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  4. 3.05 Leadership to create public value

3.05 Leadership to create public value

Academic team: Prof Jean Hartley, Quoc Vo, Jim Beashel, Dr Steven Parker, Dr Loua Kahlil, Dr Mariafrancesca Sicilia
Policing partners: Gwent Police, British Transport Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Status: Complete


The National Police Chiefs Council Chair, Sara Thornton, has suggested that “Public value theory prompts us to think about the value we are trying to create. What outcomes are we delivering for the citizen?.....So what are the police for? What is the value we are trying to create in policing?”.

It is important that measures of added value go beyond the counting of activities, or even the counting of outputs (e.g. stop and search, number of arrests or convictions) to include ways in which public organisations contributed to the wider aims of society. For example, creating a fair, just or peaceful society or enabling citizens to live confident, safe and fulfilling lives.

Police leaders have to navigate how to achieve valuable outcomes for society, and this research project explores this through the lens of public value. The research commenced with a literature review examining the relevance of public value to policing. The field work involved case studies, which also use observation and other data collection from the police and the public. Three questions were explored:

  • How do police leaders perceive and conceptualise public value (perhaps in different language) in complex and contested situations?
  • Does political astuteness help leaders to create public value?
  • How far do police and public have similar or different views about public value and how is that handled by leaders? 


Title Output type Lead academic Year
Leadership for public value: Political astuteness as a conceptual link Book chapter Hartley, J 2019
Leading and recognizing public value Journal article Hartley, J 2019
Ten propositions about public leadership Journal article Hartley, J 2018
Towards an empirical research agenda for public value theory Journal article Hartley, J 2017
Leadership to create public value: a case study of a multi-agency victims hub Paper Beashel, J 2017
Leadership to create public value and Q-methodology Video Vo, Q 2017
Leadership with political astuteness Conference paper Hartley, J 2017
Public value at the cross-roads: a systematic literature review Literature review Hartley, J 2017
On course? The leadership of a rural crime initiative Conference paper Parker, S 2017
Leadership to create public value: a case study of an initiative to address rural crime Paper Parker, S 2017
Leadership to create public value in complex and contested situations Conference paper Parker, S 2017
Using Q to asess public value Conference paper Vo, Q 2017
Understanding public value through policing priorities using Q methodology Final report Vo, Q 2017
Understanding public value through policing priorities using Q methodology Executive summary Vo, Q 2017
Towards a multi-actor theory of public value co-creation Journal article Bryson, J 2016
Public value: a new approach to demand in policing Thought paper Hartley, J 2015
Public value: a new means to peel an apple? Conference paper Hartley, J 2015



Launch of CPRL Collaborative to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and research across the OU with CPRL members

CPRL has launched a new format of research seminars under the brand ‘CPRL Collaborative’ that are open to academics and our police force members. 

23rd November 2023
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Upcoming Events

Dec 7

Membership Group Meeting

Thursday, December 7, 2023 - 10:30 to 12:30

Jan 15

Research Priority workshop

Monday, January 15, 2024 - 11:00 to 13:00

The Open University, Milton Keynes

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