Parental education is socio-politically very important. The upbringing of children is a challenge for parents and parental education should support them in doing so. Easy access to such education was a specific objective of this project, which is attained through offering coupons to parents. All Upper Austrian families receive coupons for parental education when a child is born, then when the child turns three, six, and ten. No application is needed – the data of the ‘Upper Austrian Family Card’, which contains more than 99% of the updated addresses, is used. Normally, the ‘Upper Austrian Family Card’ is also ordered online. The Department for Family Affairs is already negotiating with the Department of Health about placing the coupons for parental education in the ‘Mother and child pass’ so that parents are already informed before their child is born. In this way, 100% of parents could be reached. The customers have the possibility to receive a personal newsletter every month, containing information on all events in their geographical region. The newsletter can be further tailored: the age of the children and personal interests can be considered (e.g. a customer only needs the offer in their region, for children aged over ten and dealing with adolescence and the prevention of addiction).
The coupons are also an important marketing tool for parental education. Regardless of the great savings, the objectives were reached due to the paradigm shift from expanding organisations to deal with the specific furthering of individual persons/families. Thanks to the coupons, more parents – also those that are underprivileged – are able to attend theses courses and workshops dealing with parental education. With less public spending, this objective was reached. Due to the steady rise in the offer of parental education as well as the high volume of coupons being used, the system had to be changed. The Department for Family Affairs has been searching for a technical solution and now the organisations have the possibility to offer their courses online at the website www. familienkarte.at. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to send the coupons to the Department for Family Affairs (for payment); organisations can use a wand reader (automatic input of the barcode placed on the coupons). The online system facilitates the administrative work: the same personnel now handles 70,000 coupons (until 2009, only 15,000 coupons could be handled). Because of the numerous courses on offer for parents, the Department for Family Affairs sends personalised mailings. The customer decides which information (a special region, interests) they wish to receive. The newsletter is generated automatically from the wide range of offers/ courses, tailored to the needs of the customers. Due to the introduction of the coupons and accompanying administrative measures, the number of parents attending courses and workshops could be increased dramatically (ca. five times more participants than before). The number of offers has adapted accordingly and is now four times larger. The pilot scheme (first version in small scale) was honoured with a certificate at the EPSA 2007. In December 2010, the ‘new’ project ‘Parental education’ (online appearance of the new version on 1 January 2011) was already awarded with the ‘Publicus 2010’ – an award for public administration. In 2008 – before the ‘new’ project was realised – a scientific evaluation was assigned to STUDIA (Study Centre for International Analysis) in Schlierbach, Upper Austria, and in 2009, the study was realised and evaluated. There were 2,500 questionnaires and 30 interviews with experts.
|Award category:||smart public service delivery|
|Sector:||Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform|
|Type of activity:|
|Keywords:||Parental education, coupons for parental education, paradigm shift from furthering organisations to the specific furthering of individual persons/families|
|Short English description:||Parental education is socio-politically very important. The upbringing of children is a challenge for parents and parental education should support them in doing so.|
|Organisation:||Federal State Government of Upper Austria – Department for Family Affairs|
|Level of government:||regional level|
|Size of organisation:||1-25|
|Number of people involved:||1-5|
|EU membership:||EU member|