Malterud, Tore Chr. and Heichlinger, Alexander. (2010) Taking the Pulse of Public Administrations in Europe: Outcome of the European Public Sector Award 2009. EIPAScope, 2010 (1). pp. 5-7.
More than a year ago the European Public Sector Award (EPSA) was launched by EIPA and was supported by 15 countries, the European Commission and some private sponsors. The purpose was to bring together the best, most innovative and efficient performers from all levels of public administration, in a fair and open competition. The applicants competed in four different categories, ranging from (1) performance improvement in public service delivery, (2) citizen involvement and (3) partnership working to (4) leadership and management for change. Although it is difficult to compare projects and actions at different levels of governance and from different sectors, some clear trends can be observed which reflect what really is going on in the public administration of today. The award was launched at the same time that the financial crises hit the economies in Europe, forcing the public administration to rethink their resources and budgets for the coming years. This lead in many cases to a situation where a process of continuous innovation was strengthened; thereby countering the argument that public administration is slow, not innovative and that the routines are jeopardising development. A general observation was that innovation is taking place within public administration among the back-curtain of economic restrain, uncertainty about the future and a growing focus on the performance and quality of delivery in public administration in times of recession. Although the demand for changes comes from the citizens and are then articulated by the politicians, the actual move and design takes place within the services.
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