingham with Demos on the Future of Local Public Services.

With TSRC colleagues, he has undertaken a research project on third sector partnership working and led the large-scale Evaluation of ChangeUp (the government programme for capacity building in the third sector). He directed a study of commissioning across government for National Audit Office.

Tony Bovaird is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Institute for Public Administration Research, a member of the Executive Committee of the Transatlantic Policy Consortium and a non-executive director of Governance International. In 2012-2014 he holds a visiting chair in Meiji University, Tokyo.

He is a member of the Editorial Boards of International Review of Administrative Sciences and the International Public Management Journal and co-author (with Elke Loeffler) of Public Management and Governance (2nd ed, Routledge, 2009).


Tony Bovaird’s main PG teaching is in strategic management, performance management and strategic commissioning. He has extensive experience in teaching on Executive Programmes (e.g. in recent years he has run programmes for Warwick Business School, Cardiff Business School, Bern University, the University of Barcelona, the United Nations University in Belgrade, and Meiji University, Tokyo). 

Postgraduate supervision

Tony Bovaird is currently supervising six doctoral students in the College of Social Sciences, on topics ranging from incorporating social value in UK public commissioning and procurement systems to performance budgeting in Korea and using the 'happeniness/wellbeing index' in Guandong Province (China). 


Director of the following current and recent UK research projects:

  • Developing a Model of Public and Social Outcomes for Total Place (Be Birmingham, 2009-12)
  • Activating the Big Society: Developing Evidence On The Underlying Conditions For Individual And Community Co-Production (AHRC, 2011-12).
  • Partnership Working in the Third Sector: Outcomes-based Partnerships with Public, Private and Other Third Sector Organisations (TSRC, 2010-12).
  • Commissioning Across Government (National Audit Office, 2010).
  • Exploring Options for Constitutional Reform in Total Place (Be Birmingham, 2009-10).
  • Mapping Asset Management Issues For Birmingham: Total Place Total Community Property Challenge (Be Birmingham, 2009-10).
  • Developing Research Agenda into Value for Money in Public Services (CLG, 2009).
  • Implementation of Workforce Code for TUPE Staff in Outsourced Public Service (CLG, 2009-10)
  • Evaluation of ChangeUp Programme, CapacityBuilders (2008 – 2010).
  • New Models of Strategic Commissioning, LGA-CBI Panel on Local Government, Sept 2008- July 2009.
  • Evaluation of  Service Birmingham Partnership, Service Birmingham and Centre for Public Service Partnerships, July 2008 – July 2009.
  • User and Community Co-production in Europe: a Five Country Comparison, French Presidency of EU, January-October 2008 (Director of UK component).
  • Methodological Review of DFID’s Country Programme Evaluations (CPEs). DfID, June –October 2008 (with Philip Amis).
  • Equity Performance Indicators for Sport, DCMS, December 2006 – January 2007.
  • Use of Information in Public Sector Decision Making, Audit Commission, January – June 2007.
  • Future Options for Local Government Structure, Lancaster City Council, Oct 2006 – Jan 2007.
  • Long Term Meta-Evaluation of the Local Government Modernisation Agenda, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, January 2003 – March 2008.

Other activities

Tony Bovaird has acted as a consultant for the World Bank, UNDP, OECD and the Commonwealth Secretariat. He has undertaken international assignments for British Council and DfID, including work in Nigeria, Germany, India and Italy. He has undertaken independent consultancy work for the national governments of Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland; for the regional governments of Bavaria (Germany), Galicia (Spain), Minas Gerais (Brazil); and for the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona and Düsseldorf.

He was a founder member of consortium designing and running the European Public Sector Award from 2006 – 2010.

He has undertaken extensive development work with Boards, top management teams and political executives of many local authorities, health authorities and voluntary organisations. 


"Strategic commissioning for local public services: service improvement cycle or just going round in circles?" Local Government Studies (forthcoming, with Martin Willis & Ian Briggs).

Attributing outcomes to social policy interventions – 'gold standard' or 'fool's gold' in public policy and management? Social Policy and Administration (forthcoming, late 2012).

Learning from complex policy evaluations, Policy and Politics, (2012, forthcoming, with Steve Martin and  James Downe),

From engagement to co-production: The contribution of users and communities to outcomes and public value, Voluntas, (2012, forthcoming, with Elke Loeffler).

"More quality through competitive quality awards? An impact assessment framework" International Review of Administrative Sciences 75 (3): 383-401 (2009, with Elke Löffler).

"Emergent strategic management and planning mechanisms in complex adaptive systems: the case of the UK Best Value initiative", Public Management Review, 10 (3): 319- 340 (2008).

"Beyond engagement and participation – user and community co-production of public services", Public Administration Review, 67 (5): 846-860 (2007).

"Civil service reform in the UK, 1999-2005: revolutionary failure or evolutionary success?" Public Administration,  85 (2): 301-328 (2007) (with Ken Russell).

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