Smart public service delivery

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

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

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.

The pressures on public finances currently faced by public administrations across Europe are severe though not unique. For example, the United Kingdom in the 1970s, Ireland in the 1980s and Sweden and Canada in the 1990s faced very painful choices with regard to stabilising public finances.

But what is unprecedented in modern times is the number of European public administrations simultaneously facing these pressures. The recognition of the existence of a crisis in public finances was provoked by the financial contributions needed to stabilise the financial services sector, though in fact there has been an underlying trend towards gradually less sustainable public finances over the past decade arising from some of the factors highlighted above, such as an ageing population, a diminishing working population and increasing competitive pressures from outside Europe. These are in addition to other pressures facing public administrations, such as the need to make governments more responsive to society’s needs and demands, and the need to (re-)establish trust between citizens and public administrations. Furthermore, it is widely recognised that there are limits to the extent to which tax increases can be used to stabilise the public finances.

As might be expected in such circumstances, the responses of European public administrations have varied in their scope, scale, nature and effectiveness. However, the need to respond effectively has never been greater - what is at stake here is the preservation of the means to support Europe’s social model for future generations. 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 bandoning attempts to address diversity issues? Can they also simultaneously protect employment and promote employability? How will this be measured?

This topic was looking for showcase projects based on how public administrations are responding to these challenges and balancing these competing demands in a difficult economic climate.

Specific criteria Theme 1:

  1. Balancing cost change with change in service standards.
  2. Link between service objectives and measurement indicators.
  3. Evidence of consideration in the review process of diverse service objectives.

Award winners

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Political management based on economic stringency and strategic budgetsSpainBilbao City CouncilLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformTo this end, it has designed a strategy based on an economy in which productivity, creativity, new technologies, innovation, emerging clusters and international networks prevail.

Award nominees

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Change² - Achieving more togetherGermanyCity of Mannheim, Office of the Lord Mayor, Administrative Reform Unit FVA2013Local levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform‘Change²’ includes more than 30 projects, ranging from restructuring of departments, mainstreaming international/EU perspectives to all policy areas and drafting guidelines on leadership and communication for city employees.
Effectiveness in healthcare - Computer system to manage the surgical processItalyMorgagni-Pierantoni HospitalLocal levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThey use a univocal identification of each operative room using a barcode image that is located on the main door of every OR and a univocal identification of each anaesthetic nurse using a Personal Digital Assistant.
Innovation in acquisition, development and distribution of digital learning resourcesNorwayNDLARegional levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningThe specific objectives are to develop open and accessible digital learning resources in all upper secondary education subjects that can be accessed free of charge for everybody.
High technology at low cost in the management of cap subsidies in cataloniaSpainCatalan Government – Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and EnvironmentRegional levelEnvironment, climate change, agriculture (incl. food safety) and fisheryPublic administrations need to advance mechanisms and procedures which enable them to simplify tasks, increase productivity, use resources efficiently as well as keeping material costs down. The administration, as a public body, needs to ensure its objectives are fulfilled at all times. In this project, all these ideas are realised.

Best practice award winners

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Gewerbe-online - An online Platform for all business license mattersAustriaCity of Vienna, Municipal Department 63Regional levelEconomic affairs, competition, SME‘Gewerbe-Online’ is part of Vienna’s New Public Management Strategy for administrative modernisation and development of the city administration into a customer-oriented service enterprise. The project reflects the City of Vienna’s strategic focus on advancing eGovernment solutions, which has already produced a wide range of electronic services for the benefit of citizens and business owners.
Optimal care of patients with long-term ventilation under qualitative and economic aspectsAustriaOffice of the State Government of Upper Austria – Directorate Social Affairs and HealthRegional levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe establishment of long-term ventilated patients care has the following objectives: Medical/nursing/psychological/social goals: since long-term ventilated patients are usually fully conscious, permanent accommodation in the intensive care unit of a hospital would only be sub-optimally suitable considering the psychological, social and medical aspects.
The handheld procedureDenmarkDanish Immigration ServiceNational levelJustice, police, human rights and securityThe procedure is an new inter-organisational way of thinking and has positive effects for users (asylum seekers) and public agencies, as well as reduced costs.
Ambient assisted livingDenmarkFredericia MunicipalityLocal levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe Ambient Assisted Living project began in October 2008 and is expected to be fully operational across all aspects of care by the end of 2011. The overall result constitutes a total saving of approx. MyPage - Joint development and reuse of key infrastructure components resulting in cost saving and a better, more personal, user experienceDenmarkNational IT- and Telecom AgencyLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe (BDK) MyPage initiative focuses on joint development and the reuse of key infrastructure components, resulting in cost saving.
Tallinn city services One-Stop-ShopEstoniaTallinn City OfficeLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformTallinn City Services One Stop Shop has been an example for Estonia’s smaller municipalities in establishing standardised service portals.
When nature calls! Managing incontinenceIrelandHealth Service Executive, WestLocal levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThis project is one such initiative providing a framework to improve the delivery of continence care by setting up a primary care-led continence advisory service for the local population.
Non principal private residence payments systemIrelandLocal Government Management AgencyLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe project was started in response to the introduction of the charge on Non-Principal Private Residences under the Local Government Charges Act 2009.
Web section 'Mobility & disabled people'ItalyAutomobile Club d’ItaliaNational levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThis web section is only a part of a wider project of the ACI: its general plan is to set up the same section for disabled people on the national website (
Development and implementation of electronic sick notes and maternity leave certificates managememt applicatin systemLithuaniaState Social Insurance Fund Board under the Ministry of Social Security and LabourNational levelotherNow there is no need to visit the doctor again and ‘to close’ the sickness period, submit the certificate to the employer and to the territorial division of the Fund Board.
Bureaucratic simplification of social assistanceNetherlandsDutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom RelationsNational levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsObjectives of the project were manifold: noticeably improving the quality of social assistance services by municipalities, reducing administrative burden for citizens applying for and receiving socials assistance benefits, but also bringing about a change in the culture in which social assistance applications were assessed.
On the spot housePortugalInstituto dos Registos e do Notariado I. P.National levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThis project was based on the analysis of the then existing situation, evaluating the need of each formality associated with businesses in immovable properties, in order to eliminate useless steps and to concentrate the ones which were necessary into a single place, thus avoiding repeated dislocations, saving time and money.
Difain csa - Initial decrease of the current phenomena encountered in supervising children left home aloneRomaniaIasi MunicipalityLocal levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningThe project is a response to the problems of children whose parents are working outside the country, by improving conditions and psychological effects of this phenomenon seen both in Iasi and Chisinau.
KEP - Knowledge-based economy projectRomaniaMinistry of Communications and Information Society, The Project Management UnitNational levelInformation society, technology, media and audiovisualThe KEP is an alliance between the strength of the knowledge-based economy vision and the results already achieved by this project, which put Romania on the list of best practices in Europe.
Get moving towards employmentSpainBarcelona Activa – SAU SPMLocal levelEmployment, labour related affairs and gender equalityThe programme ‘Get moving towards employment’ is part of a city strategy to raise awareness about the municipal resources for professional guidance.
Common shared system for purchasing telecommunications services to be provided at municipal levelSpainLOCALRETLocal levelInformation society, technology, media and audiovisualThis joint public procurement system also has an important impact on local economic policies as it allows the savings to be invested in other actions.
Birmingham city council business transformation programmeUnited KingdomBirmingham City CouncilLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe aim now is to make Birmingham’s example and their ‘CHAMPS2’ methodology the ‘gold standard’ for delivering public sector transformational change, here in Europe and across the world.

Award submissions

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Electronic public procurement platform in AlbaniaAlbaniaPublic Procurement AgencyNational levelotherElectronic public procurement system supporting the automation of all the Albanian contracting authorities.
Re-organisation of child care in upper AustriaAustriaAmt der Oö. Landesregierung, Direktion Bildung und GesellschaftRegional levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningThe Upper Austrian Child Care Act therefore pursues the following targets: ensuring a high quality of pedagogical training, under consideration of current scientific knowledge; improving the balance of family and career to allow the true equal treatment and non-discrimination of genders; supporting and complementing the families in their tasks of education and care; and further development of childcare offers in terms of a qualified planning of demand.
BIS - Budget information systemAustriaFederal Ministry of Science and ResearchNational levelScience, research, innovationBIS makes an effective, efficient and outcome-oriented budget planning possible and leads to an increased self-management.
Parental educationAustriaFederal State Government of Upper Austria – Department for Family AffairsRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformParental education is socio-politically very important. The upbringing of children is a challenge for parents and parental education should support them in doing so.
Upper Austrian family cardAustriaFederal State Government of Upper Austria – Department for Family AffairsRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe Department for Family Affairs issues the ‘Upper Austrian Family Card’ to parents and single parents with at least one child that is receiving family assistance payments. This card offers discounts at organisations for leisure and recreation as well as for trading and service companies.
Teleservice centre of the city of Linz (TSC) - first municipal call centre in AustriaAustriaMagistrat Linz, AustriaLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformIn 2001 the municipal authorities of Linz launched a service offensive with the aim of giving their citizens much better access to the individual services. Based on their customers’ need for information, communication and interaction.
Development and use of a new management system for the execution of major construction projectsAustriaMunicipality of the city of Vienna,Wiener Krankenanstaltenverbund,Technology Business DivisionLocal levelPublic health and social welfare/affairs
Sozialraumorientierung in Graz´AustriaOffice of Youth and Family WelfareLocal levelSports, youth, culture and artThe initiative ‘Sozialraumorientierung in Graz’ has an enormous innovative impact by its commitment to the constitutional principles even in processes of change.
Performance-and quality-based control of services for people with disabilitiesAustriaOffice of the State Government of Upper Austria – Directorate Social Affairs and Health, Department of Social AffairsRegional levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe main project objectives were the following: transparency of cost and service structure; defined quality standards; same price for equal services; and service-oriented granting of funds in the form of service contracts.
Fair play project - 1st business yearAustriaSteuer- und Zollkoordination der Region Süd, RegionalmanagementRegional levelTaxation, customs, financesThe idea is to support new entrepreneurs during the first business year to facilitate them becoming fully compliant partners of the tax and customs administration. Support instead of inspection!
Audio - internal audit for local government organisationsBelgiumAudioLocal levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe goal of the organisation is to organise professional audit services for its members, and to stimulate the transfer of knowledge between the members.
Epso development programmeBelgiumEPSOEU institutionsPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe agreed aim of EPSO’s far-reaching modernisation programme was to adapt the methods of personnel selection to meet the Institutions’ current and future needs in a more efficient way, while remaining true to the principles of fair and open competition.
ITIC - IT Infrastructure consolidationBelgiumEuropean Commission DG DIGIT AEU institutionsPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
European commission job screeningBelgiumEuropean Commission DG Human ResourcesEU institutionsPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe yearly Job Screening exercise has strongly pushed towards an alignment of the planning processes for activities, the budget and human resources
EPrior - The european eProcurement platformBelgiumEuropean Commission DG InformaticsEU institutionsEconomic affairs, competition, SMEToday this platform is available for free to Member States, in Open Source, and it offers direct and easy connection to PEPPOL. This open source version of ‘ePRIOR’ is known as ‘Open ePRIOR’.
Sysper2BelgiumEuropean Commission Informatics Directorate-GeneralEU institutionsPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform‘Sysper2’ is in this context a cornerstone for staff empowerment, administrative simplification and HR professionalisation in the European Commission.
Creating value through shared servicesBelgiumJobpunt VlaanderenRegional levelEmployment, labour related affairs and gender equalityIt is a unique shared services centre, creating value for its clients by bringing them together and putting them in touch with suppliers in the private market, thus creating economies of scale.
Economic support measures for the flemish soil remediation sectorBelgiumOVAMRegional levelEnvironment, climate change, agriculture (incl. food safety) and fisheryIn Flanders, land transfer is the main trigger for performing soil examinations and conducting a soil remediation project. Other than distorting the real estate market, postponing these land transfers therefore has a negative effect on the amount of remediated land.
Introduction of a centralised automated information system for an eDocument flow in the ministry of interiorBulgariaMinistry of InteriorNational levelJustice, police, human rights and securityThe project results address both the issues of eServices’ quality improvement and the ideas of facilitating the eServices’ end users.
Better administrative service through electronic governmentBulgariaMunicipality of Stara ZagoraLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe implementation of the system has contributed to improved efficiency, better accessibility and more flexibility and has led the Municipality administration to make a number of radical changes aimed at improving customer convenience.
Optimisation, integration and setting up electronic management of the administrative and information services on recognition of university education and professional qualifications acquired in the countries of the European region and in third countriesBulgariaNational Centre for Information and DocumentationNational levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe improved internal organisation and administrative capacity of NACID as national ENIC-NARIC centre contributed to an increase in quality and speed of service delivery as well as to the prevention of corruption practices through effective application of the ‘Single access point’ principle.
Cyprus eProcurement total solutionCyprusTreasury of the Republic Treasury of the RepublicNational levelEconomic affairs, competition, SMEIn forming the project implementation strategy they have avoided any strict policy or decision-making actions being transferred to the system in order to fit all contracting authority needs, allowing them to use the system in as much depth as they feel appropriate in order to work on change management.
IssySpotsFranceIssy MédiaLocal levelInformation society, technology, media and audiovisual‘IssySpots’ is an enhanced reality application for iPhone – an illustration of future eGovernment.
PastisGermanyKonrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. (KAS)National levelEconomic affairs, competition, SMEIts mission to promote the rule of law is founded upon principles of transparency and accountability, in order to optimise financial resources provided by the public purse.
IP-Centrex telephone solutionGermanyLandkreis Elbe-ElsterRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformSo, the aim of this project is to switch the telephone system from an analogue telephony system to a Cloud Solution: ‘IP-Centrex’.
Point of single contact hesseGermanyRegional Councils of HesseRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformAt the moment the project is implementing a registration for applicants by using the new German identity card; with this card it will also be possible to sign official documents, which must be in written form.
IPEMA® - Integrated personnel management system for the entire state administration of rhineland-palatinateGermanyRhineland-Palatinate’s Central Office for IT and MultimediaRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe goal of this project is to replace several legacy HR systems with one universal SAP HCM ERP 6.0 system which will contain the following components: personnel administration, payroll accounting, time management, organisational management, personnel cost planning, position management, recruiting, training management, pensioners’ administration and personnel development.
Municipal claims management - The wiesbaden wayGermanyState Capital WiesbadenLocal levelTaxation, customs, financesThe results of the project work should contribute to quality assurance and be implemented as soon as possible. Interfaces between multiple functional areas are identified and optimised, and arising difficulties are communicated.
Market-based control of commercial-near public services by market-based internal cost-settlementGermanyZentrale Technische DiensteLocal levelEconomic affairs, competition, SMEThe city council will be informed about the results of this market-comparison at product level in the course of the discussion on the public budget.
Best practice of alien procedureHungaryBorder Affairs Unit GyorRegional levelJustice, police, human rights and securityThe organisational structure was required in the interest of continuous supply of tasks to rationalise the allocation and implementation of tasks and to make the system more efficient through the new concept of professional development.
Growth-oriented economy development programme of békés county (NGP)HungaryBékés County GovernmentRegional levelScience, research, innovationIts objectives were to promote sustainable development of the county’s economy, enhance competitiveness and the number of addedvalue producing jobs and to increase the quality of life.
Change your attitude, everything will change!HungaryGovernment Office for Békés County, Policy Administration Service, Subregional Public Health Institute Service for Szarvas and OrosházaLocal levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsEmployees’ activities fit the demands of the traditional organisation: they are not efficiencyoriented, and engagement-based self-control is unknown. Changing ‘Clients to consumers’ was not considered by the organisation.
Óbuda-eirHungaryKSZKILocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe Intranet structure offers executives and municipal departments email, printing and safe internet facilities, as well as central management and effective search for information and documents on a virtual, citywide, online private network.
Establishing the ´Good State´ in Hungary - Setting up the capital and county government offices and opening the government One-Stop-ShopsHungaryMinistry of Public Administration and JusticeNational levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe goal is the comprehensive transformation of the regional public administration system on a historical scale.
A small central european town in the storm of the economical depressionHungaryPolgármesteri Hivatal, JánosházaLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe most important success is that the Municipality has no debt and each year they can ensure own contribution to the investments. So they have money for further development and they can perform their public services fully. initativeIrelandCitizens Information BoardNational levelEmployment, labour related affairs and gender has also proved to be very valuable for the more than 1000 staff of Citizens Information Centres around the country, allowing the centres to better manage demand.
Www.certificates.ieIrelandCivil Registration ServiceNational levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsIt was a new and innovative way of providing the service, resulting in real savings, both by using an online solution, and also taking the opportunity to re-evaluate the current business model, designing and implementing re-engineered processes which increase efficiency, which was the main goal of this project.
A fair deal - Electronic charging ordersIrelandProperty Registration AuthorityNational levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThis is an online system which enables the HSE to apply electronically to register a Charging Order against the interest of a citizen in receipt of Ancillary State Support under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, which is better known as ‘A Fair Deal’.
Blended learning in the selection and placement processItalyAgenzia delle EntrateNational levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningIn summary, the idea behind the project is to meet the goals of the training period, both in terms of selection and training, reducing costs and experimenting new ways of training.
Income support for workers of companies in difficultyItalyINPSLocal levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe aim of this project is to ensure that all employees of companies in financial difficulty receive a steady monthly income support, to reduce

the time for payment of support, without causing extra burden on public

Methodology and tools for objective measurement of operational performancesItalyINPSNational levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformSo the gap between the existing and standard behaviour can be measured. Following this approach a closed and immediate link between production quality and evaluation of the existing processing modalities is achieved.
Social shock absorbers 'in derogation' - Regional management in piedmont in 2010ItalyINPS Direzione regionale PiemonteRegional levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsAfter specific negotiations with trade unions, firms apply for CIGD to the regional administration, which examines and approves the demands and authorises INPS to pay the benefits to each laid off worker, according to the monthly application forms sent by the employers, stating the number of non-working hours and providing all other useful data.
Social security - income integration in derogationItalyINPS Sede Regionale PugliaRegional levelotherThe idea behind this project is to safeguard the contractual position of workers from company market fluctuating situations in application of an important principle of labour law
Digit 2.0 smart editionItalyTribunale di CremonaLocal levelJustice, police, human rights and securityThe goal of realising a fully integrated trial via web for criminal cases, in which judges, public prosecutors, lawyers, detainees and parties can discuss among themselves and share documents via the web, without the ‘costs’ of a physical presence.
Individual auction of mobility - Disability aids and household supportNetherlandsMunicipality of SpijkenisseLocal levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe concept of the internet auction is that the MDA is bought at a price that conforms to the market, and that second-hand MDAs which are still in a good condition will be used.
More with less / Meer met minderNetherlandsProvincie ZeelandRegional levelRegional policy and development, decentralisationThe ‘More with Less’ project leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions, impulse to the regional economy and gives the inhabitants of Zeeland a unique website with both information about energy reduction and registering access.
CKI - Coordination and information centrePolandKrotoszyn MunicipalityLocal levelRegional policy and development, decentralisationThe aims of the association for example are, among others, to support the development of initiatives for activation, self-organisation and integration of local communities; to build local partnerships and alliances to solve key problems in the community; to activate local residents focused on the development of human capital, education, qualifications, etc.
Better access to advance payments for the beneficiaries of the polish operational programme innovative economy 2007-2013PolandMinistry of EconomyNational levelEconomic affairs, competition, SMEThe amendment allowed more Beneficiaries of the Operational Programme Innovative Economy to be paid in advance. This, in turn translated into an increase of their financial liquidity, which is crucial for the implementation of projects particularly during the period of turndown in the world and Polish economy.
Increase of the allocation for the action 4.4 of the polish operational programme innovative economy as a ministry of economy' response to negative trends in the economy in the period 2008-2009PolandMinistry of EconomyNational levelEconomic affairs, competition, SMENew investments of high innovative potential. For instance, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development – Implementing Body of the Action, received several requests from Beneficiaries to postpone starting dates of implementation of their projects and increase their co-financing due to difficult economic situation.
Online company / Empresa onlinePortugalInstituto dos Registos e do Notariado, I.P.National levelJustice, police, human rights and securityThis service also allows the incorporation of companies following a merger or division.
... further results