Quotation Polzer, Tobias, Goncharenko, Galina. 2022. The UK COVID-19 app: the failed co-production of a digital public service. Financial Accountability and Management. 38 (2), 281-298




The COVID-19 pandemic put governments under pressure to make radical and urgent decisions, and to implement new digital solutions to steer society and deliver public services. Our study analyzes social media discourse to understand the co-production of a digital public service in an emergency situation. Empirically, we mobilize Twitter netnography and discourse analysis to examine citizens’ perceptions of the contact tracing app (CTA) introduced by the UK government to tackle the pandemic and save lives. Our study contributes to research on public sector accountability for digital transformations by advancing scholarly understanding of how societal concerns and public perceptions impact the co-production of digital services. Our findings reveal a high level of public skepticism toward the app and a general distrust of the UK government among the main social challenges of the CTA's implementation. Furthermore, we evidence widespread public distress over the potential violation of democratic freedoms and misuse of the data collected by the app. Finally, we reflect on the linkages between the lack of governmental accountability and the difficulties in mitigating the expressed societal concerns, causing a corresponding resistance on the part of the public to engage in and support co-production.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Financial Accountability and Management
WU-Journal-Rating new FIN-A, STRAT-C, WH-B
Language English
Title The UK COVID-19 app: the failed co-production of a digital public service
Volume 38
Number 2
Year 2022
Page from 281-298
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/faam.12307
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/faam.12307


Polzer, Tobias (Details)
Goncharenko, Galina (University of Sussex, United Kingdom)
Research Institute for Urban Management and Governance FI (Details)
Urban Management and Governance (Meyer) (Details)
Institute for Organization Studies IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5000 Social Sciences (Details)
5234 Administrative science (Details)
5324 Organizational research (Details)
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