Professor Tony Bovaird

Professor Tony Bovaird

Institute of Local Government Studies
Emeritus Professor of Public Management and Governance

Contact details

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

He is a member of National Audit Office Local Government Reference Panel (2012- ), a Trustee and member of the Governing Council of Local Areas Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA) (2011- ), and a member of the Advisory Board of the College of Policing Strategic Command Programme.


  • 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 three 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 Indonesia and using the 'happeniness/wellbeing index' in Guandong Province (China). 


Director of the following current and recent UK research projects:

  • Research Briefing for Welsh Government on Community Governance and Co-production (Welsh Government, 2014).
  • International Perspectives on Scenarios for the Future of Local Government (Grant Thornton, 2014).
  • Reconceptualising Warwickshire Observatory (Warwickshire CC, 2014).
  • Evaluation of Recommissioning of Services for Young People (Surrey CC, 2014).
  • Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis of Neighbourhood Community Budgeting (CLG, 2012-14).
  • 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, the European Commission 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, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland; and for the regional governments of Bavaria (Germany), Galicia (Spain), Minas Gerais (Brazil).

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


Recent articles

"Activating Collective Coproduction for Public Services: Influencing Citizens to Participate in Complex Governance Mechanisms", International Review of Administrative Science, 82 (1) (2016 forthcoming, in Special Issue on Co-production, online from early 2015, with Gerry Stoker, Elke Loeffler, Tricia Jones and Monica Pinilla Roncancio).

"Activating citizens to participate in collective co-production of public services" Journal of Social Policy, 44 (1): 1-23 (2015, with Greg van Ryzin, Elke Loeffler and Salvador Parrado).

"Efficiency in third sector partnerships for delivering local government services: the role of economies of scale, scope and learning", Public Management Review (2014, online DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2014.930508).

"Strategic commissioning for local public services: service improvement cycle or just going round in circles?" Local Government Studies 40 (4): 533-559 (2014, with Martin Willis & Ian Briggs).

"Correlates of co-production: Evidence from a Five-Nation Survey of Citizens", International Public Management Journal, Vol. 16 (1): 1 – 28 (2013 with Elke Loeffler, Salvador Parrado and Gregg van Ryzin).

"Designing whole-systems commissioning: lessons from the English experience", Journal of Care Services Management, 6 (2): 83-92 (2013, with Iestyn Williams, Hilary Brown, Kerry Allen, Helen Dickinson, Jane England and John Glasby). 

"Attributing outcomes to social policy interventions – 'gold standard' or 'fool's gold' in public policy and management?" Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 48 (1): 1 – 23 (2012).

"Learning from complex policy evaluations", Policy and Politics, 40 (4): 505-523 (2012, with James Downe and Steve Martin).

"From engagement to co-production: The contribution of users and communities to outcomes and public value", Voluntas, 23 (4): 1119–1138 (2012, 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).

Recent books, book chapters and research reports

“Coproducing Public Services with Service Users, Communities and the Third Sector” in James L. Perry and Robert K. Christensen (Eds), Handbook of Public Administration. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. (2015, forthcoming, with Elke Loeffler).

“Managing complex adaptive systems to produce public outcomes in Birmingham, UK” in Paul Cairney and Robert Geyer (Eds), Handbook of Complexity and Public Administration. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (2015, forthcoming, with Richard Kenny).  

 “User and community co-production of public services: what influences citizens to co-produce?” in Eberhard Bohne, John D. Graham and Jos C.N. Raadschelders (Eds), Trends in the Modern State. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (2014, forthcoming, with Elke Loeffler, Gregg van Ryzin and Salvador Parrado).

 “Top down strategies for public services reform: lessons from UK local government modernisation agenda” in Douglas Besharov, Karen Baehler and Jacob Klerman (2012), Modern Performance Measurement around the World: Unifying Theories and Cross-National Applications. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014, forthcoming with James Downe and Steve Martin).

2020 Vision: Exploring Finance and Policy Futures for English Local Government. London: Grant Thornton and INLOGOV. (2014, with Daniel Goodwin, Abene Dadze-Arthur, Peter Watt, Catherine Staite and Grant Thornton, available at:   

The New Commissioning Model of Services for Young People in Surrey: Evaluation of Achievements and Implications. Report to Surrey County Council. Birmingham: INLOGOV and Governance International (2014, with Elke Loeffler, available at

Meta-evaluation of the Impacts and Legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. ESRC Methods Paper (2014, with  David Gough, Steve Martin and Jonathan France).

“Reducing Public Risk and Improving Public Resilience: An Agenda for Risk Enablement Strategies” in Catherine Staite (Ed.),Making sense of the future: do we need a new model of public services? Birmingham: INLOGOV ( 2013, with Barry Quirk, available at:

“We’re all in this together: harnessing user and community co-production of public outcomes”, in Catherine Staite (Ed.),Making sense of the future: do we need a new model of public services? Birmingham: INLOGOV ( 2013, with Elke Loeffler, available at:

Co-production of Health and Wellbeing in Scotland. Birmingham: Governance International with Scottish Government. (2013, with Elke Loeffler, Gerry Power and Frankie Hine-Hughes, available at:

“Context in public policy: implications of complexity theory”in Christopher Pollitt (Ed.), Context In Public Policy And Management:  The Missing Link? Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (2013).

“Third sector service delivery: conceptual approaches to marrying scale and responsiveness” in Changing Realities of the Third Sector. ESRC Public Policy Seminar Series. Birmingham: TSRC and ESRC (pp. 9-11, 2013, available at:

“Beyond the Contract - The Challenge of Evaluating the Performance(s) of Public-Private Partnerships” in Graeme Hodge and Carsten Greve (Eds), Rethinking Public-Private Partnerships: Strategic Approaches for Turbulent Times. London: Routledge (2013, with Stephen Jeffares and Helen Sullivan).

Making Health and Social Care Personal and Local: From Mass Production to Co-Production. Birmingham: Governance International and Local Governance Information Unit. (2012, with Elke Loeffler, David Taylor-Gooby, Frankie Hine-Hughes and Laura Wilkes, available at:  

“Capacity building and local government: Organisational responses to the need for greater human capacity”, Comparative Public Administration, Vol. 11 (“ Integrated Human Capacity Building In The Age Of Decentralization”), edited by Akira Nakamura, Osamu Koike and Masao Kikuchi. Tokyo: Local Autonomy College (2012).

“The future of local authorities: revolutionary, revolving in the grave or just going round in circles?” in Claudio Morales Oyarce and Faith Boardman (Eds), Public Service Reform in the UK: Revolutionary or Evolutionary?London: Public Management and Policy Association (2012, available at:  

“From Engagement to Co-production: How Users and Communities Contribute to Public Services” in Taco Brandsen and Victor Pestoff (Eds), New Public Governance, the Third Sector and Co-Production. London: Routledge (2012, with Elke Löffler) 

 “Community rights to challenge and take over services and to buy public assets” in J.W. Raine and C. Staite (Eds), The World Is Your Oyster? Perspectives from Inlogov onThe Localism Bill. 2ndEdition, 2012. Birmingham: Institute of Local Government Studies (available at:

“New Models of Strategic Commissioning” in Jon Glasby (Ed), Commissioning for Health and Well-being.Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (2012, with Helen Dickenson and Kerry Allen).

“Commissioning for quality and outcomes” in Jon Glasby (Ed), Commissioning for Health and Well-being.Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (2012, with Martin Willis).

Commissioning Across Government: Evidence Review. Report for National Audit Office. Working Paper 86. Birmingham: Third Sector Research Centre (September 2012, with Helen Dickinson and Kerry Allen, available at:

Partnership Working. Birmingham: Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC). (2012, with James Rees and  David Mullins, available at:

 Third sector partnerships for public service delivery: an evidence review. Birmingham: Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC). (2012, with James Rees and  David Mullins, available at:  

Oral Evidence to House of Commons, Communities and Local Government Committee on The Cooperative Council(Monday 21 May 2012), HC 112, (Evidence heard in Public Questions 78-178, published November 2012, available at: 

Written Evidence to House of Commons, Communities and Local Government Committee on The Cooperative Council: How social enterprises can promote user and community co-production of public services, (Co-Op 11), published November 2012, available at:

“Outcome-based service commissioning and delivery – does it make a difference?”  in Sandra Groeneveld and Steven van de Walle (Eds), New Steering Mechanisms in Public Management. (2011). IPMN Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management. Rotterdam: Emerald Press (with Rhodri Davies).

“A Brief Intellectual History of the PPP Movement”  in Graeme Hodge, Carsten Greve and Anthony Boardman (Eds),  International Handbook on Public-Private-Partnerships. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (2010).

“Collaborative Governance Between Public Sector, Service Users & their Communities” in Bohne, E. (Ed),  Repositioning Europe & America for Economic Growth: The Role of Governments & Private Actors in Key Policy Areas. LIT Verlag: Berlin (2010, with Jörgen Tholstrup).

“User and community co-production of public services and public policies through collective decision-making: role of emerging technologies” in T. Brandsen & Marc Holzer (Eds), The Future of Governance. Newark, NJ: National Center for Public Performance (2010, with Elke Loeffler).

“Performance assessment at the ‘edge of influence’: a case study in central government holding local authorities to account for a ‘thriving third sector’ in the UK” in Ongaro, E., Holzer, M., Massey, A. and Wayenberg, E. (eds) Policy, Performance and Management in Governance and Intergovernmental Relations. Surrey: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. (2010,  with Lys Coleman, Dawn Hands, Les Hems and Douglas Johnson).