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Call for Applications: 17 January-25 March 2011

THEME 2 "Opening Up the Public Sector Through Collaborative Governance"





OBJECTIVE OF THE CALL

The European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) - mandated by its Board of Governors and with the institutional and financial support of 11 European countries and the European Commission - invites applications to the third European Public Sector Award - EPSA 2011. The EPSA 2011 will be awarded on the occasion of a high-level event on leading-edge public administration solutions, which will be held on 15-17 November 2011 in Maastricht (NL), under the auspices of the Polish Presidency. This event thus presents a unique opportunity for European administrations with innovative performance and achievements to reach an extensive audience and to be recognised as being leading edge at the European level.



GENERAL BACKGROUND

Against the background of a rapidly changing social, economic and environmental context in the 21st Century, EPSA contributes to the progress of the performance of public administrations by highlighting exemplary models of proactive approaches that address Europe's most pressing public concerns, whilst providing a platform for the public sector innovators behind these cases to disseminate their achievements

The aftermath of the financial and economic crisis poses a true challenge not only to the private sector but also to the public sector. Furthermore, in alignment with the EU 2020 strategy, local, regional, national as well as European public administrations are expected to meet the ambitious vision of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for the future of the European Union. It is therefore even more important to highlight and reward public excellence in administrations that are finding innovative responses in times of budgetary constraints and are succeeding in delivering outstanding public services.

EPSA will reward those projects which address European public sector challenges and are crucial drivers for change in the way that public administrations function in the 21st Century. In turn, these projects will provide an insight into proactive approaches of hundreds of public administrations facing current challenges such as climate change, the supply and sources of energy, demographic change, rising unemployment and social exclusion.

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.



SPECIFIC CONTEXT OF THE TOPIC

Involvement of the civil society is necessary for providing effectiveness, output orientation, cost efficiency and ownership in a society with growing complexity and increasing social demands. This has been especially relevant as a result of demographic changes and continuous cuts in public investment (especially in the most ‘sensitive' areas of intervention, such as social care, education, communication, etc.). By using collaborative tools the citizens' and businesses' trust in politics will increase.

All levels of public administrations all over Europe have developed new institutional structures and created new policy frameworks to promote trust and transparency in governments, to enhance and facilitate access to information, to create spheres of public consultation and to ultimately engage the civil society in making policy decisions.

Collaborative governance aims, amongst others, to: enhance openness, transparency and accountability of government and administrations - in itself prerequisites in a democratic society; share information, knowledge and experience in order to create ownership; enable dialogue and consultation between administrations and civil society in order to find the best solutions; create instruments for feedback and evaluation on governmental and public administrative decision making in order to find the best solutions; and finally facilitate citizen involvement in debating, discussing and deciding within decision-making processes.

In effect, we are looking for showcase projects that attempt to adapt private sector models of consumer involvement in policy planning and delivery, but which also build on concepts of "open government" and "active citizenship", ultimately allowing citizens to engage in the planning and delivery of public services. Essential questions such as: How and to what extent are citizens, civil society, administrators and politicians involved in the process and/or system? How can their satisfaction with the process and/or system be measured? What is the level of actual efficiency achieved? What are the costs versus the benefits of a new approach compared to any traditional methods/processes?

Innovation takes place in all sectors and in all levels of governance in order to deliver more services and more effective administration for less money. An essential tool is to open the public sector by using different measures. We can therefore foresee applications from a number of specific entities all reflecting their special needs and the framework within which the entity works.

Such open data can be related to the distribution of goods and services, the financing of public services, the organisation of the deliveries and interaction between levels and sectors. In many cases this will be financial information or administrative requirements.


WHAT PROJECTS/CASES TO SUBMIT?

Projects under THEME 2 should demonstrate and contain elements of proven evidence on one of the following sub-topics:

• Match between the involvement objectives and those of the policy area;
• Demonstrate that the new way of working in collaboration contributes tangibly to the service delivery objectives;
• Justify the financial and human resources devoted to the actions;
• Make it obvious that the involvement of the civil society is a better alternative than closed governance;
• Describe evidence that the new way of working justifies the opportunity cost of the resources devoted to the partnership;
• Prepare citizens through openness (access to information and well functioning ICT systems) to take an active part in the decision-making processes.

The applications should demonstrate and describe the new governance arrangements, including the structure of the partnership or institution, the management of risks and clarity of responsibilities for the partners so that it can be of value for other sectors and levels of governance.


WHO MAY APPLY?

All European public sector institutions from all levels - with special attention to local and regional approaches, as well as public sector enterprises, agencies or public-private partnerships - are eligible to submit their projects for the award. Other eligibility criteria to be fulfilled are:

• European geographical origin of the application;
• Compliance with the themes (one thematic area per project only) of the EPSA 2011 competition;
• The working language of the EPSA 2011 is English, thus it is strongly recommended to submit projects in English;
• The lead applicant must be a public sector institution or authority (other applicants - in a consortium for example - can be private, semi-public, NGO or academic);
• The application/project/case must have been in operation long enough to have proven evidence of impact and a tangible result;
• Completed application form;
• Confirmation that the application has been submitted (i.e. notification mail) before deadline (hrs).


GENERAL STATEMENT FOR PROJECT APPLICANTS

It is encouraged to submit projects showing consideration of gender mainstreaming, technology (ICT-enabled solutions) and sustainability aspects. In addition, those projects benefiting from EU supportive actions, such as the European Social Fund Administrative Capacity Building priority, are especially invited to submit their achievements.


ENTRY QUALIFICATION, EVALUATION PHASES AND SELECTION CRITERIA

The submitted applications will first be checked for eligibility. If the eligibility criteria are met, a registration number will be allocated and the project is subsequently subject to evaluation. The project will then be reviewed and assessed online against both the general and theme specific criteria by three evaluators from an internationally acknowledged, independent and impartial pool of experts. The evaluation process subsequently includes a consensus meeting and on-site visits to a small number of short-listed projects per theme for validation and verification purposes. Finally, a jury will select the nominees/finalists and final winners of the EPSA 2011.


4-STEP EVALUATION PROCESS

STEP 1: Individual online evaluation
By each evaluator, in isolation and remotely based. Each project will be evaluated by three evaluators (triple evaluation) (2-6 May 2011)

STEP 2: Consensus meeting
To reach a commonly agreed list of ranked projects per theme - the best practice certificate recipients - and to agree on a number of projects to be verified during on-site visits (26-27 May 2011)

STEP 3: On-site validation visits
To a number of short-listed projects for verification (June 2011)

STEP 4: Jury meeting
To select and decide on the three EPSA winners (one per theme) (5-6 September 2011)

SELECTION CRITERIA

When submitting their projects, applicants should pay particular attention to the following general criteria used for the selection of the best projects:
1. Innovation: novelty of the solution; degree to which the case shows a leap of creativity in the practice of public administration; something different that goes beyond what currently exists;
2. Public concern: extent to which the case addresses a pressing need or important problem of public concern; the project topic is high on the agenda in European public organisations, a critical mass of public sector bodies are tackling the issue;
3. Sustainability: the project shows or describes elements which are going beyond the period of the project implementation/delivery (after the planned and realised objectives and activities);
4. Impact: the provision and illustration of proven evidence, benefits and visible impact; tangible results demonstration;
5. Learning capacity and transferability: the lessons learnt and the potential value to other entities; the project provides the potential for successful replication by other governments; it stimulates improvement in its application and provides mutual learning perspectives.

Applications submitted under THEME 2 will furthermore be judged against the following specific criteria under this topic:
1. Willingness to open up the different phases of processes to civil society;
2. Link between objectives and results, including measurement indicators;
3. Assessment against alternatives for collaborative governance.


EPSA 2011 AT A GLANCE

Official Launch: 17 January 2011
Information Days: October 2010 - March 2011
Opening of Call for Applications: 17 January- 25 March 2011
Online Evaluation: 2-6 May 2011
Consensus Meeting: 26-27 May 2011
On-site Visits to Short-listed Projects: June 2011
Final Selection: 5-6 September 2011
Award Ceremony in Maastricht: 15-17 November 2011


WHEN AND HOW TO APPLY?

The online application period is open from 17 January until 25 March (24hrs) 2011.

The online application form can be found in the "Applicants Area" on the EPSA website: www.epsa2011.eu

Prior online registration is required.

Link to Register

 


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