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Leadership and change

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

Performance Improvement in Public Service Delivery | Citizen Involvement | New Forms of Partnership Working | Leadership and Management for Change


The top management of public organisations has to balance the interests of all stakeholders, such as politicians, citizens and enterprises, and their employees. They have a role as policy maker and as employer. Each top manager has his or her own qualities, but in order to face the challenges, they also need the input of other members of their management team; thus using the qualities of others in the organisation in an effective and motivational way.

They should perform as leaders instead of only as managers, whilst being able to bring movement and change to the organisation in a way that encourages most of the employees to want to be part of the movement. For the management this will mean:

  • strategic thinking and vision;
  • high values of integrity and ethics;
  • getting the best from people;
  • making a personal impact;
  • self-refection for continued learning and improvement;
  • focusing on outcome;
  • building relations and supporting teams;
  • and creating shared understanding and values.

Managers have a permanent need to develop their competences, both as individuals and as a team. Due to their very limited time availability and mostly a long period of experience within the organisation, the development of this group demands a special approach; both in terms of content and the methods used.

The composition of the management team also requires special attention, since in many public organisations there is no balance in the teams between women and men, young and old, cultural or national backgrounds. To face these challenges with an increasingly European and even international dimension, a good diversity balance in the top management of public sector organisations is needed. This requires the renewal of labour conditions for a better work/life balance (e.g. working time arrangements) or better communication (more languages or multicultural tools/trainings), which will be of beneft to all in the organisation, as well as to society in general; thus increasing the attractiveness of public organisations on the labour market.

The projects under THEME 4 demonstrate:

  • increased effciency and effectiveness of leadership by training/development activities for individuals and/or teams (measured);
  • innovative pilots to improve methods for self-refection, development and improvement of top managers in public organisations;
  • increased motivation for (permanent) change by good leadership;
  • inclusion of diversity, ethics and the European/international dimension in the top management;
  • the impact on leadership performance of working as a complementary team;
  • the proven advantage of top management creating a strategy, shared vision and shared values by a common process in the organisation;
  • employees’ satisfaction with leadership and change being measured, and successful implementation of results.

Award winners

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Management in Sant Cugat city hall budgeting the strategy: A new deal between political management and politic leadershipSpainSant Cugat City CouncilLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThis project was launched to build an innovative city council on the back of an efficient, motivated and well-managed public administration that is fit to meet the challenges of the future

Award nominees

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
From bureaucracy to service providerDenmarkDanish Immigration ServiceNational levelJustice, police, human rights and securityThe project aimed to facilitate the Immigration Service’s transformation into a modern public service provider with value-based management style and a focus on public service, effectiveness and flexibility
Training for sustainable change - managing human capital at the municipality of portoPortugalMunicipality of PortoLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe project includes: the possibility to engage in higher education; internships in European organisations, which can foster new skills and develop selfesteem; evaluation of individual performance to align the Municipality and the individual’s goals; and discussing and sharing knowledge so that all participants may learn from each other.
Cultural and organisational change in the mainstream of a meta-ethics approachSwitzerlandLausanne Municipal PoliceLocal levelJustice, police, human rights and securityIn order to improve the corporate culture the initiative focused on limiting the code of silence (omertà) and questioning traditional modes of management and hierarchical leadership
Transforming christie services for cancer patientsUnited KingdomChristie NHS Foundation TrustNational levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe strategic objectives are: to improve clinical outcomes, to develop a network of services and an ambitious programme of cancer research, to ensure the best possible patient experience, to demonstrate excellent clinical quality and financial and operational management, to develop a nationally recognised programme of cancer education, to be an excellent employer and to recruit excellent employees

Best practice award winners

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Gender mainstreaming happens in a townAustriaCity of GrazLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe City of Graz is aware of its responsibility in implementing equal opportunities for women and men at all levels and in all socio-political areas
LILA - Change management: New leadership principles and implementation approachesAustriaVersicherungsanstalt Österreichischer Eisenbahnen und Bergbau (VAEB)National levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThus, the ‘figure of eight’ (∞) as a symbol of change management has been adapted and called ‘The LILA Management Principle’ (LILA= Lernen in der Liegenden Acht), in the sense of lifelong learning and change, with the ‘spiral development’ in the sense of ‘bringing life and viability into change management
Inspired by bussinessCzech RepublicRegional Council of the Moravia Silesia Cohesion RegionRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformSince the world of business uses corporate planning as a basic tool for an organisation’s guidance and management, the Regional Council’s team decided to incorporate planning methods from the business sector in their public administration
Strategic planning sytem at statistics LithuniaLithuaniaStatistics LithuaniaNational levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe mission of Statistics Lithuania is ‘to provide society, business, science and institutions with high quality statistical information, necessary for substantiated analysis of phenomena, decision-making and also stimulating discussions on issues pertinent to the country, to participate actively in the development of international statistics’.
Epractice.euPan-EuropeanEuropean Commission/IDABCEconomic affairs, competition, SMEThe e-Practice scheme aims to increase efficiency and effectiveness of leadership by organising workshops where leaders can meet, share and learn from each other

Award submissions

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
We know you too!AustriaAustrian Federal Ministry of FinanceNational levelTaxation, customs, financesThe aim of making line managers aware of their additional responsibilities as chief knowledge managers, and to give the necessary guidance was achieved
Best organisation (BEST)AustriaAustrian Federal Ministry of Finance, Dep. V/2National levelTaxation, customs, financesConsequently, in October 2005 a project was launched with the aim to realise a vision of increased efficiency through organisational optimisation and improvements in both managers’ and staff’s quality of life
A.U.G.EAustriaFonds Soziales WienRegional levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe project’s objective is to be sustainable, imitable, understandable (fairness and transparency for the employees) and self-financing or even cost-reducing
Making strategy tangibleBelgiumFederal Public Service for Social Integration (FPS SI / POD MI)National levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe participative approach to a management plan that is owned and shared by all employees has led to an increase in service delivery, client satisfaction and employee motivation.
A new deal for administrative leadership in the renewed flemish government administrationBelgiumFlemish GovernmentRegional levelEconomic affairs, competition, SMEThe project serves the broader BBB-goal, the vision of contributing in a convincing and powerful way to sustainable wealth and well-being for the entire Flemish population by implementing a proactive and effective policy for citizens, companies and organisations
IEC-SMEBelgiumFundacion Comunidad Valenciana - Region EuropeaEconomic affairs, competition, SMEThe project aims to enable business support organisations to provide energy related support to their regional SME-base through trained staff, and to implement a targeted (benchmarking) process supporting in order to understand their energy performance and to draw recommendations for how to better meet their needs
Zero plusBelgiumFundacion Comunidad Valenciana - Region EuropeaRegional levelEnvironment, climate change, agriculture (incl. food safety) and fisheryIt approaches zero discharge from the production chain and promotes compliance with the most stringent requirements of Directives on Industrial Pollution. Consequently, ZERO PLUS defines a management model for liquid waste (wastewater) generated in the galvanic industry
Brabo: Management by objectivesBelgiumProvince of AntwerpRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformIn sum, the province of Antwerp has taken important steps towards an objective-oriented organisation due to the Brabo programme which is now fully integrated in the province’s regular operations
Organisation-wide implementation of competence management in the provincial administration of antwerp on the basis of a self-service E-HR systemBelgiumProvince of AntwerpRegional levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningThus, this project was launched, setting up a user-friendly software package whereby managers and employees could smoothly retrieve the required information to take control of their own development
Gent 2020BelgiumStad GentLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe project Gent 2020 examines in a structured way various planning systems and planning mechanisms (strategic planning, financial planning, staff planning, technical planning, ICT planning)
Training programmes in the Bulgarian public administration in the context of competencies framework 2006-2008BulgariaMinistry of State Administration and Administrative ReformNational levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe training focuses on their preparedness for joint work with the EU administrations and on adequate capacity building, which is necessary for the implementation
Lappeenranta contractFinlandCity of LappeenrantaLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe aim of the Lappeenranta contract is to develop the city as a service organisation and to ensure the security of employment of its personnel in situations of change by implementing the joint operative measures described in it
Training programmes for top and middle managersFranceInstitute for Public Management and Economic Development (IGPDE)National levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningThe Institute for Public Management and Economic Development (French acronym: IGPDE) is responsible for the conception, the implementation and the evaluation of leadership and management for change training programmes
Junior personnel promotion in BMSAGermanyGerman Federal Ministry of Labour and Social AffairsLocal levelEmployment, labour related affairs and gender equalityThe focus is placed on new personnel, who will be the executives of tomorrow and already have to be recruited today, re-trained and promoted in the long run.
Electronic employee surveyGermanyMinistry of Finance Baden-WürttembergRegional levelTaxation, customs, financesThree key areas are the main focus of the continuous process: administration as a service provider; cooperative management and working together in an environment based on trust; and shaping operational functions
The 'Stair' model: A self-reflection approach for managing change & modernisation within the Greek public sectorGreeceNational Centre of Public Administration (NCPA)National levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformAs a response to this challenge NCPA devised the STAIR (Strategy, Targets, Assignment, Implementation, Results) model, as a change management tool, that can be utilised to effectively modernise Greek governmental organisations
SisvalItalyComune di NapoliLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe Evaluation Board has been founded with the duty to evaluate management performances and to exert strategic control
Plan of improvement for participation in Urban qualityItalyMunicipality of LecceLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThus, a ‘plan of improvement for participated urban quality’ has been conceived in order to improve performance and strengthen the capacity of local authorities to prepare and implement an integrated and shared strategy for urban and territorial development and to raise the administration’s capacity building
The cadastral echographical system of the Umbria regionItalyUmbria Region, Direzione Ambiente Territorio e Infrastrutture Servizio Informatico/Informativo: Geografico, Ambientale e TerritorialeRegional levelRegional policy and development, decentralisationThe project intends to decompose and also reassemble on a regional scale the echographic data held by the Umbrian Councils, through Applicatory Cooperation Process of the PA
Effective management of Panevezys county police headquartersLithuaniaPanevezys County Police HeadquartersRegional levelJustice, police, human rights and securityThrough this project the management of police forces in Panevezys will be much more effective as the police will be better able to deal with new threats posed by consequences of world’s economic crisis.
A process - oriented organisational chart: A new path, reflecting our daily businessLuxembourgCellule d’Evaluation et d’Orientation de l’Assurance DépendanceNational levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe CAF action plan identified that CEO needs to draw up a mew organisational chart with a better overview of its functions and responsibilities
Eureforme - bottom - up leadership for reform and change management in the European commission over the last ten yearsPan-EuropeanEuReformePublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformIt modified its Articles of Association and objective, becoming a ‘bottom-up network to improve the management in the Commission’.
Innovation management office - im officePan-EuropeanEuropean Parliament, DG ITECPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformIts main mission is to contribute to the efficient functioning of the European Parliament through the introduction of high-performance IT tools, services and processes aiming to achieve competitive advantages for the institution, maintain its political position and capacity in the EU’s legislative triangle and to reinforce its democratic legitimacy vis-à-vis the European citizens
From (RE) - organisation to the virtual secretariatPortugalInstituto Politécnico de LeiriaRegional levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningThe effects of this reorganisation were to move from autonomous services to a single decentralised joint service in the different schools or campus
Improving performance of civil servantsRomaniaInstitution of Prefect Bihor CountyLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe main objective of the project was mentioned in the Multi-annual Plan for Modernisation of Bihor County, Prefect Institution: Better Management of Human Resources
Performance management in the competition councilRomaniaRomanian Competition CouncilNational levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe project identified the links between performance and career development, organisation’s strategy, prioritisation of the tasks, and last but not least, team-building
The management of career in public administrationRomaniaThe Prefect Institution of Harghita CountyRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformDuring the project 40 students, from the eight high schools in Miercurea Ciuc, participated in two training sessions which allowed them first of all, to change their attitude regarding the active implication in preparing for a professional career in a public function
The impact of implementing quality management in higher educationRomaniaUniverisity Ovidius of Constanta, Faculty of Law and Public AdministrationLocal levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningThis project intends to assist public managers from the education system to approach some principles called Strategic Quality Management in Education (SQME)
Pilot project for personalised development of management competenciesSpainAndalusian Institute of Public Administration - Junta de AndalucíaRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe programme concluded with an evaluation to assess the results of the work and enable each person to produce a longer term personal development plan
Knowledge management experience and communities of practice networkSpainCentre for Legal Studies and Specialised Training of CataloniaRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformIn the last three years, a Knowledge Management project has been put into practice in the area of Justice administration under the Catalan government, the Generalitat of Catalonia
Observatory of local governmentSpainFundació Carles Pi i SunyerLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformIts main objectives are to supply information to other levels of government to facilitate the design and evaluation of regulations and public policies, to provide data in order to improve the management of local bodies, and to promote research into local government and administration via empirical methodology based on comparative data
The management strategy of fundación comunidad Valenciana - región EuropeaSpainFundación Comunidad Valenciana - Región Europea (FCVRE)Regional levelFCVRE was created to help this transition, in order to inform the stakeholders about how to follow European legislation and obtain new funds for direct participation
Continuous learning - leadership routeSpainServicio Publico De Empleo Estatal (State Public Employment Service)Regional levelEmployment, labour related affairs and gender equalityThe project is part of a new culture in the organisation, which focuses on quality and understands this to be continuing improvement