Report on the Evaluation of EUPAN Stakeholders analysis

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Report on the Evaluation of EUPAN Stakeholders analysis
Report on the Evaluation of EUPAN
Stakeholders analysis
Status: note drafted for the EUPAN DG-meeting in Riga, 11-12 June 2015.
dd. 5 June 2015
Context & aim of the report
Following the mandate given by the Ministers responsible for public administration (Rome
meeting 3 December 2014), and the EUPAN DG meeting during the Italian Presidency, the
task force chaired by Luxembourg, carried out a consultation among EUPAN DGs on
challenges and solutions for the network, and interviewed the European Commission and
relevant stakeholders and partners (international, EU and national). This phase in the
roadmap allows the DGs to have a clear picture of the current state of play of the EUPAN
network and to identify the challenges for the future.
The objective of this report is to present to the DGs the info gathered during the interviews
with the EUPAN partners and stakeholders taken place in April-June 2015.
Interviews have been conducted with EGPA, EIPA, EUPAE, OECD, TUNED and the
European Commission (DG GROW, DG RTD, DG DIGIT, DG CNECT, DG EMPL, DG HR
and SG).
This report complements the reports (full version and summary on the consultation of the
Member States).
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
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Table of contents
Executive summary ........................................................................................................................ 4
Interviews ........................................................................................................................................ 6
Interview with Prof. Dr. Edoardo Ongaro, President of the European Group of Public
Administration (EGPA). ................................................................................................................ 6
Interview with Prof. Dr Marga Pröhl, Director-General of the European Institute of Public
Administration (EIPA). ................................................................................................................ 10
Interview with Thierry Le Goff, Director-General of the Ministry of decentralisation and public
administration (France), President of the European Union Public Administration Employers
(EUPAE)..................................................................................................................................... 13
Interviews with the European Commission ................................................................................. 15
Interview with Enrico Maria Armani, Head of Unit, Relations with Public Administrations,
Agencies and Administrative Services, DG for Human Resources and Security, European
Commission......................................................................................................................... 15
Interview with Ursula Hillbrand, Policy Coordinator, Secretariat-General, European
Commission......................................................................................................................... 18
Interview with Mechthild Rohen, Head of Unit, Public Services, Directorate-General for
Communications Networks, Content and Technology, DG CNECT, European Commission 20
Interview with Margarida Abecasis, Head of Unit, Interoperability solutions for European
public administrations, DG DIGIT, European Commission. .................................................. 23
Interview with Florian Hauser, Policy Officer, Unit E.1., Directorate-General for Employment,
Social Affairs and Inclusion, DG EMPL, European Commission. ......................................... 25
Interview with Carlo Pettinelli, Director, Sustainable Growth and EU2020, DG GROW,
European Commission ........................................................................................................ 27
Interview with Liviu Stirbat, Policy Officer, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation,
DG RTD B., European Commission..................................................................................... 29
Interview with Rolf Alter, Director of Public Governance and Territorial Development (OECD) ... 30
Interview with Britta Lejon, President NEA and spokesperson of TUNED ................................... 34
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
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Executive summary
The relations between EUPAN and its stakeholders range from regular to occasional participation. The
stakeholders contribute to the work of EUPAN in various ways (e.g. delivering presentations, advising, carrying
out studies, providing input for debates, participating in the social dialogue, organising conferences, etc.).
Challenges of European public administrations as identified by the stakeholders.
As external challenges, the financial and economic crises have had a major impact on public administrations.
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Public services are coping with budgetary constraints and staff reduction, while developing quality
services, driving for efficiency and rebuilding the social dialogue.
Furthermore, public administrations need to adapt to societal changes (technology, innovation,
demography, perception of the role of state, and multilevel governance) and live up to the expectations of
the citizens in terms of transparency, participatory actions, efficiency and flexibility.
Building trust between citizens and public administrations could be done by adopting a bottom-up
approach through ‘co-creation’, ‘co-design’ and ‘co-production’.
In this context, public administration should become an attractive employer (in competition with the private
sector) by attracting, retaining, promoting, training and motivating the right people.
As internal challenges, the stakeholders identify:
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the transformation of public administrations,
the necessity to break silos,
to professionalise and depoliticise the public sector,
to adopt a more strategic thinking,
to be proactively involved in policy design and implementation,
to foster horizontal and vertical coordination at the national and EU level,
and to take into account the context when discussing good practices and new paradigms.
Very often, public administrations are not fully aware of their importance in areas such as economic recovery and
digital single market.
Strengths and areas of improvement of EUPAN as observed by the stakeholders.
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The existence of EUPAN
Unique and informal forum/institution/platform
Exchange of knowledge, experiences and
good/best practices
Common tools (e.g. CAF), comparative
analyses, studies and discussions
Rotating Presidencies
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Lack of continuity, long-term/common vision
No clear and tangible outcome and output
Wide scope of topics
Diverse commitment of Member States
Lack of dissemination at the national level
Few interactive and efficient discussions
Not always the right people at the meetings
Lack of a permanent Secretariat
Recommendations on the role and the functioning of EUPAN put forward by the stakeholders.
EUPAN should clearly define its role, its focus, its ambitions, its resources and its mandate. The network should
carry out studies, deliver results and non-binding recommendations, while being a platform for exchanging
knowledge, experiences and best practices. EUPAN should focus more particularly on topics where it has a
comparative advantage.
EUPAN could be the interface between the Member States and other stakeholders. At the EU level, the network
could provide input to and influence the EU agenda because it has the potential to become a trendsetter, an
innovation driver and a source of information for policy makers.
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Regarding the functioning of EUPAN, the creation of a permanent Secretariat could ensure stability, continuity
and effective knowledge management. The network could stimulate more interactive discussions and peerreviews among Member States. The work of EUPAN should be disseminated more systematically at the national
level by establishing links between EUPAN members and people who actually deal with public administration.
Type of output (products, services, etc.) that EUPAN should aim at according to the stakeholders.
The legitimacy of EUPAN lies in what it delivers. A large majority of stakeholders would like to see more
outcome and output from EUPAN. The latter should bring change and could be implemented or able to
influence the work at the national level. More concretely, the stakeholders would appreciate new common tools
such as CAF, comparative studies, policy recommendations, extrapolation and dissemination of best/good
practices, conceptual guiding ideas about ‘good public administration’, etc. Public access to the datasets and to
the results of the EUPAN meetings, as well as to quality conferences could improve the visibility of the output
produced by the network.
Stakeholders’ contribution to EUPAN.
EGPA could contribute by providing scientific support to the development of the work programme of EUPAN and
presenting EGPA policy papers in the EUPAN DG meetings, before publication. EGPA could also offer its
capacity to mobilise European academy and scholarship in order to provide a valuable input to EUPAN.
EIPA advises EUPAN in the development of products and provides services to the network. EIPA could offer
diverse deliverables such as new common tools, comparative studies, research on best practices and knowledge
provisions through trainings for example.
EUPAE could (1) make available the results and products of their discussions with TUNED, (2) make proposals
for the mid-term programme in the framework of the social dialogue, and (3) report on their activities because not
all members of EUPAN participate in EUPAE.
Within the European Commission, DG HR is the lead service for the relationship with EUPAN. DG HR considers
that in terms of coordination and steering, an EU dimension could bring an added value, while the line DGs could
accompany, where relevant, the work of Presidencies on specific topics. The Secretariat-General could share its
experience and knowledge in coordinating over 40 DGs and offices, and drawn from their community of practice
of participatory leadership. The Secretariat-General can also help to identify people in various areas of interest for
EUPAN. DG CNECT could offer EUPAN the opportunity to participate in their e-Government action plan for the
period 2016-2020. DG DIGIT can make its tools available in order to contribute to interoperability and sharing
between public administrations. For DG EMPL, EUPAN could be a forum for sharing information, experiences
and finding ways of working together on issues related to the European Semester and EU funding. DG EMPL
could offer information and analysis on ESIF for public administration, sharing the Commission’s perspective,
ideas and knowledge (e.g. Quality Public Administration Toolbox). DG GROW is committed to contributing to
topics that are related to their priorities. CSRs also provide recommendations on how public administrations can
achieve better results. DG RTD could assist EUPAN on innovation and share its experience in Research &
Innovation policy.
The OECD could become the ‘information centre’ of EUPAN in order to coordinate knowledge, provided there is
an upfront agreement. They could present their work to EUPAN for discussion before publication. Experiences
shared in EUPAN could also be integrated into the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation.
TUNED could contribute to EUPAN in many ways in the context of the social dialogue through studies, regular
meetings, etc., while establishing contact points between EUPAN members and their trade union counterparts at
the national level, and with the International Public Administration Network at the international level.
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
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Interviews
Interview with Prof. Dr. Edoardo Ongaro, President of the European Group of Public Administration
(EGPA).1
The context and the current relation between EGPA and EUPAN.
EUPAN and EGPA have been in contact over many years on an institutional basis, with moments of more
intense and moments of less continued but always fruitful collaboration. Moreover, members of EGPA- in
their role as experts on specific topics- have also been in contact with EUPAN on a more individual basis;
most of the times they were invited by the Presidency for delivering a presentation on a topic of salience for
the presidency, or carrying out an ad hoc study.
Over the years, EGPA has provided inputs into EUPAN debates. More recently there has been, in my view, a
“quantum leap” in the contribution EGPA can potentially make, by making of EUPAN the place of election for
presenting the new “EGPA policy papers on European Governance”, as it happened at the DG meeting in
Athens, and by suggesting a more structured, systematic and continued institutional collaboration between
EUPAN and EGPA. In Rome, last December 2014, a proposal of collaboration between EGPA and EUPAN
was shared, a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This MoU was first discussed by the troika and
subsequently submitted by the troika to the plenary at the DG meeting (Rome, December 2014) where it was
decided to postpone the decision until after the end of the evaluation of EUPAN. The rationale for EGPA to
submit this MoU to the attention of the EUPAN Directors General is to consolidate and institutionalise this
“privileged” collaboration between two institutions in the field of public administration and the administrative
reform policy in Europe.
Therefore, as soon as the results of this evaluation are available – including the relationship with the
stakeholders - and when it will be made public, it will be of course reported to the EGPA Steering Committee
so that a full feedback can be provided to the EGPA steering committee in view of achieving a quantum leap
increase in our collaboration.
What do you consider as the (5) main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
1. First: operating in a multilevel governance system, which is increasingly more and more asymmetric.
European governance has changed, but in an asymmetric way. In the past, public administration was a
national competence, and according to the treaties it still is legally speaking. However, mainly due to the
fiscal crisis that has hit some countries but less so others, and due to the special intensity of
interconnections determined by the common currency (for euro-zone countries), for some countries the
European level of governance has an important say in matters of organisation of the national public
sector, whilst this is not the case for other member States. This creates an asymmetry, in terms of powers
and accountability. Moreover, lack of mutual trust among public institutions across levels of governance
further exacerbates the tensions due to power asymmetries. All political systems have some forms of
asymmetries, but these have to remain confined within a certain range, and to be compensated by an
adequate degree of mutual trust.
2. Second: putting administrative paradigms (sets of ideas and doctrines about how to organise the public
sector) in context. We are no more in an era when one set of doctrines (e.g. the New Public
Management) climbs to the status of the recipe for improving the public sector. We are now in a better
position to understand that a set of prescriptions x or y cannot be applied irrespective of context: x or y
will work or will not work depending on contextual influences.
So I would love to see that we discuss how the new paradigms may have an impact on public
administration provided they are properly related to context. We have to learn from each paradigm but
also to adapt it to the varied circumstances.
3. Third: rescuing and transforming the welfare state. This is crucial because what we in Europe consider to
be of the most important and long-lasting invention to improve the well-being of peoples – the welfare
system - is at risk of being hollowed out or sapped. It is crucial that the future of the welfare in Europe is
debated at the highest level possible. The world used to look at Europe to learn about the welfare – and it
still does to an important extent – we Europeans need to find ways to ensure it can survive in an era of
austerity.
1
Interview was held Thursday 23 April 2015.
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
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4. Fourth: managing strategically in the broadest sense of the word. There should be more strategic action
throughout all levels of governance. This does not mean however more formal plans, this means more
strategic learning and strategic practices, and how to lead strategically public service organisations
5. The fifth challenge is motivating staff (I will return to this point later).
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
EUPAN has become an “institution”, and a crucial one, in Europe. I am aware and well that EUPAN is an
informal network, but its very existence, the level of participation to it, the expectations it raises make it what
organisation theorists call “an institution”. It is thus very important that it will further expand on delivering, as
big expectations are placed upon EUPAN by its many stakeholders – not least the Ministers for PA, and the
peoples of Europe as citizens and users of public services.
There is a huge potential in this network/institution: part of this is utilised but part of it could be utilised more. I
see mainly focusing on clear and achievable outputs and outcomes as the main way forward to further
develop EUPAN. I think outputs are a kind of inevitable. You cannot develop more or be stronger without
delivering outputs, without offering something specific.
And EUPAN could be supportive to national and also EU bodies reformers; when a country or the
Commission or whatever institution in Europe is engaged into major reform efforts, it could/should/would like
to rely more on EUPAN and the kind of supportive environment this network may create around would-be
reformers. Of course, you need the support of the key political actors but mostly the support of your
community – the practitioners (EUPAN) as well as the academics (EGPA) in the field of public administration
in Europe.
What role and what type of output (products, services, etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
EUPAN is an informal, but recognised ‘institution’ whose legitimacy primarily lies in what it delivers. In my
view, it could /should (would like to/ would want to) deliver more than it currently does and be (more)
outcome and output focused.
It could in my view aim at outputs at three levels, and all three are very important and complement each
other:
1) tool–based output level. A very concrete example is the CAF. CAF is successfully managed by EUPAN
(and supported by EIPA) since 2001 i.e. almost 15 years. It is a highly visible output from the network but
it is on the other hand perhaps the only example of this kind. It is time to go back to producing tool-based
outputs, which administrations all over Europe can use.
2) EUPAN is a place for the extrapolation and dissemination of practices. I prefer to speak of “good
practices” rather than the abused term “best practices”, because practices are context-sensitive (they are
good in one context, less so in another one), and the work of extrapolation of practices “that worked” in
one context to apply them to another institutional setting and reproduce the same positive results has to
be context-sensitive. You need a context-sensitive analysis to see what works. You cannot transfer from
one (source) country to another (target) country, you have to extrapolate, that is, to understand the
cause-and-effect nexus determining “success” in one context and help facilitate the adaptation to another
context. Not a mere transfer but helping the adaption to the context of the target country is key for the
success of the dissemination of good administrative practices.
Europe is the place of huge differences in a small – geographically speaking - region of the world. The
added value of the network does not lie in “showcasing” good practices, but always doing so by also
asking the question “what lesson can we extrapolate?” and “how to adapt the practice that works in one
context to a different context?”. Ideally each semester there should be at least one practice to be
analysed, extrapolated and made available to other countries for further use.
3) Alongside the level of producing tools and the level of supporting extrapolation and dissemination of
practices, at a third and higher level EUPAN should aim at producing conceptual guiding ideas about
“good Public Administration”: EUPAN should be the place to discuss paradigms in public administration
and whether they make sense in the European PA of today. This is not so much about a common vision
(there will be differences in opinions based on different values, of course), rather a problem-based
approach: around one particular key problem in public administration, EUPAN could elaborate some big
ideas on how to tackle that problem.
I take an example, out of the 5 main challenges for public administration in Europe outlined above, namely
the issue of staff motivation. You can certainly produce something at the level of 1) tools, 2) good practice
extrapolation; but then there may be also the need to somehow have 3) some important ideas about how to
attract and keep motivated the staff during professional life in the public sector of the European countries,
guiding ideas that may help practitioners / public managers in motivating themselves and the staff.
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Motivating people to work for the public sector and being effective in doing so is not only a matter of tools or
practices: it is a matter of elaborating big ideas. It is practical but based on findings in theories such as what
are the drivers of motivation to work for the public service. At that third level – conception of guiding ideas-,
EGPA could contribute both by triggering the proper relevant knowledge in the academy (the EGPA
Permanent Study Groups are loci of concentration of knowledge and expertise Europe-wide on the various
areas of public management and administration) and by providing the EPGA Policy Papers on European
Governance, which are always linked to specific problems - so the idea of presenting papers at EUPAN/DG
meetings is also to support reflection on these guiding ideas.
Finally, it should be noticed that EGPA is not a think tank producing on request. In principle policy papers
derive from previous research work and are inspirational by nature. With regard to the level at which these
policy papers are to be presented (technical working groups vs DG meetings), ideally, it works both ways –
sometimes it is best to start from the technical level and sometimes it will be more useful to start from the top
executive level, it depends on a case by case [and it will be up to EUPAN to decide how to deal with this and
to seek how to make the most out of this type of input that EGPA can provide]
In this frame we also have to draw lessons from earlier experiences: EGPA used to have for a couple of
years a permanent Practitioners Study Groups (2007 - Madrid and 2008 - Rotterdam), in which the mixing
academics and practitioners was envisaged. It proved to be difficult to blend/ mix practitioners and
academics in a “50/50” ratio. Based on the learning of that experience, we are now proposing this different
modality/ mode of collaboration, i.e. not a blending, a meeting of 50% academics and 50 % practitioners in a
group, rather the idea in the new format of collaboration EGPA proposes through the MoU is that
practitioners are in the driving seat with respect to setting the priorities: what to do and which outputs they
want. Then, before the conception and implementation of the plan (through the MTP), EUPAN engages
selectively by collaborating with EGPA to identify those academics that may bring the proper expertise and
knowledge to tackle the key issues(s) surrounding the specific proposed objective. In other words, EGPA is
at the service of the practice, providing its “wisdom” “before it is too late” (e.g. to avoid to discover afterwards
that certain ambitious plans are not possible to implement: something that maybe is already acquired
wisdom by the academy in that field).A clearer division of labour between practice and academy, rather than
blending, is the guiding principle of the collaboration between EGPA and EUPAN that we envisage:
identifying and carrying out tasks which are complementary.
How do you see the contribution of EGPA to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage?
If EUPAN is the platform of Public Administration Practitioners and policy makers in the field of administrative
policy, and EGPA is the platform of the academy in the field of PA in Europe, (the learned society of
European PA scholars), then this complementarity should inform the collaboration between EUPAN and
EGPA. In a sense, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that EGPA has presented to the attention of
the EUPAN DGs summarizes the deliverables (“areas of collaboration”) EGPA decided to offer to EUPAN.
These were thoroughly discussed during three meetings of the Steering Committee of EGPA and consist of:
1) Scientific support to the development of the work programme of EUPAN: in this first main area of
collaboration, EGPA, through the EGPA Permanent Study Groups, makes its expertise available to
EUPAN for the development of its work programme
2) EUPAN DG meetings as the natural venue where EGPA policy papers are first presented and discussed,
before publication on the EGPA webpage. The EGPA Policy Papers on European Governance series is a
collection of policy papers produced by the EGPA Permanent Study Groups and the European research
projects hosted and supported by EGPA. Based on previous and ongoing research work, the EGPA
Policy Papers are an instrument whereby the academic community may contribute to the policy debate
for an improved public governance and public services management in Europe, across all levels of
government and policy sectors.
It starts from scientific support and advice which is at the core, according to the priorities decided by
EUPAN/the troika/ the Presidency. If there is, e.g., an interest by EUPAN for a development on the theme of
personnel policies, then the Permanent Study Group (PSG) on Public Personnel Policies of EGPA may
provide some scientific support to the better development of the works of EUPAN in that area. If the focus of
EUPAN in a work programme is on the impact of the growth of internet based technologies, then one, indeed
two, 2 Permanent SG, from different standpoints, could provide scientific support to the works of the EUPAN
network during the 6 and 18 months programming period; and so on.
What EGPA can offer is the capacity to mobilise European academy and scholarship in such a way that it
can provide a valuable input to EUPAN. I would like to consider EGPA as an instrument of the European
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
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academic scholarship to provide an input to the decision-making process and help decision-makers to point
out the key long term trends that affect public services.
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
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Interview with Prof. Dr Marga Pröhl, Director-General of the European Institute of Public
Administration (EIPA).2
The context and the current relation between EIPA and EUPAN.
Firstly, I have personally been involved in EUPAN between 2004 and 2007. As German representative, I was
strongly involved in the EUPAN network during the German Presidency in 2007, among others, regarding the
learning team on CSM. We came up with the idea of “the European Primer on citizen-users satisfaction”,
which was a real breakthrough. This tool has been seen as extremely helpful for the network. The role of
EIPA in this learning team and the creation of the product was highly appreciated.
Moreover, EIPA has been involved within EUPAN since the very beginning. The Institute has acted as a
think tank and as an advisor to EUPAN through the Troika, the EUPAN working groups, the mid-term
programme, etc. Alongside this advisory role, EIPA has very often been tasked with the production of notes
and studies upon demand of the Member States, as well as the preparation of conferences, and with
chairing the working groups.
What do you consider as the (5) main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
I have identified five main challenges that public administration is currently facing and will most probably face
in the near future.
The first challenge deals with the financial constraints, which lead to a constant drive for efficiency. Even
though the economic situation is slowly improving in many EU Member States, further efforts are needed to
make public administration more efficient. In other terms, public administration should do more with less.
The second challenge refers to the innovative service delivery schemes. The society is constantly changing
and public administrations should follow these developments through co-design and co-production in close
cooperation with the citizens. By changing mind-set vis-à-vis citizens, innovative service delivery schemes
lead to a different interaction with them, characterised by further involvement and consultation. This will allow
public administrations to increase their efficiency and quality. Public administration cannot afford to deliver
services of the past. It is necessary to bring the citizens into the equation. A good example is the winner of
the European Public Sector Award in 2013. Indeed, in Finland, due to financial constraints, the prize-winning
region Lapland is successfully addressing the challenges of stable rural development and well-being of
citizens by better coordination of available resources and better involvement of stakeholders, public and
private institutions. Furthermore, innovative delivery schemes present the advantage of building trust among
citizens and public administrations.
This brings me to the third challenge that is transparency, open government and empowerment of citizens.
These aspects are inherent to our democratic systems and respond to the increasing demand from citizens
to have access to information and to documents. Italy, as another winner of the European Public Sector
Award 2013, illustrates this argument. The Italian government has introduced transparency measures that
affect public administration, in order for citizens to hold their authorities accountable.
The fourth challenge I have identified is linked to the reduction of the number of staff in public administration
and to the current developments in the before-mentioned society, which requires new competences of civil
servants. Therefore, public administration should invest in training to attract new talents and profile itself as
an attractive employer. Existing competences of civil servants should be updated and enhanced by further
investing in continuous education. EIPA is contributing and will contribute in the future to reinforcing the
acquisition of new competences and skills for public administration.
The fifth challenge is related to the policy design and implementation. A more proactive involvement of public
administration in the policy cycle, both horizontally (e.g. discussion with different services and different
colleagues) and vertically (e.g. dialogue with hierarchy or political authorities) is needed.
2
Interview conducted on 29 April 2015.
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Public administration should overcome silo thinking. Co-production and co-design are important elements.
This demands new competences and attitudes of civil servants.
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
I would like to start by highlighting the strengths of EUPAN. First, the existence of EUPAN per se is a major
asset. Indeed, EUPAN is the only network of DGs on public administration reforms in Europe and as such,
the position of EUPAN is unique.
Second, its informal character and the open mind-set that exist within the network allow its members to
exchange their experiences, raise questions, present their work and discuss freely issues of common
interest.
Third, I would like to highlight the quality of materials produced by EUPAN, such as comparative analyses
and studies, as well as the aspect of benchmarking. In that regard, the greatest achievement and success of
EUPAN is certainly CAF as a common concept and tool for public administration.
Finally, the rotation principle can be seen as a strength as it gives the possibility to Member States to share
responsibility on an equal basis and to build competence by learning and setting the agenda.
Alongside these major strengths, some aspects and areas of EUPAN could be further improved.
Within the network, I have witnessed a large diversity of commitment from the Member States towards
EUPAN, which could be explained by various reasons (priorities of the representatives, economic situation of
the country, etc.).
This last aspect brings me to the weak financial allocation of the network. Although the rotating Presidency
can be seen as an opportunity, activities of the network are very much dependent on resources and the
ambition of the Presidency country.
When it comes to the organisation of the network, the discussions and exchanges at meetings are not
always organised in the most efficient way. This includes for instance the time allocated to the interventions,
but also the fact that national experts on public administration are not always present in these meetings.
Furthermore, meetings could be organised in such a way that participants report to their Member State and
bring back a practical tool which could fuel public administration at the national level.
This brings me to my next point that refers to the common products and tools. Indeed, after the decision on
CAF, I regret that no other common tools have been developed by EUPAN. We need new common products
and innovative practical tools, such as CAF!
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level?
Regarding the role of EUPAN, especially on issues related to the public administration reforms, I would give
a two-fold answer to this question.
Firstly, at the European level, EUPAN should become the trendsetter in public administration reform in
Europe. The network should be seen also as an innovation driver and a source of information for policy
makers on this particular topic. In addition, thanks to its informal nature, EUPAN should be a platform for
benchmark and reference where Member States can learn from each other and give their feedback on
reform programs. EUPAN should also be a source of comparative overview and become a knowledge
centre, while providing input on strategic planning on reforms.
Secondly, at the national level, EUPAN could be a dissemination channel for European developments within
the Member States. EUPAN should also provide a context for bilateral consultation and bilateral exchanges.
Furthermore, the comparative analyses of EUPAN could be used to inspire and feed the development of
work plans at the national level, and in turn, EUPAN could gain input on national strategies and practices.
What would be your recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus, etc., based
upon your experience with Member State networks?
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
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First, a stronger promotion and dissemination of information on the results and findings of EUPAN at national
and European level is crucial in order to increase awareness and to make use of this precious knowledge in
the various ministries.
Second, it is of crucial importance for the future of public administration to take initiative and decide (also in
sub-groups) on a new common product or a methodology on topical issues such as open government,
innovative service delivery, administrative capacity building, social responsibility, etc.
Third, it is necessary to increase the development of comparative research on crucial issues in order to
provide both result-oriented benchmarks and bench learning. This would provide guidelines and support for
the elaboration and implementation of reform policies.
Fourth, a stronger financial basis is needed (perhaps in co-financing with the EC) in order to ensure the
sustainability and the usefulness of the network, while providing adequate results and strengthening highlevel interest in the network.
Fifth, for a stronger coordination and result-oriented network, it might be useful to install a permanent
EUPAN Secretariat.
Finally, the EUPAN meeting agenda could be further innovated in order to foster focused discussions and
exchange of views, while coming up with concrete products, experiences or ideas that could be useful at the
national level.
What type of output (products, services, etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
As mentioned earlier, the added value of EUPAN relies on its capacity to carry out comparative studies and
to develop common products such as methodologies, guidelines and evaluation tools.
Furthermore, the network could strengthen its legitimacy and credibility by providing recommendations on
public administration issues.
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage?
EIPA envisages its relationship with EUPAN as a service provider to the network, based on EIPA’s special
mission to support public administration in Europe in the process of European integration. EIPA is in principle
ready to plan a more proactive role in knowledge management and regarding the updating of the website,
upon demand of EU Member States, in order to overcome the deficiencies based on the decentralised
approach.
In addition, EIPA is a partner and an advisor of EUPAN in the development of work plans and products.
What type of deliverables would you like to offer EUPAN?
EIPA could offer diverse deliverables to EUPAN, such as comparative research and studies, carrying out
research on best practices through CAF and EPSA, and offering knowledge provisions through trainings,
planning and organisation of conferences.
EIPA can also make a valuable contribution to the network by developing new methodologies and guidelines
in crucial reform initiatives like CAF, customer satisfaction measurement, ACB toolbox and guidelines.
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
12
EUPAE
Interview with Thierry Le Goff, Director-General of the Ministry of decentralisation and public
administration (France), President of the European Union Public Administration Employers
(EUPAE).3
The context and the current relation between EUPAE and EUPAN.
There is a historical link between EUPAE and EUPAN. In 2001, EUPAN was in favour of the Belgian initiative
to create EUPAE, supported more particularly by France and Germany. Nowadays, 11 countries are
members of EUPAE and 5 countries are observers.
Currently, France is holding the Presidency of EUPAE and we have been extremely involved in the social
dialogue. This is a very important year for us, especially because our current Minister for Public Service is
very actively involved in the social dialogue at both the European and national level.
The Comité Sectoriel de Dialogue Social (CSDS) (in English: Sectorial Social Dialogue Committee) was
created in 2010-2011 as a concrete result of exchanges within EUPAN. In this framework, we are currently
involved in the discussions on the right to information and consultation of civil servants. Nowadays, there are
a set of European Directives for the private sector which aims at informing and consulting employees of the
private sector in certain circumstances such as important reforms. The issue at stake is how we could
transpose this Directive to the public sector. We are currently working within the CSDC in order to agree on a
text with the European social partners. This text would set the minimal rules for information and consultation,
instead of transposing directly the existing Directive from the private sector to the public sector.
What do you consider as the main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
Firstly, in the context of transformation of public administration and budgetary constraints, the public
administration needs to adapt to these changes. These adaptations go also through the social dialogue,
which is a key ingredient of the performance of public administrations. The public sector should be able to
inform and consult its employees so that they can be associated in these changes, rather than being
passively affected by them.
Secondly, the challenge for EUPAE is to bring these important issues at the European level. Common
challenges need common solutions. Although the context and the implementation of policies may vary, the
objectives and goals of the public services are similar across Member States. However, finding common
solutions to these common issues (e.g. quality of work life, information of agents, etc.) remains a challenge.
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
The main strengths of EUPAN are linked to the existence of the network. It is a great opportunity for EUPAE
to have access to this network, to exchange information, knowledge and experiences. The informal character
of EUPAN is also a major asset.
Furthermore, we can see with EUPAE and the CSDC that there is a ‘two-speed Europe’ between members
who are in and countries who are out of the network. We are trying to include as many countries as we can
and would be glad to involve in EUPAE other countries that participate in EUPAN. Joining EUPAE would be
a major asset for these countries because we work on concrete issues and on legal texts which might
become legally binding for all EU Member States (e.g. potential Proposal for a Directive from the
Commission on the right to information and consultation in the public sector).
However, issues related to the social dialogue should be more frequently discussed within EUPAN. Also,
current issues and European subjects (e.g. European Semester) that affect Member States should be further
discussed.
3
Interview conducted on 6 May 2015.
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
13
EUPAE
There are other areas for improvement such as a better structuring of the network, the establishment of a
permanent Secretariat (which does not necessarily hinder the informal character of EUPAN) that could better
organise the website and manage the knowledge of the network (i.e. keeping the history and the memory of
EUPAN alive).
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level? What would be your
recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus … based upon your experience with
Member State networks?
If EUPAN wants to play a bigger role in the social dialogue, a better articulation should be found between
EUPAN and EUPAE, which gives the possibility for EUPAN members to be better informed about what is
going on in EUPAE. EUPAN could take into account the issues discussed within EUPAE in order to reach a
greater audience and extend the involvement of its Member States.
EUPAN could also play an important role as a think tank that carries out studies, delivers results and
proposes recommendations. Given the informal nature of EUPAN, the results and recommendations could
also be informal and non-binding.
What type of output (products, services etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
During EUPAN meeting, we would be happy to participate as EUPAE - and not via the Member States of
EUPAE as it is the case now - in the second day where TUNED is present. The results of the second day
could be more accessible and visible.
As EUPAE, we need to meet quite frequently in order to build our position. We are also thinking of
establishing a secretariat or a website for this purpose, but EUPAN could help us by providing a framework
where EUPAE could meet in order to consolidate our position. For instance, a EUPAE meeting could be
officially organised within EUPAN or the day before the EUPAN meeting takes place.
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage? What type of
deliverables would you like to offer EUPAN?
EUPAE would be happy to make available or present to EUPAN the results and products of our discussions
with TUNED (e.g. joint presentation on HR strategy, our framework agreement on the quality of public
services, gender pay gap, etc.). The social dialogue requires a lot of work and patience, but we achieve also
concrete results.
EUPAE could also make proposals for the mid-term programme of EUPAN, especially in the framework of
the social dialogue.
We contribute and will continue contributing to EUPAN in many ways by reporting on what we do because
not all members of EUPAN are participating in EUPAE. We also associate EUPAN to our work in the
framework of the social dialogue.
Summary / discussion note – DG meeting Riga - June 2015
14
Interviews with the European Commission
Interview with Enrico Maria Armani, Head of Unit, Relations with Public Administrations, Agencies
and Administrative Services, DG for Human Resources and Security, European Commission
in the presence of Cristina Morariu, Desk Officer. 4
What do you consider as the (5) main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
Are we talking about the challenges of the public administration or the challenges of the State? Bearing in
mind that the administration is supposed to serve the state, are the challenges the same? This led me to
identify two challenges.
The first challenge that every Member State is facing today is a society that is changing (transparency, social
media, etc.) in a changing world (globalization, crisis, etc.). As a result citizens are on the one hand
increasingly demanding and have high expectations while on the other hand they put in question the ability
of their leaders to address the challenges put by the new context. In an increasing number of countries, a
widespread mistrust seems to raise, which is reflected in the results of elections in many Member States
where "anti-system" movements gain an increasing weight. When political leaders get to power (be they
"traditional" or "anti-system") they must modernize the image of the State and, hence, the image of the public
administration. But, administrations are often perceived as being very conservative and very reluctant to
change. The challenge is therefore whether the public administration can adapt to the requirements of the
new political leaders.
The second challenge is linked to the fact that the administration has, as client, the citizens. These citizens
accept less and less an administration that is perceived as inefficient and overprotected. In other words,
citizens ask for an administration that is more transparent, more flexible, more responsive to changes and a
more dynamic (including more prone to risk taking).
If the administrations want to cope with the new challenges, they have to behave more and more as service
providers who serve clients (just like private sector operators), although dealing with competences that
clearly belong to the public authority. Of course, the public administrations cannot be just like private sector
operators because they are different in essence. However, many behaviors and tools could be closer to the
private sector standards. Digitalization is a clear example. You cannot ask to the citizens to include the same
data ten times because they are facing ten administrations. Another example is accountability: citizens are
less and less prone to blindly trust their administrations: they want to be able to check.
These are in my view the biggest challenges for all public administrations, including for countries that
perform better.
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
My feeling is that EUPAN today has a rather limited added value, especially having regard to the resources
invested in it. The output seems to be not always sufficiently tangible. Therefore it has not always given rise
to effective practical implementation in member States or influence the work at the national level. At a time
where budgetary efforts are asked from all sectors of the public administration, any activity should be guided
by the principle of "value for money". Therefore, EUPAN should be more able to demonstrate its added
value.
Future of EUPAN will much depend on EUPAN members ambitions.
4
Interview conducted on 26 May 2015.
15
One clear point (that seems to be acknowledged by all member States) is the need to improve EUPAN's
functioning in some areas. Since the point is widely shared by member States, I will not elaborate…
Maybe just one word on MTP. In my view, the reason why MTP sometimes fails to be fully in line with the
needs is linked to the fact that it is not rolling. It might suffer from the same weakness as the well-known
‘plans quinquennaux’ where the authorities decided in advance what would be the needs in the future. This
approach used to work in the past but does not seem to function anymore in a changing world like ours. So
in my view the MTP could be rolling and the scope could be less wide. So less topics, but more follow up on
these topics. Less presentations, more discussions and exchange of information, where the Member States
can learn about the best practices.
As concerns other (potential) ambitions, there seems to be a mismatch between the guidance given by the
Ministers in Rome and the answers given by a number of Member States to the questionnaire. The starting
point was that (in many countries) many of the competences required linked to public sector modernization
responded to different Ministries and that there seems to be little coordination among these services. The
Commission made clear in Rome that it will make an effort to break the silos and called Member States to do
the same. The Ministers acknowledged that there is a challenge and that solutions should be brought; these
areas should be put together and the level of cooperation could be more effective. In this respect EUPAN
could envisage to play a role in (1) coordinating the several dimensions at national level and (2) coordinating
them at European level. However, it seems that these aspects have not fully been put forward in the
responses given by several Member States to the questionnaire.
Also, in the introduction of the questionnaire, it says ‘recognizing the importance of the future of EUPAN,
highlighting the needs to develop a shared view’. The Ministers were talking about a ‘shared view’, but when
it comes to the answers given to the questionnaire, all Member States do not give the impression to being in
favor of this approach.
The question to put to the DGs when they meet either in Riga or in Luxembourg could be the following:
There was a clear mandate of the Ministers but the replies to questionnaires made by the majority of DGs do
not fully take into account the dimension of the message given by the Ministers. Should a better alignment be
pursued? The task force of EUPAN was created on the basis of a clear signal sent by the political level. Was
that signal sufficiently heard?
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level? What would be your
recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus … based upon your experience with
Member State networks?
It is difficult to answer this question because it is not up to the Commission to decide on the role and the
functioning of EUPAN. It is not for the Commission to interfere in the work and the functioning of an
intergovernmental body.
When reading the draft report on the replies to the questionnaire, it is noteworthy to note that a large majority
of Member States agree to the option to continue doing what is being done. They also seem to agree that
developing common tools (taking stock of CAF, that was a good experience) is also a good option. But
unanimity stops when the question is about a larger ambition. In this case, there seems to be a division
between countries which do not seem to welcome changing the status quo and countries who would like to
go for a more in depth cooperation.
Is status quo enough? Clearly, even if it is often more comfortable not to change than to change, the
challenges that we have identified before sometimes give no other choice than to change. To this end, a
clear vision seems necessary. From this perspective, in my view, EUPAN would seem to suffer from a
certain lack of steer.
What type of output (products, services, etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
Output will depend on the ambitions (see previous question).
16
In the “as-is” scenario (the only one that currently seems to gather unanimity), EUPAN could serve to collect
and publish standardized data about the Member States. In a certain way, EUPAN could create a kind of
database with the key figures to make the comparison possible. I do not understand why they have not made
it so far, while this would seem to be an immediate deliverable. We have a website where the majority of
Member States say that they do not use. The website could be improved by putting in information that could
be useful from everyone. For instance, we often use the site ‘Government at a Glance’ from the OECD. They
have country fiches but they are not always updated. Why does not EUPAN have the same thing?
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage?
This will very much depend on what Member States want. The Commission does not want to impose its role
in an area that belongs to national sovereignty but is of course available to contribute positively. Also, there
are areas where Member States have far more knowledge than the Commission. I said before that in my
view EUPAN lacks a form of coordination/steering. This is an area where there may be an added value for
an EU dimension (and if this view is shared, experience shows that the Commission can be an effective
facilitator). But it would appear from the interviews that, as far as a stable structure is concerned, member
states seem to prefer a purely technical secretariat.
Another role for the Commission would be to associate more regularly/structurally line DGs. Line DGs could
accompany, where relevant, the topics which want to be discussed by the Presidency because we have the
resources, the knowledge and an overview. For instance, if a Member State considers that one priority is
digitalization, then DG CNECT or DIGIT accompanies that Presidency during the preparation. The
participants in EUPAN could also be adapted to these topics.
17
Interview with Ursula Hillbrand, Policy Coordinator, Secretariat-General, European
Commission.5
The context and the current relation between the Secretariat-General and EUPAN.
I have not been at EUPAN meetings, but we mostly contributed through DG HR who represented the
Commission at these meetings. That has not always been like this because one of my colleagues from
the Secretariat-General used to go to the meetings, but there was an internal administrative and
political switch. Personally, I am interested in and benefited from CAF for which EUPAN was an enabler
at the beginning. We benefited from that and I would have loved to go further. This is why I asked EIPA
to do a seminar with us to take that work further so that it could serve the Commission management.
My interests and contacts have been in the areas we are working on, such as strategic planning,
strategic management, activity-based management and now more and more performance and resultbased management. We would have needed to have access to certain data, but sometimes the reports
on our specific topics of interest or harmonised information are missing. The area of budget and finance
is also an area of interest.
What do you consider as the (5) main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are
facing (currently and in the near future)?
The challenges are to adapt the processes and structures so that they are client-friendly, efficient and
that they actually serve the citizens, enterprises, stakeholders, etc. by making a real difference for them.
In many Member States, we do still have a more top-down approach resulting from history. Each public
administration has a historical heritage of how their administration developed. It is high time for a big
change! For example, the Scandinavian countries discovered that earlier than the others because they
have a different history of democracy. Their attitude is more participatory on all levels and includes
citizens and stakeholders in the process. A ‘co-creation’ is needed. In the business world, this is a
buzzword today. It is an identity and cultural change for employees in the public service and some are
doing it very well. Nowadays, you can see this change happening also in the law-making process. The
law comes from the people is stated in most Constitutions, but that is not always implemented. We have
still too many levels of representation at the moment. The political world is too much involved into the
administrative world. It is a challenge and we have to change this. At the top level of the
administrations, you have a political behaviour and this should be counter-balanced. Public service has
to serve the citizens and at the same time support the political level. So that is one challenge: who to
serve? who is my ‘client’? We need a shared clarity about that. The citizens will be happy with any
administration (including the European administration because we are on the same boat), if we truly
serve the citizens. We still have some dinosaurs in some countries and this is where we could save
money and prevent blockages to good decision-making.
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
The strength is the existence of the network. We need a network in order to collect opinions, get an
overview and get data. The OECD is one way to get it and EUPAN could be another way if information
came more harmonised and would really serve a need. If that worked well, in EUPAN, we would not
have to go and see each Member State individually for certain data or information of practices in
Member States.
We need also inspiration and innovation. We can meet all the challenges if we have a network that is
also a sort of think tank. Those who are most advanced and innovative due to favourable circumstances
can share what they have with those who are still learning in those areas. Diversity is a good thing, we
can all learn from each other, from the different contexts. But, we just need to change the format of how
5 Interview conducted on 26 May 2015.
18
EUPAN is working. Change is not about having three keynote speeches on "how great everyone is
doing". We need to hear about successes and failures, for real learning and improvement. The meeting
format should change; there should be purpose for each meeting (e.g. exchange, innovation, etc.).
It might be that there is not always the right people for each of the groups. The right people who are the
key people for a specific topic should meet, and also the change makers in their countries should be
attracted to the meetings. In order to have change and innovation, we need to go out of our comfort
zone… For that, you need to be able and ready to do it differently. I think we have two possibilities. The
first one is to start from scratch and you might see emerging other forms of exchange among Member
States. The second possibility is to transform the network, but you need the appetite and the people
with the facilitation knowledge to do that.
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in
public administration reform issues both at national and European level? What would be your
recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus … based upon your experience
with Member State networks?
It can become a real ‘community of practice’ where all the practitioners and civil servants exchange and
improve what they are doing. That is the ideal aim of a community of practice.
EUPAN could reform itself and have a more interactive format. You have to jump into the new
generation that has already started. In EUPAN, the DGs could formulate the priorities and the rest the
network could take up the discussion in a more interactive way
What type of output (products, services, etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
There are two types of outcome: a tangible and an intangible outcome. The intangible outcome is that
you create more trust, more connection and more relationship. That helps you because they can
contact each other later on. The Member States who are more advanced will share their experiences
and benefit from it, while the others will learn from them.
The tangible outcome it is that you will have more clarity, more shared clarity of what is happening in
the Member States. You will have a shared purpose, truly shared by everybody because everybody is
asked and contributes. It is also important to speak about the weaknesses in a good climate so that you
learn from mistakes. You need a platform where you can learn from things that did not go so well and
then you document your learning. It is not a blame-shame attitude, but you can learn from stories.
You can also have online conferences, but they can be complementary because the trust must be built
face-to-face.
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage?
It can be experience and knowledge sharing from our part. As Secretariat-General, we have to
coordinate over 40 DGs and offices, to get the shared purpose, to get clarity, etc. There is a lot of
knowledge on how to do that we could share, and also from our active community of practice of
participatory leadership, who have process capacity.
We can also help to identify people in the Member States in various areas of interest for EUPAN.
19
Interview with Mechthild Rohen, Head of Unit, Public Services, Directorate-General for
Communications Networks, Content and Technology, European Commission
in the presence of Jean-François Junger, Deputy Head of Unit and Serge Novaretti, Policy Officer.6
The context and the current relation between DG CNECT and EUPAN.
This Unit is actually called ‘Public Services’, but was called ‘E-Government’ Unit before. The Unit was during
a long time in contact with EUPAN, a contact that was lost completely for certain reasons and was reestablished recently in the context of the review. The role of this Unit is to look into the ICT related parts of
governance and modernisation of public administration as ICT is one of the key enablers for public sector
innovation and modernisation. The E-Government Unit was in charge of running a group with all Member
States representatives called ‘E-Government Experts-Group’ initially. It is called now the ‘E-Government
High Level Expert Group’, an officially registered expert group of Member States’ experts with the mandate
to govern and advise on the implementation of the current eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015, a group
requested by the Member States themselves (in their Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment – in Malmoe,
2009) and chaired by the Commission (DG INFSO/now CNECT). Its mandate is linked to the e-Government
2011 – 2015 Action Plan.
At a certain moment of time, the ‘EUPAN e-Government sub-group’ decided to split off. Member States
wanted to discuss e-Government issues in the expert group chaired by DG INSO/now CNECT – as they
considered this group and the experts therein more appropriate for their discussions. In the ‘E-Government
High Level Expert Group’ eGovernment policy and longer term strategy are discussed and developed
whereas EUPAN mainly focused on exchange of experiences among the Member States without any real
strategic discussion. There seems now only limited links between the representatives in eGov expert group
and those attending EUPAN working group meetings.
Regarding the contributions of the ‘E-Government’ and Public Service Unit to EUPAN, the unit was invited
from time to time to EUPAN meetings depending on the agenda to explain what it was doing and gave some
presentations but did not take part in the discussion.
It seems that the current discussions in EUPAN do not include much on the role of ICT as an enabler for
public sector modernisation, which might explain the silence. EUPAN, especially the human resources pillar,
might not see the focus of their interest on ICT and e-Government discussions – as ICT may only be
considered by them as a tool to translate the paper world into the digital world, once new processes have
been defined (and then the use of ICT may imply reduction of resources requirements, externalisation
activities, etc.). That might be one of the reasons why they are a bit concerned?
What do you consider as the main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
There are several challenges. The first one is the financial situation in public administration. As a
consequence of that, there are transformations in the way the public sector is working internally and
externally in relation with the society at large. Some of the Member States go to the citizens via
intermediaries (e.g. NGOs or private actors).
Another challenge is the issue of trust in the public sector and the democratic discussions, in other terms the
relationship between the public administrations and the citizens. There is a need to re-engage the citizens
through e-Participation for instance.
The role of EUPAN is very important here because these challenges have an impact on how the civil
servants are working (e.g. not duplicating data or services, working with their colleagues and delegate, etc.).
The transformation of civil servants requires new skills and rethinking the process. The link towards EUPAN
6
Interview conducted on 26 May 2015.
20
is much broader than the ICT aspect, which is an enabler for this transformation. ICT is not a purpose on its
own, it is an enabler of transformation of how public administrations are working inside, with the citizens and
third parties but also an opportunity and a driver of change.
ICT is not only digitisation. Some have the conviction that first the processes have to be changed and that
ICT comes then as an afterthought. This is not what we share. Today’s technologies and social media
deliver services in a very different way that it was done in the past. If administrations stick to the past
processes and thinking, they will never arrive at the use of social media or at the delivery of services. The
Commission has a paper from June 2013 called ‘A vision for public services’ where we explain our vision of
open government. The Commission is working this vision out through different activities and programmes
(eGovernment action plan, Horizon 2020, CEF, etc.).
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
The existence of EUPAN in its way can be beneficial. The original scope of EUPAN, a group of Member
States with the Commission as an observer, to discuss issues is conceptually quite good.
EUPAN is good in human resources management and things related to this field and it feels at ease in
talking and discussing this subject. The Human Resources aspect is very important because you cannot
dissociate today the transformation of public sector and Human Resources. It is part of public sector
modernisation and innovation.
EUPAN also has common tools such as CAF, which is a very good piece of work.
Member States state that EUPAN allows them to exchange experiences without the Commission being there
and to be chaired by themselves. But they are not consistent in this perspective: over the years they were
dragging the Commission in, kicking it out, dragging it in, etc.
Exchanging experiences is ok but it seems that there are far too many topics on the table when they are
meeting and discussing. EUPAN should probably avoid covering a broad range and lots of topics, but focus
on where they can make a difference. They may wish to focus on meetings with one aim, one topic and have
all Member States brainstorm together. They also should focus more on what they are good at and on topics
where they can benefit from each other. When they buy in expertise from the outside, the meetings should
be more objectives-driven.
On the other side, there seems a lack of dissemination within the Member States. For instance, if we do
some presentations at EUPAN, it is a pity that this information stays only at the EUPAN level and will not be
disseminated in one or another Member States. It seems that EUPAN also does not really liaise with related
groups in their country. For this review, it would be perhaps interesting to interview also the related groups
within the Member States.
Continuity between the work done by the different Presidencies is missing. Having continuity on certain focal
points is another matter of concern – seems not a priority but it should be.
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level? What would be your
recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus … based upon your experience with
Member State networks?
The question is: does EUPAN want to play a role? Does it want to change its approach of meeting twice a
year, exchanging views and experiences? A review several years ago has not changed anything and
apparently (following recent bilateral talks with EUPAN representatives) some MSs are convinced that the
same will probably happen with this review.
EUPAN should play a more active role where it feels at ease and at home to discuss (e.g. HR, recruitment,
people skills, etc.) and avoid overlaps with other stakeholders. If it wants to have an impact, they have to
show their competences and be good at it.
21
For instance, our current eGovernment action plan 2011-2015, includes an action for the exchange of civil
servants (a sort of Erasmus for civil servants) to acquire knowledge among different public administrations.
EUPAN could have jumped on that and made a proposal to facilitate the exchange of civil servants, but
nothing happened. It could have played a role in that, especially as it is a human resources issue.
What type of output (products, services, etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
All depends on what EUPAN wants to achieve. If the focus is on exchange of experiences, the added value
for the participants may be limited or not necessarily very high. So they should reflect about what they want
to do with the results. The output is interesting insofar as it helps to develop something at the national level.
But this output should not overlap with other groups which have the mandate to take decisions.
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage?
DG CNECT is currently planning (in cooperation with MSs) the development of a new e-Government action
plan – for the period 2016-2020. But, the development will not follow the same approach as in the past (e.g.
not fixed for 5 years). Instead, we are aiming at a dynamically evolving action plan, starting with an initial set
of actions which is then reviewed and expanded on a regular basis – to reflect new needs of MSs and
stakeholders in this quickly developing area, and EUPAN could play a role in that. We want to open it to
other areas of public sector modernisation and innovation – and include a stakeholder engagement platform
for collecting new ideas for future actions. EUPAN could well contribute to these new ideas. We want to do
the enhancing of the action plan, by using online and social media tools. Once EUPAN has decided on what
it wants to focus on, EUPAN could provide, as a group, evidence and data under the umbrella of public
sector modernisation from their angle. So, they could contribute to the new eGovernment action plan by
focusing on proposals for action that are in their remit. We start this process at the end of the year and
continue until 2020. This could bring to EUPAN more political visibility. They would also get more visibility
towards their own civil servants and empower them.
22
Interview with Margarida Abecasis, Head of Unit, Interoperability solutions for European public
administrations, DG DIGIT, European Commission.7
The context and the current relation between DG DIGIT and EUPAN.
DG DIGIT is responsible for the "Interoperability Solutions for public Administrations" programme which aim
is, as the name indicates, to improve interoperability between PAs by, among other measures, supporting the
development and implementation of interoperability solutions.
I met for the first time EUPAN a couple of years ago because there was this enquiry for study cases to be
presented in EUPAN, which was transmitted to me by colleagues from DG HR. We submitted a case and we
presented it to EUPAN. Since then, we have been regularly presenting our work, interesting cases and
subjects we think of a particular importance related to the interoperability in public administrations.
We interact with EUPAN in three different ways. The first way is that our colleagues from DG HR ask us for
input in view of EUPAN meetings. It happens also that the Presidency (e.g. Latvian Presidency) asks us to
intervene because they are interested in specific themes that we deal with. The third way is that we identify
subjects we think are important to disseminate and discuss in EUPAN. We coordinate then with our
colleagues from DG HR.
What do you consider as the main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
In my domain, breaking silos in public administrations is a major challenge. The ultimate purpose is to
improve the services to citizens and to businesses at the national level throughout Europe. Digitalisation of
public services, availability of end-to-end services and implementation of the "once-only" principle, they all
depend on interaction and sharing among public entities.
I have the impression that public administrations are not fully aware of their importance in the digital single
market, in the economic recovery and in building cross-sector, cross-domain and cross-institutional links.
This being said, I understand some of the interventions and positions from the members of EUPAN when
they say that they cannot represent their national administration. This is due to the way public
administrations function. They have different domains, different sectors and there is a split of responsibilities
which I consider personally to be the basis of our democracy. This split of responsibilities is there and must
be there, but it does not prevent from working together and coordinating.
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
In terms of dissemination of information, it is a good and unique forum because it is very well attended by all
Member States. I have the impression that in this forum, the representatives of national public
administrations listen to each other and, depending on the subject, they also discuss and exchange actively.
There are different sensitivities and interests around the table, it is not homogeneous. So, some of them
intervene more than others.
Another added value of EUPAN is that the members are not experts. They have the pure view of the public
administration because they manage it and see issues linked with the staff and the culture of administration.
Their input is extremely valuable for us. Furthermore, these countries have also relations with their
neighbouring countries, which enable a multilateral approach.
One area of improvement I would like to highlight, it is the input and feedback that we would like to receive
from EUPAN. It goes both ways, it is a win-win situation. For us, we need to communicate more clearly and
in a more accessible way. We need to respond to their expectations and interests. But I am not sure that they
realise the importance for us to have their non-expert view and that they can influence decisions at the EU
level.
7
Interview conducted on 22 May 2015.
23
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level? What would be your
recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus … based upon your experience with
Member State networks?
As I mentioned earlier, I would like to receive more input from EUPAN. It would be good to have a better
coordination among public administrations so that they could informally give an input to the EU agenda
through EUPAN. EUPAN is the only non-expert forum, that I know, that could do that.
Although public administration, as such, is not an EU competence, public administrations are impacted by
legislations that are in the EU competences. Some representatives within EUPAN would like to work further
in these aspects, but what we do is for all of them. So, personally, I think we need to keep all of them on
board because the EU legislation applies to all Member States.
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage? What type of
deliverables would you like to offer EUPAN?
There are tools coming from us that are available to help them. These tools contribute to interoperability and
sharing between PAs. Some have been developed under the ISA programme others by other
administrations, national or European, and are made available under the ISA web sites. These tools are
there and Member States can use them. There is a need to disseminate this information. We could also pass
on the message that public administrations need to break the silos, to cooperate and coordinate, to allocate
the resources in order to build cross-domain solutions, etc. and disseminate information on best practices in
public administrations in the EU. On the other hand, and as mentioned above, we would much welcome to
receive EUPAN's input on the needs of PAs. In other terms, the message is that they have a role to play at
the EU level.
24
Interview with Florian Hauser, Policy Officer, Unit E.1., Directorate-General for Employment, Social
Affairs and Inclusion, DG EMPL, European Commission.8
The context and the current relation between DG EMPL and EUPAN.
DG Employment, unit E.1, in contact since June 2013.
DG Employment contribution to EUPAN meetings during every presidency since then (LT, IT, LV) –
presentations on behalf of DG EMPL on ESI funding for administrative modernisation, on the Quality of
Public Administration Toolbox, discussions on the future of EUPAN.
What do you consider as the (5) main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
1) Building trust with citizens and business on the basis of transparency, accountability, and quality of service
2) Dealing with budget constraints, on the one hand, while developing appropriate and quality services on
the other
3) Adapting to changing (evolving) needs/expectations of society (technology, demography, perception of the
role of the state, innovation)
4) Building capacity for achieving 1), 2) and 3) by attracting, retaining, promoting and developing and
motivating the right people (in competition with private sector)
5) De-politicisation and professionalization as a basis for achieving 1 - 4.
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
Strength:
- good that it exists
- some interesting situation analysis and occasional discussion
- informal exchange of practices
Areas of improvement:
- lack of a common vision
- varying interests country by country
- ad hoc agendas driven by presidency, no longer term vision, plan, follow up of previous initiatives (stability)
- no results orientation
- lack of clarity of the role of the COM (as peer, or as counterpart to discuss initiatives)
- consider also the participation of EUPAN members (often these are intl coordination people, rather than
people that deal with the actual reforms or funding)
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level?
- knowledge exchange and development with a permanent base/repository
- forum for dialogue and exchange of ideas with COM
8
Interview received on 20 May 2015.
25
- peer support and cooperation among member states
What would be your recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus … based upon
your experience with Member State networks?
EUPAN needs to reflect purpose, structure and participation:
On purpose: EUPAN needs to justify its existence on the basis of the problem it wants to solve. What is the
value added of the network? Will it create any outputs/deliverables, with a clear value added? Can it develop
a common vision? If EUPAN cannot agree on a single vision among all members, could it at least create
elements of a vision for groups of countries? EUPAN could develop a joint workplan for a longer period, and
identify a number of projects (for example peer-to-peer support/exchange on specific issues) – a project
could be "owned" by all members or only by a certain minimum number of countries, according to
interest/need.
On structure: Currently, EUPAN meet in several fora (technical groups and DG level) in line with EU
presidencies. Any initiative tends to be driven by the presidency and thus ends with the presidency. EUPAN
would need a stable base, for example in the form of a permanent secretariat, which could also facilitate
longer term actions (beyond the duration of a presidency) and focus on sustainability. Rather than just focus
on the meetings, it would be rather important what happens in between meetings. There needs to be a
quality mechanism (with EUPAN DGs as supervisory board) to ensure that structures/systems (e.g.
databases, etc.) are maintained/kept up to date.
On participation: It would be good to also establish feedback links between formal EUPAN members and
"behind the scenes" people that actually deal with public administration management and reform, as well as
with management of EU programmes in related areas.
What type of output (products, services etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
It would be good, if EUPAN could facilitate (through common messages) stronger political commitment to
improving public administrations.
If there were proper structures and working methods, EUPAN could take over the work on the Toolbox as a
form of knowledge management and exchange on building quality public administration, for example in the
form of a wiki.
Certain EUPAN members could request specific support from other (more experienced) members and
receive guidance on a peer-to-peer basis.
Projects could also include developing and benchmarking new reform initiatives (e.g. on experimentation
basis), that would be developed in each (or a number of) countries, and experiences/outcomes being
reported back to EUPAN.
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage?
From the perspective of DG EMPL, as European semester core group member, and coordinator of ESI funds
for public administration reform, it would be good to have EUPAN as a forum for sharing information, ideas,
concerns, and finding ways of working together on initiatives and problems (for example on ways and means
of addressing country specific recommendations, of making best use of EU funding); use the experience of
Member States to reflect on policy performance and development. This requires a good degree of trust
between EUPAN members and COM.
What type of deliverables would you like to offer EUPAN?
COM information and analysis on ESIF for public administration, analysis of ex-ante conditionalities related
to public administration reform strategies; sharing COM perspective, ideas and knowledge (for example in
form of the Quality Public Administration Toolbox).
26
Interview with Carlo Pettinelli, Director, Sustainable Growth and EU2020, DG GROW, European
Commission9
in the presence of Lauro Panella, Head of Unit, and Mariana Ghitoi, Policy Analyst.
The context and the current relation between DG GROW and EUPAN.
The lead service in the Commission for the relationship with EUPAN is DG HR and we follow when we are
requested. We are very happy about our relationship with EUPAN. We attended various meetings such as
the Ministerial meeting in Rome. But of course, I think that it is up to DG HR to evaluate the relationship with
EUPAN because they can assess it for the Commission as a whole. I can only give you my impression which
is quite positive. We are more or less regular partners but it is on an on-demand basis.
What do you consider as the main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
My field is very much specific and the priorities of my Department may not be the priorities of DG HR. For us,
as DG GROW, the priority of public administration is to support the business environment. We have been
very much active on this for the last years. We organised a very big conference in 2013 with the attendance
of President Barroso, Vice-president Tajani and several Ministers. When we meet enterprises and
businessmen from the very small enterprises to the big corporate, they ask every time for having a business
environment that allows them to be competitive. So stability, predictability and effectiveness of public
administration are the priorities of DG GROW. This is of course very peculiar and I do not pretend at all that
this is the view of the Commission.
EUPAN is a network which is very holistic because it covers all the aspects of public administration. So it is
not up to me to say what EUPAN should do. We need to have all together a more balanced view, so we need
a discussion among all the members, inside the European Commission, in the EUPAN plenary and after that,
EUPAN itself will decide about its priorities. I do not pretend that my priorities should become the priorities of
everyone because there are other things that are equally or even more important. I can only explain what my
priorities are.
I also would like to highlight another aspect. Very often, people think that modernising public administration
goes through digitalisation. This is not true because if a process is complicated and cumbersome, you just
digitise it. In my view, we should look at the process, streamline the process and after, you can digitise it. So
we need first the process management and after, when we have a very effective and streamlined process
management, you can digitise it.
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
The strength of the network is to exist because we need something for coordinating public administration.
Of course, as all of the networks, where there are 28 Member States, the Commission and other
stakeholders, there are areas of improvement such as more focus on some issues and streaming the work.
In my personal view – and this is something we can see in coordinating networks- we need to have a stability
of participants. The rotation every five years for instance can be very positive. In some European institutions
(e.g. Court of Auditors), the change of the College is done in two steps. The mandate of every member is 6
years, but every two years they change half of the College in order to ensure continuity. But, if every 6
months, the participants change, this may have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the network. These
considerations apply not only to EUPAN, but also to larger networks.
9
Interview conducted on 22 May 2015.
27
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level? What would be your
recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus … based upon your experience with
Member State networks?
For my domain, it is important to have some informal harmonisation of rules and practices. The internal
market of the European Union is a success but there are still some obstacles because we have still 28
different legal systems and thus 28 legal requirements for making business. There is no appetite for informal
harmonisation. There is also the subsidiarity principle that I fully accept. But EUPAN could promote an
exchange of best practices. Instead of reinventing the wheel, members could adopt a practice that has been
already implemented in another Member State in a completely voluntary way. At the end of the story, the
practical result would be that we have some more informal harmonisation of the legal framework that would
be beneficial for enterprises that want to work in other Member States, inside the internal market, but on a
voluntary basis. So the exchange of experiences and best practices could be of added value for EUPAN
network.
But, everything depends on the level of ambitions that EUPAN sets for itself and also the resources available
to reach these ambitions. If you want to obtain substantial results, you cannot have two meetings per years.
Regarding the exchange of best practices, this is done on a voluntary basis; you cannot force a Member
State to adopt certain measures or to copy a certain model. This should come from a bottom-up approach.
This depends on the willingness of the Member States as part of EUPAN.
As far as I know, there are no similar networks such as EUPAN. In our field, we had exchanges of good
practices for instance on green businesses or on particular topics, but this is not on a permanent basis.
Sometimes we organise conferences for exchanging good practices on some issues, but as far as I know,
there are no stable networks. During the Barroso II Commission, there has been a strengthening of the role
of the European Commission for supporting SMEs. It has been decided to strengthen the role of ‘SME
Special Envoy’, who is currently our Director General. There is also a special envoy in each Member State.
They all meet regularly for supporting and for eliminating the burden on the SMEs when it comes to public
administration. So there might be room for EUPAN to play a role in it, but as I said, the best way of improving
the effectiveness of the network is maybe to focus more on some priorities. It is up to EUPAN to decide, but I
would suggest not necessarily widening the scope but focusing more on some priorities.
Since 2013, the Commission in its documents has stressed the key role that the public administration should
play to exit from the crisis. EUPAN could convey this message that public administration is not just about
Human Resources Management, but from our experience in DG GROW, public administration is a key
player. The more efficient it is, the more it could boost growth and recovery. In the Juncker's plan, the third
pillar is about business environment and attracting investors, but the public administration should be able to
implement it (e.g. reduction of red tape to encourage investment).
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage? What type of
deliverables would you like to offer EUPAN?
Certainly our commitment! If there are topics that correspond with our priorities, of course, we are ready to
contribute.
The public administration is something on which Member States are very jealous because it is perceived as
its own way to arrange its own country. The Commission, through the Country Specific Recommendations
and reports, does not propose how the public administration should be organised; this is up to the Member
States. The Commission is more particularly interested in the efficiency of the public administrations, in our
case towards the business environment. In some CSRs, the Commission has raised questions about the
limited number of days to deliver licences, the days spent in court for litigations, etc. From our perspective,
our participation is to stimulate the achievements and not to enter into debates on how the administration
should be arranged. It is the role of EUPAN to share point of views. As Commission, we would like to see
improvement because we have some elements in the scoreboard assessing the difficulties for companies in
delivering their activity because of the inefficiency of public administration.
28
Interview with Liviu Stirbat, Policy Officer, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, DG
RTD B., European Commission.10
The context and the current relation between DG RTD and EUPAN.
In contact since 2013, contributed to LT and IT meetings; made a presentation to LT meeting on an Expert
Group report on Public Sector Innovation of particular relevance to EUPAN.
What do you consider as the main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
The level of homogeneity in the PAs is rather limited (even within the same MS, let alone between MSs as
diverse as Bulgaria and Sweden when it comes to the modernity of their admins); some of the challenges
they jointly face are linked to rising expectations from citizens on digitalisation, participatory action, speed
and quality of response, and agility/flexibility (of course, all under budget pressures);
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?


Very good that the forum exists, and the tradition of exchange of info and best practices has been
established despite narrow legal basis in Treaty.
For improvement, the biggest hurdle is the lack of homogeneity and perhaps the lack of "teeth", with no
clear counterpart in the EC that can come to the table as peer.
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level?
If the informal status cannot be changed, then simply exchange of best practices, dialogue and mutual
learning
What would be your recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus … based upon
your experience with Member State networks?


make its structure more permanent, with a stable secretariat (perhaps in Brussels) while maintaining the
rotating chairmanship, while at the same time establishing a virtual network for more frequent
exchanges (the OECD's Observatory of Public Sector Innovation is developing such a platform and
could be interesting for EUPAN to explore its use)
draw inspiration from other similar networks (ERAC for R&I policy is an example, although it is formal
and associated with the Council)
What type of output (products, services, etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
Developing common documents (e.g. Charter for European public servants); bilateral/multilateral exchanges
of civil servants (e.g. ERASMUS for civil servants);
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage?
DG RTD has limited resources and support to offer EUPAN, but could be drawn upon for ad-hoc contribution
on innovation matters;
What type of deliverables would you like to offer EUPAN?
Inspiration from R&I policy (where EC has shared responsibility with MSs) as for ERAC.
Assistance
10
with
work
on
innovation
(in
and
through
the
public
administrations).
Interview received on 4 June 2015.
29
Interview with Rolf Alter, Director of Public Governance and Territorial Development (OECD)
in the presence of Edwin Lau, Division Head, Reform of the Public Sector, Public Governance and
Territorial Development and Andrew Davies, Senior Counsellor in the Director’s Office 11
The context and the current relation between the OECD and EUPAN.
Alter: EUPAN has been for us a very important group of colleagues. The fact that 19 of our 34 countries are
in EUPAN, it is pretty logical, nearly a must, to be part of the EUPAN network. We have been invited
regularly, sometimes I go, and sometimes my colleagues go depending a bit on the subjects discussed and
on the Presidency. I was working quite a bit with the Belgian and the Dutch Presidencies because there was
a lot of interest in the way we looked at public sector reform. We have always had a good collaboration and
an open mind. I have really appreciated to be invited there to report on what we do.
It has been a very interesting experience from another point of view. Nowadays, the EU is considered to be
the most important regulator in this world and sets also the tone in international trade. One should never
underestimate this; we see it here in the current discussions about the TTIP with the US. This is not only
about bilateral regulatory coherence, this is also about who sets the rules for the world. I am saying that
because many of our countries in the OECD have a very important view on what the EU does. Since
administrations in all Member States and the Commission are part of this regulatory agency called Europe, I
think we should be very interested in what is happening there. However, the other way around is also true. I
think EUPAN should be very interested in what is happening elsewhere. The very cheap and direct way to do
so, it is to work with the OECD because there you get access to the other half of the OECD and of the
industrialised world. Remember we have access and we deal with all these other countries that are major
partners to the EU. There is an interest that goes far beyond public administration; it goes about the
understanding of what is our role. I would like to make this example very clear. We have here a group, which
is called the Regulatory Policy Committee, and believe me, the Americans are making many enquires about
what is happening and about the regulations set by the European Commission and the Member States. This
process is very healthy. This is not a bilateral one, between the Commission and the US, but there is always
a multilateral approach. So it has a lot of meaning to work together.
We have seen a great interest in some products by both the OECD countries and EUPAN’s member
countries. I would like to highlight two tools in particular which show the beauty but also the problems. The
beauty come very often with the work we do here, more particularly with the ‘Government at a glance’. And
the second project, is the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI). Why do I say that this is the
beauty and also the problem? The beauty is that ‘Government at a glance’ has found a very important
support and leadership from the European Commission. And typically when we are in EUPAN, we talk about
the results, which is a very good point. About OPSI, it was a bit the same thing. But I have to say that to
exploit the full potential, it would be very useful if we could coordinate a bit more what we do in those two
areas. Why do I say that? ‘Government at a glance’ is a very resource intensive undertaking and the impact
very much commensurate with the resources. We have to put a lot of efforts to coordinate among Member
States in order to make sure that the information is correct and that countries feel comfortable with the data
presented. My point is that this should be something that we should be able to present to EUPAN before, as
a regular exercise. It would be helpful because the countries and the directors of the administrations give
another view at it. So there is something that we can improve. OPSI is the other area where I think we are
doing some revolutionary work on public sector innovation. Most observers did not believe that ‘public’ and
‘innovation’ would fit together. This is fantastic to have input from the countries of the EU into it. I would like
to present it a bit more often because innovation cannot be reported every once in a while, it should be done
on a permanent basis. In this field, some improvements have been made in order to establish some good
practices especially by the European Public Sector Award (EPSA) launched by EIPA. In these areas, it is
very important to cooperate and benefit mutually from what is happening.
11
Interview conducted on 6 May 2015.
30
What do you consider as the (5) main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
Lau: It is difficult to talk about a public administration in Europe. We know there are quite significant
differences in traditions as well as in the civil law structure and common law. There we see huge differences.
Often, the types of practices that are being shown as good practices or best practices are not taking the
context into account. There is a need to look at the regulatory structure. We need a ‘translation device’ which
takes into account the contextual component. Otherwise, people are talking past each other.
Practically, all of the European countries are faced with the second challenge: fiscal consolidation. We see
some patterns especially in the EU which have to do with staffing freezes, pay cuts and to some extent a
lack of strategic reaction when it comes to building a sustainable public service.
Alter: If the EU says that they want coordination, not in the sense of policies, but an ‘information center’
which coordinates knowledge that exists, on fiscal consolidation for instance, I would be happy to do that.
We would do that, but we need to have that agreement upfront because that speaks for 19 of our countries.
We need a clear decision from EUPAN whether we do this together. We can get a little more value if we put
projects together. For the ministerial meeting of the OECD for public administration, which will take place in
Helsinki, we should think about joint intentions to explore at this meeting. It could be an interesting political
moment where we could say there is something interesting for the 19 and also for the others.
If you ask me what the biggest disadvantage, to be honest, I would say most administrations do not use the
evidence that they have, let alone those that they do not have.
Davies: One of my area of work is what we call ‘Centres of Government network’, which is all about
transmission from the political level down to the most senior civil service. Their main challenge is balancing
strategic thinking of the central government with day-to-day issues. So the idea of having a kind of vision for
civil service is extremely important for them in order to convince the political level that the civil service is
delivering what they are expecting. The civil servants try to educate ministers to the capacity of the civil
service and to teach them about how the civil service functions. When they first arrive, they have big
ambitions, but they do not understand the legislative process and they immediately assume that the civil
service is blocking and is an obstacle to what they want to do. This has an impact on how they view public
administration. There is a sense that the public administration is not enough flexible or innovative. This issue
could also be raised at EUPAN because it creates a tension and makes the job of DGs and Ministers for
public administration extremely difficult.
Horizontal and vertical coordination can also be considered as a challenge. Lau: Speaking of vertical
coordination, this applies not only to the subnational level but also to the supranational level. This is a
challenge in terms of less and less discretion on the part of national administrations because of pressures
coming from supranational and subnational levels.
Regarding the regulatory agenda, there are challenges in terms of the implementation of it and also in terms
of both the capacity as well as the supporting structures.
Another challenge is due to the fact that the EU tries to benchmark its Member States. Foreseeably, it can
only look at a small number of variables but does not capture necessarily the enabling environment to
produce that and how you create incentives to improve performance. This is what we are trying to do with
OPSI; rather than looking at the number of innovations per country, we are looking at the systems put in
place to foster innovation.
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
Alter: EUPAN has a very friendly atmosphere, a very nice set-up, but I think the network could be intensified
and reinforced in some areas.
The fact that there are presidencies means that there are changing priorities. We have also changes, but not
so frequently. In terms of the Presidencies of EUPAN, it would be good if we could identify issues together.
For us, continuity and stability of efforts are essential because most of our projects go longer than six
31
months. Let me give you a concrete example, ‘Government at a glance’ is a two-year publication. I would be
delighted if EUPAN says that it would need data on X, Y and Z, but the results will not be available for this
presidency, but for the fourth one. I am just suggesting here that it would be nice if one could identify things
that take a longer time to mature, to be of the quality that is needed for the OECD and for the Europeans as
well. In this way, we would be able to be engaged in a more continuous way. The same is true also for
innovation. These are not projects that you put a little lighter on it, they burn beautifully and then they turn
into ashes. For ‘Government at a glance’, there is a degree of stability which I think EUPAN should
subscribe, if I may say so.
Lau: For me, the quality of EUPAN has to do with the capacity of the public administrations in running and
organising the meetings.
I was introduced to the MTP quite recently. I was glad to hear about this because it means that a country
without so much capacity is trying to plug into the existing work in order to deliver something that is more
coherent, as opposed to countries which want to use their presidency to show case what they have done.
Sometimes, this leads to a lack of coherence.
For us, it is also very useful to hear from new Members States which are at the table of EUPAN.
At some EUPAN meetings, I find quite interesting presentations on public administration innovation which go
beyond the countries represented at the table. They bringing some of their colleagues and elaborate on
some sectorial examples. For me, that is quite nice! Perhaps, one area for improvement could be reaching
out beyond the narrow ministerial portfolio and learn from the experiences in other sectors.
In terms of the data collection, more coordination is needed because very often, countries want to have their
studies or their datasets and incidentally it happens that this is for EUPAN. This creates some frustration and
burden among the countries. I receive a lot of requests to align our work with EUPAN’s work, but we have a
work programme that is defined two years in advance and so that is not so easy. Big reports and
questionnaires are often very descriptive because it takes time to carry out an in-depth research.
The OECD has committed to opening all of its datasets, which means that all of our statistical data are
available for the public for free. That is very challenging, but I would like to see something similar from
EUPAN, so that researchers can exploit this collection of data.
Finally, the fact that there is no Secretariat makes things difficult. I know that people are very busy, so it is
not a lack of good will.
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level? What would be your
recommendations towards EUPAN on its functioning, role, focus … based upon your experience with
Member State networks?
In many ways, EUPAN is similar to the Public Governance Committee. We use this committee for peer
reviews of reports and studies. It is not about giving them the report and they have to comment on it, but you
have to take some of the observations and present them in such a way that countries can prepare and react
to it. EUPAN could also be used in that way. So if EUPAN wants to play a more active role in the public
administration reform, it should stimulate interactive discussions and perhaps peer-reviews among Member
States.
For instance, we use laboratories with smaller groups. For the Ministerial meeting, we are going to use
ministerial labs with groups of 3-4 Ministers (without their support staff), present them with a scenario and
have a discussion based on that. This is the first time we will try this. We will not do this ministerial lab
ourselves; we are going to use professional moderators who are working on a regular basis with Ministers at
the right level and with the right tone.
Regarding the country review within the Public Governance Committee, we bring three peers from member
countries to participate in the interviews depending on the topic. The peer review takes place at two levels;
the expert participation in the interviews and the peer review of the entire report and its findings at the
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committee level. We will ask the experts participating in the mission to present what their findings were.
Then, we ask the country to respond and we invite the counties to stick to certain elements. Usually, we
identify in advance a particular challenge, we make recommendations, so that the country can look at that
section and comment on it. We would do that for 4 or 5 countries and that gets the discussion going.
Through this review, we see some common challenges and we open up the debate so that other countries
can react. New perspectives are quite useful, even vital, because sometimes I feel that the group is very
comfortable, they know each other and so they fall into old patterns and sometimes into old debates.
One of the EUPAN’s roles could also be seen as the interface between Member States and other actors,
especially the European Commission. I would be satisfied in the medium term simply to have a clearer vision
of what the Commission is doing in its different DGs. Having everyone together in EUPAN, i.e. the Member
States and the Commission, is useful because we are all hearing the same story and the different
perspectives of the players.
What type of output (products, services etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
Lau: This is my subjective opinion, but I feel that the attention towards the Quality Conferences is falling off a
little bit. What goes on in EUPAN is only for participants, but for people outside, the Quality Conferences are
the most visible output and the external interface of EUPAN.
Secondly, it is difficult to find and to have access to the reports produced by EUPAN. So somehow having an
easily accessible platform and also, as we mentioned, opening the datasets, would be useful.
The other thing is the cooperation between OPSI and EPSA because the countries who are participating in
EPSA are at the same time participating in EUPAN. We certainly would like to give more visibility to EPSA.
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage?
Lau: We are responding to what member countries are asking us. So we tell them what we are doing but it is
a very ad hoc relationship and it depends on the quality of the contacts we have with individuals in public
administrations. It is very rare that we are contacted before the Presidency. So we can present what we are
currently working on and that could be taken into account in the programming of EUPAN’s work and vice
versa.
Alter: The ‘Observatory for Public Sector Innovation’ should innovate itself all the time. This is not something
set in stone, I would be happy to have everybody contributing. We have spent a lot of time inventing a
framework which I think is pretty nice and user-friendly. But there are also areas for improvement. For
example, in none of the countries of the OECD there is something that is called the structural funds, which is
the key ingredient of regional policy. It would be fantastic if the innovation that takes place in that area could
be automatically made available because it is something that influences policy decisions and impacts on
other countries. Great set of experiences could be discussed in EUPAN and imported into our OPSI. It is
important that other countries understand what this actually means spending in one specific area and how
this is organised. Innovation is certainly something that we can detect in many countries outside the EU to a
large extent. It would be good for the Europeans to slightly check what is happening in the rest of the world
and to do shortcuts in learning. There is a benefit not only in financial terms, but also a benefit in policy
quality and performance.
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TUNED
Interview with Britta Lejon, President NEA and spokesperson of TUNED12
& Nadja Salson, EPSU policy officer and TUNED coordinator.
The context and the current relation between TUNED and EUPAN
Britta Lejon: I would like to start by introducing both the organisation that I am representing and myself. I am
representing TUNED and also EPSU federation as the President of the Standing Committee on national and
European administrations (NEA). I have been President for not a year yet, so it is quite a short while, but I
have been a member of the standing committee since 2008. Before that, I also have had a history related to
the DGs and to public administration related topics for many years. I was member of the Swedish
government during the first Swedish Presidency of the EU and involved in public administration issues. So I
have seen the DGs, as well as the formal and informal discussions for quite a lot of years now.
But, in direct contact, I have been representing the trade unions since 2008. For the time being, and before
the formal social dialogue was established, TUNED and the EPSU federation have been involved in contacts
with EUPAN. We were also in favor of the establishment of a formal social dialogue and involved in the
discussions with EUPAN about pros and cons regarding that question.
Nowadays, as the President of NEA and as the spokesperson of TUNED, I am also involved in the
preparation of the social dialogue meetings and in the discussions with the standing committee.
Nadja Salson: I am a policy officer at EPSU charged with central government and coordinator of TUNED, the
trade union delegation in the EU social dialogue committee for central government administrations – SDC
CGA - established in Dec. 2010.
TUNED is the outcome of a cooperation agreement, struck in 2005 between EPSU and CESI that
established a single trade union delegation in central government, representing employees in EU-28 except
Slovenia.
The trade union relationship to EUPAN predates the establishment of TUNED as talks within EUPAN on
social dialogue go back to the late 90s. The establishment of a single trade union delegation however
facilitated greatly the trade union relationship with EUPAN. Whilst there was no unanimity in EUPAN to
establish with TUNED a formal social dialogue committee, some EUPAN members however took the lead
and established in 2010 EUPAE, the Employers’ Platform. Today EUPAE consists of 16 administrations.
Since the creation of the SDC CGA, TUNED has been meeting informally the EU DGs twice a year on the
basis of jointly defined agendas, in cooperation with EUPAN presidency. The selection of the topics for
discussions match both the priorities of EUPAN and of the SDC CGA. For TUNED, the objective is to
promote the work of the SDC CGA by bringing visibility and accountability to our joint positions with EUPAE.
It is also a useful forum to air the concerns of the trade unions in a particular country and bringing the
perspective of the employees into the EUPAN discussions.
For the past two years or so, those meetings have become in practice more like DGs/SDC CGA meetings
since we make joint TUNED/EUPAE presentations. Together with EUPAE, our shared ambition is to use the
opportunity of meeting the EU DGs to convince all EUPAN members of the added-value to joining EUPAE
and contributing on an equal footing to the work of the SDC CGA.
We appreciate the fact that EUPAN has helped achieve this development and we trust it will further build
upon it regarding its future.
12
Interview conducted on 24 April 2015.
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TUNED
What do you consider as the (5) main topics, challenges European Public Administrations are facing
(currently and in the near future)?
Britta Lejon: One main challenge is the financing of the European public administrations because the
resources will be quite limited also in the future.
Connected to that question, the coordination of Member States when it comes to how they look upon
European public administration is crucially important. It is through public administrations that many rules,
such as finance regulations, are implemented. This is a question of how the EU itself will continue to
develop, how the Member States are taking charge of the finances and what kind of tools, measures and
methods the politicians try to implement in order to promote growth and jobs in Europe. That is not an easy
topic because there are many different opinions among MS, but more efficiency is needed.
Besides the financing of the public administration, which is the main topic, it is also important to rebuild the
trust of citizens towards public administration. It is a question about being effective, being non-corrupt and
transparent. Broadly speaking, these topics are closely linked to rule of law and to European democracy.
Rebuilding the social dialogue is the fourth challenge. Since the crisis, the social dialogue in many countries
has been demolished and this is a problematic situation. The social dialogue should be rebuilt not only in the
society in general, but also between the trade union organisations representing civil servants and the
authorities in public administration.
For DGs and for leaders in public administration, it will be crucial in the future to be able to recruit
competence and to keep that competence. Since the crisis, the reputation of public administration has gone
down and the possibilities to have decent salaries and decent working conditions within many public
administrations in Europe had been worsened. So I think it is increasingly difficult to recruit and to keep
competence that public administration needs for the future. In other terms, it is about becoming an attractive
employer as public administration.
Nadja Salson: If I may add a 6th challenge: the role of EUPAN in relation to the EU semester that has made
reforms and modernization of public administration centre-stage, as part of the responses to the financial
crisis in 2008.
How do you perceive/appreciate EUPAN today (main strengths/areas of improvement)?
Britta Lejon: I would like to highlight some advantages of EUPAN and areas for improvement for the network,
as it stands today.
From TUNED’s perspective, the crucial point is the mandate given by the Member States to EUPAN. In other
terms, what kind of role should EUPAN have? That is not clear for us and I do not think this is clear for
EUPAN itself. If this mandate is unclear, there are limits to what EUPAN can achieve and also limits when
EUPAN cooperates with us.
However, I think the existence of EUPAN is very good. It is an important aspect that Member States and the
DGs decided to form a network in order to try to coordinate their points of view and their work.
I think it is also important to realise that a few countries within EUPAN (e.g. Luxembourg, Italy, France, etc.)
put many efforts in order to make this network work, also in their contact with us. That being said, it is also
obvious that many countries do very little. So the loyalty of Member States towards EUPAN is quite diverse.
In spite of the efforts, the coordination among the countries could be very much improved. This dimension is
problematic in their relations with us and makes our common work very much harder. This is closely linked to
the mandate I mentioned earlier. Being this kind of network means that the methods and the outcomes of the
work should be exchanging experiences and best practices, learning from each other, helping each other to
identify crucial topics, etc. It is good as it is, but, if the EU, the Member States, DGs and Ministers
responsible for public administration want to do more, to perform better and to increase cooperation, this is
not a good enough ambition. Then, the mandate of EUPAN should be something else.
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TUNED
Linked to the mandate, I would also like to stress the reporting back to national bodies including trade
unions. For the time being, it would be impossible for EUPAN to go back to relevant bodies at the national
level and to implement the agreements we have reached. A clearer mandate would be helpful in EUPAN’s
discussion with us and also for EUPAN’s members.
Nadja Salson: Importantly, social dialogue could be better mainstreamed in the EUPAN network, on the one
hand by reporting back to national trade unions and on the other by strengthening its relationship with the
SDC CGA, as part of a broader good governance objective.
Given the informal nature of the EUPAN network, what should/could be the role of EUPAN in public
administration reform issues both at national and European level?
Britta Lejon: It is not up to me to decide what kind of role EUPAN should have or what kind of organization
EUPAN should be. But if I may wish - and this brings me also to recommendations towards EUPAN on its
functioning and role - I would wish a higher ambition and a stronger mandate. If you want to see positive
developments in the European economy, then you will have to rely on each other because European
economies are interdependent. The outcome and how well public administration is working are crucial.
However, I am also well aware of the hesitations that exist among the Ministers responsible for public
administration and among the DGs when it comes to higher ambitions because this is very much a question
of how you look upon the role of the EU. For some Member States, there is a hesitation – and sometimes, I
would say, fear- if there would be a higher ambition because public administration is and should be
considered as a national question. We have many different kinds of public administrations and there must be
a national decision-making process to define that.
But, in the long run, we should look upon what kind of development we wish for the EU as a whole. I think
that it is important that we have a better reputation and a better performance of the public administrations.
We all depend upon each other. If you look upon how we deal with immigration or how we combat terrorism,
we are not doing good enough. More and better coordination is needed in some sectors.
Nadja Salson: Underlining the same reservations as stated above by Britta…. If, and that is a big “if”,
EUPAN decided to strengthen, or even better, to formalize its relationship to the SDC CGA via the
employers’ platform EUPAE, it would gain influence on the content of EC social initiatives and possibly of the
EU Semester. The objectives of the SDC CGA are to improve both the working conditions and efficiency of
public administrations including via binding agreements setting out common minimum standards. By
bringing EUPAN closer to EUPAE, this would enhance the influence of EUPAN on the future of public
administrations which today has become a major topic in the new EU economic governance
At national level, it would bring a European dimension and expertise to the national discussions and policy
agendas with the unions, and contribute to more coherence between national and EU levels.
EUPAN could bring its expertise, secretariat and stirring capacity to EUPAE, without however undermining
the informal nature of its internal recommendations
The Europeanisation of public administration has been a major development of the past 5 years. It requires
more pooling of forces and synergies amongst and between the different bodies involved in public
administrations whilst respecting their respective specificities and mandates. The SDC CGA can provide
EUPAN with a more concrete anchoring both at national and EU levels.
What type of output (products, services etc.) should EUPAN aim at?
Britta Lejon: I find it difficult to answer what type of output EUPAN should aim at. We, as TUNED, would like
to reach a good outcome in our discussions in the context of the social dialogue. Although it is difficult to
reach agreement on difficult questions among different Member States, the output and outcome should bring
change. Reaching agreements and putting them in a bookshelf is not a good output.
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TUNED
The output is dependent upon the mandate of the network. The work conducted within EUPAN (e.g. Code of
conduct, work on efficiency, performance, etc.) is going to be implemented at the national level. It is crucial
that the work must be rooted in the national context and linked back to the relevant national bodies.
How do you see your contribution to EUPAN? What relationship do you envisage?
Britta Lejon: We contribute a lot, I would say, to EUPAN via EUPAE mainly in the context of the social
dialogue and also during our biannual meetings with the EU DGs under the aegis of EUPAN. We are already
doing a lot of good work that is used by EUPAN. We bring our competences; we are putting in efforts to
coordinate; we are going back to our national member organisations in order to make EUPAN work better.
Of course, we would like to contribute in every way we can. I wish a better coordination among MS because
we are putting many resources but sometimes, it fails because of the lack of coordination from our partners.
Nadja Salson: In our view, one possible improvement to the relationship between the SDC CGA and
EUPAN, in the event that EUPAN is better disposed towards the EU social dialogue committee, could be to:
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Consider changing the name of the informal DGs/TUNED meeting with “ DGs or EUPAN/ SDC CGA
meetings” which would reflect what these meetings have become in practice (joint presentations by
TUNED and EUPAE representatives of the work of the SDC CGA).
Consider giving those meetings a strong accountability focus whereby social partners present to the EU
DGs the results of their work and vice versa.
Contributing to EUPAN expertise, secretariat, studies, regular coordination meetings, etc. that would
enhance the workings of the SDC CGA whilst giving EUPAN a more focused concrete approach and
framework for its informal discussions
Establish at national level contact points between EUPAN members and their trade union counterparts
to bring visibility and transparency on discussions and agendas and more coherence between national
and EU levels
Establish contacts with the International Public Administration Network as many of the challenges facing
public administrations are not only European but also global (climate change, immigration, digitalization
of public services).
TASK FORCE
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