Co-producing and co-constructing public policies: the role of the SSE

Yves Vaillancourt (2014) identifies the notions of the co-production and co-construction of public policies. They refer both to the participation of civil society and market actors in the implementation of public policies (for example, services management and supply) and to actors’ participation in defining and drawing up policies (determining general policy lines and key elements). These practices provide a major opportunity for democratising the economy, and public policies in particular, by introducing forms of governance based on the participation of civil society and market actors. In addition, in this context, civil society actors are no longer confined to the role of passive service consumers.

The contribution of the social and solidarity economy is particularly innovative and promising, since it offers social innovations rooted in experiments. To cite one example, social policies in Quebec are marked by the cooperation between social and solidarity economy actors, working alongside other labour market and civil society actors, and the State to develop (co-construct) and operationalize (co-produce) policies centred on the general interest. This applies to social and community housing policies over the last twenty years in Quebec, where SSE actors are involved both in designing policies and in the cooperative forms their implementation takes.

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