Purpose - The purpose of this article is to explore the concept of co-governance and its implications on public value, with particular reference to local authorities in the Italian context. Design/methodology/approach - The research aim is pursued by means of a literature review and an empirical research. The empirical research is developed through a questionnaire, sent to the 119 municipalities of the Italian provincial capitals. The overall response rate was 41.18% (49 responses). Findings - In Italian local authorities the process of increasing citizens’ participation and citizens’ involvement as co-producers of public value by means of co-governance and participatory governance tools is still ongoing. More than 50% of the local authorities of the research sample have introduced co-governance or participatory governance tools and activities but they are still facing problems in implementing them. In general, the level of citizens’ participation seems not to be fully developed. Research limitations/implications - The empirical part of the research focuses only on the application of co-governance and participatory governance tools in the Italian context, therefore the main limitation lies in the difficulties of extending their application to the international context. In addition, the questionnaire was designed only for medium- to large sized local authorities. Thus, the research does not consider the possible implications for small municipalities. Practical implications - This article considers some of the possible difficulties of implementation of co-governance and participatory governance tools. Social implications - This article highlights the link between the creation of public value and the adoption of public policies based on citizens’ involvement and consultation. Originality/value - This article underlines the link between public value creation and co-governance. It also offers a broad empirical survey on the presence of co-governance and participatory governance tools and activities in the Italian context; this topic was not examined in prior studies.
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