The members of the EPSA 2011 Steering Committee representing the Official Partners selected 3 themes from among a catalogue of themes prepared and presented to them by EIPA faculty members. The 3 themes for EPSA 2011 are:
● Smart Public Service Delivery in a Cold Economic Climate
● Opening up the Public Sector through Collaborative Governance
● Going Green: Concrete Solutions from the Public Sector
THEME 1 - Smart Public Service Delivery in a Cold Economic Climate
In the past three years governments across Europe have been facing mounting pressures on their public finances arising from the need to stabilise the financial services sector. This has led to pressure for changes in the way public services are delivered, as well as a re-assessment of the scope and nature of services to be provided by public authorities, independently of the way in which they are delivered. It has also led to the need to establish more accurate and service-oriented measurement tools to ensure that the scarcer resources now available to the public sector are being used effectively.
Can public administrations rise to the challenge of stabilising public finances and preventing another shock from the financial services sector while delivering a high quality of public services? Will this mean abandoning attempts to address the climate change agenda or diversity issues? Can they also at the same time protect employment and promote employability? How will this be measured?
This topic is looking for showcase projects based on how public administrations are responding to these challenges and balancing these competing demands in a difficult economic climate, such as those which have successfully changed the means of service delivery between internal and external service delivery or between different types of external service delivery, successful internal re-organisation of service delivery and successful introduction of shared services, etc. and/or those which have been imaginative in their definition of qualitative and quantitative performance measurement tools linked to service objectives.
THEME 2 - Opening Up the Public Sector through Collaborative Governance
Over time the different levels of public administration and all categories of public services have opened up towards the private sector in numerous ways. Many such actions reflect the specificity of the sectors or policy areas and respond to the special needs of the entity. Interaction takes place at all stages of decision-making processes and within all policy areas in order to achieve better, faster and more acceptable solutions. This has been done either through the development of new institutional frameworks or bodies to promote transparency in government, access to information, consultation and ultimately involvement in making policy decisions, or through adjusting existing ones. Often formal agreements on public-private partnerships are established. In many countries there has been an articulated governmental policy to open up and this has spilled over into the whole public sector creating new images and values.
Collaborative Governance refers to involvement of citizens, the business society, NGOs and other representatives from the civil society at different stages of political processes. These stages are: the preparation phase, where the bases for decisions are created; the decision- making phase itself; the implementation of the decisions; and finally the evaluation of the political action. Impact assessment, monitoring and evaluating the effects of the actions are natural parts of all processes.
Open governance refers to a situation where the entity shares information, consults, involves and even works together with the private sector. This also implies the regular sharing of information by using new technology for communication. Open data/sources means access to information; that information is provided in an understandable way and that the available information is relevant to citizens and businesses.
This topic is looking for innovative, unique and brave showcase projects based on how public administrations are opening up towards the civil society and could include cases based on a new information policy, constructions for new ways of consultation with citizens or businesses, direct involvement in decision-making processes and the management of public services and goods.
THEME 3 - Going Green: Concrete Solutions from the Public Sector
In the EU, the concept of “sustainable development” has heavily influenced the latest ideas on Europe 2020. The notion of “sustainable growth” and “green technologies” will be a focus of the EU’s future development strategy for the coming decade.
Already today, ambitious policy objectives range from CO2 reductions to halting the loss of biodiversity. These objectives are translated into the latest changes of the “green” acquis of the EU, with more than 200 directives or regulations. Public administrations at all levels play a crucial role in the enforcement of environmental legislation. Some administrations have responded to this implementation challenge with concrete and innovative ideas and practices. EPSA 2011 seeks to present these innovative practices in enforcement of environmental legislation. In addition, public administrations are playing a decisive role in innovative solutions for their own environmental management and procurement practices, etc. In policy fields such as waste, water, renewable energy, energy efficiency and biodiversity, “green” innovative instruments are being developed at all levels. EPSA 2011 will invite administrations to present their concrete contributions to make sustainability a reality.
This topic is looking for showcase projects based on innovative practices in the enforcement of EU legislation by public administrations (e.g. a special local project on waste collection), as well as innovative examples of environmental management by public administration (e.g. internal practices, procurement, awareness raising, etc.).