The Open UniversitySkip to content

The shining lights? Public service awards as an approach to service improvement

Hartley, Jean and Downe, James (2007). The shining lights? Public service awards as an approach to service improvement. Public Administration, 85(2) pp. 329–353.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available (Version of Record)
Due to publisher licensing restrictions, this file is not available for public download
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Award schemes have proliferated in the public sector worldwide – yet there is little analysis of their role in improving public services through celebrating performance and sharing good practice. This paper theorizes this development, establishing a research agenda to examine the functioning, attractiveness and effectiveness of award schemes, which may be classified as being threshold or competitive schemes. The paper examines a major English competitive award, the Beacon Scheme, and focuses initially on its attractiveness to applicants. The research constructed a database of applications and awards of all English local authorities over six years as well as using interviews and observation. The analysis examined trends over a changing policy context, along with differences in application rates across eligible authorities and perceptions of the scheme. The analysis is used inductively to construct criteria by which the attractiveness of award schemes and their effectiveness in service improvement can be conceptualized.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2007 The Authors, 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. (Journal compilation)
ISSN: 1467-9299
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetDepartment for Communities and Local Government
Not SetNot SetImprovement and Development Agency
Advanced Institute of MangementRES-331-25-0008ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Advanced Institute of MangementNot SetEPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 36866
Depositing User: Beryl Ridgway
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2013 08:19
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 22:17
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU