Just as the aim of managerial work is to create private value for stockholders in the private sector, the aim of managerial work in the public sector is to create Public Value for stakeholders. Public managers use revenue from taxes, and executive authority to create results that are collectively desired. Because public authority is used, value has to be judged in terms of – principles of justice, fairness, and equity, as well as efficiency and effectiveness. Public Value is the value that an organization or activity contributes to society. Harvard’s Mark Moore saw Public Value in public management as the equivalent of shareholder value in the private sector. Public Value is the value created by public managers. This value is created by public managers who must navigate a strategic triangle of valued outcomes inside the constraints of talents and capabilities, resources, and an authorizing environment of formal and informal jurisdiction, legal frameworks and cabinet mandate.

A broad spectrum of Public Value dimensions result in:

  1. citizen satisfaction,
  2. shielding the liberty of all,
  3. social and cultural value –  social capital, cohesion, and fraternity,
  4. political value –  democratic dialogue, and wide public participation,
  5. ecological value during the green and digital transitions accelerated by the COVID-19 portal,
  6. service delivery – take‐up, public satisfaction, choice, justice as equity, and freedom,
  7. fiscal responsibility and tangible economic value,
  8. non‐financial performance –  adeptness, and service quality,
  9. trust and legitimacy and,
  10. economic development – stimulating economic activity and employment.

In Post Corona, Public Value will be shaped by the triad of (1) budgeting for cross-cutting issues, (2) the control of corruption by reducing the resources for corruption while concurrently increasing the constraints, and (3) by exploring intuitive workspace typologies that permit agile squads to tackle problems in sprints.  To collectively define the future, bureaucracies have started to define problems from a value perspective or a value-led approach. But budget cycles, budget preparation, and policy systems remain notoriously ill-equipped to deal with cross cutting issues that vine across agencies and departments.

Cross-cutting issues like gender equality and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that make explicit, “No Poverty”, “Zero Hunger”, “Life Below Water” and, “Clean Water and Sanitation” are leading concerns. These themes cut across every aspect of development. The UN’s SDGs are a collection of 17 interlinked global targets. Together, they constitute a blueprint for a sustainable future for all. Cross-cutting themes should therefore be integrated and mainstreamed throughout all stages of development, from policy design, to implementation, and evaluation. To mainstream an issue means to adopt a single lens throughout the whole process.

For example, what are the gender strands of a particular problem. Does it affect men and trans gender people differently? How then can the policy and/or programme of work be designed to take into account different gender identities? Finally, the after-action review (AAR) must evaluate whether the planned activity improved gender parity. Mainstreaming cross cutting issues for Public Value requires public sector leadership. Critical enabling factors like supportive policy frameworks and strategies; dedicated financial and human resources; performance incentives and accountability; and a culture of lifelong learning are key to creating Public Value.

However, Public Value is not to be confused with “public values” or the personal judgements about the social standards, principles and ideals to be pursued and upheld by bureaucrats. Unravelling the nexus between corruption and development exposes those setups that create an enabling environment for corruption. This in turn has informed a meta-ethical position that applies to all similarly situated individuals, regardless of ethnicity, religious persuasion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other distinguishing characteristic. It is better to always approach development from a collective action perspective. Such a governance framework requires a multiple stakeholder practice, using cross cutting themes and inter-ministerial spines, and civil society to build use cases that translate into public pilots.

Mark Robinson, the editor of “Corruption and Development” (2012) notes that corruption undermines development by draining off resources for infrastructures and public services. This in turn weakens the legitimacy of the State. The public disorder of endemic corruption is of grave significance for the developmental prospects of poor countries. In all economies, the corruption threshold is a measure that determines whether corruption’s effect on economic growth is growth-enhancing or growth-deteriorating.

Generally, the relationship between corruption and economic development is characterised by three stylized circumstances: (1) a strong negative correlation between corruption and development, (2) high corruption-low development, or low corruption-high development equilibria, and (3) among States with intermediate levels of development, corruption levels can vary. In Post Corona, Intuitive Work Spaces are needed. New typographies that introduce a continuum of space configurations that include Flexible Private Space, Concentration Pods and Focus Work Stations can change work flow patterns. These spaces will allow omnichannel collaboration for bureaucrats to deliver Public Value.

Public managers must energetically legitimize the notion of Public Value. They must secure vertical backing, managing up, and managing down within the specific organisation, and managing out to the broader value chain by coordinating and collaborating with a wide spectrum of organisations and stakeholders, to secure buy-in. Then, and only then, will it be possible to actually deliver Public Value.