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Wolfson Research Institute, 23 rd November 2012 Relationships of Consumption: interdependency between users and providers of public services. Professor Andrew Gray. A bi-angular analysis. Consumption as role Consumption as interaction . Provider:

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Professor andrew gray

Wolfson Research Institute, 23rd November 2012Relationships of Consumption:interdependency between users and providers of public services

Professor Andrew Gray


services for



A bi angular analysis

A bi-angular analysis

Consumption as role

Consumption as interaction


state agent using rules of access and content determined through due process

Consumer: member of a state with rights and obligations relating to access, standards and participation

  • Role Relationship: Citizen

  • Defining property:Constitutionality

Consumer beneficiary differentiated by professionally adjudicated need


expert who controls access to and provision of

the service

Consumer: beneficiary differentiated by professionally adjudicated need

  • rolerelationship:client

  • defining property: professionally adjudicated and individualised

Consumer ability to pay with right to choose provider and content

Provider: ability to provide with right todiscriminate between consumers


ability to pay with right to choose

provider and content

role relationship: customer

defining property: reciprocal choice

interaction: co-production

‘the critical mix of activities that service agents and citizens contribute to the provision of public services.’

Brudney & England 1983: 59

Co-production means delivering public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services, their families and their neighbours.

The Challenge of Co-production, NESTA, 2009

Interaction inseparability
interaction: inseparability

Inseparability of provider and consumer as a feature peculiar to service relationships

(Groonroos 2007)

Interdependence the distinguishing property of co production and inseparability
interdependence:the distinguishing property of co-production and inseparability


Production is determined by progress of others up and down the process. External planning and scheduling is required to optimise capacity use.


Production is largely independent of others but determined by use of shared rules and standard procedures to provide information to align activities


Production is determined by reciprocal and simultaneous working together in which information flows are critical to coordination of effort

(Thomson 1967)


public service consumption as role


public service consumption as interaction:



Nature of interdependency is the differentiating feature of consumption;


Confusion of all types of consumption as customers overlooks this relationship and its variability

conclusions - practical

policy risk:

choice aggravates inequalities

provision risk:

service providers relate to users inappropriately

consumption risk:

users’ unrealistic and improper demands of provision