EPSA 2019 - Showing how the public sector has risen to today’s challenges for citizens
Yesterday, the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) presented the European Public Sector Awards 2019 to the 3 winning projects in the three administrative categories - European and National, Regional and Supra-Local and Local. The EPSA 2019 trophies were awarded to the winners at the final award ceremony, which, as with previous EPSA editions, took place at the Provincial Government House in Maastricht, where the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992.
The three EPSA 2019 winners showed how innovation in the public sector can really help to make life better for citizens.
Simplex+ - Portugal’s way of helping government work better for citizens
The award in the European and National category was presented to the project “Simplex+ Program”, submitted by Portugal’s Administrative Modernisation Agency (the Agency).
It is a national programme for the simplification and digitalisation of administrative procedures across all parts of government.
As independent reviews have shown, the programme measures make it easier for citizens and businesses to use public services in Portugal and save them time when they do. Many of them have also saved working time for the public sector.
The Simplex+ Program has led directly to other excellent projects from the Agency which have won Best Practice Certificates in EPSA 2019 such as Citizen Spots (supported assistance for citizens to access digital services) and ASET - Automatic Social Energy Tariff (automatically offering affordable energy tariffs to low income consumers).
Groeipakket - Equal treatment for all children in Flanders
The award in the Regional administrative category was presented to the project “Groeipakket”, submitted by Kind en Gezin, Agentschap Informatie Vlaanderen and Agentschap Uitbetaling Groeipakket (BE). The project integrates in one family policy, and in one single IT application child benefits for education and child care with automatic allocation without having to apply. It is the result of the collaborative efforts of all departments in Flanders connected to family policy, breaking silos and working in teams. The scope of this initiative is unprecedented, managing the transition of responsibility from federal to regional level without interruption from one system to another, and going beyond the objectives of the previous system. The results are already evident, resulting in less poverty and equal treatment between the working and non-working poor. Other regions in Belgium are adopting the Groeipakket model, based on allowances granted automatically and expansion to more children to minimise the risk of child poverty.
Rooftop Gardens – Taking social inclusion to a new level
The award in the Supra-Local and Local administrative category was presented to the project “Rooftop Gardens: Growing greens for social inclusion”, submitted by the Municipal Institute for People with Disabilities of the City of Barcelona (ES). This project is an example of out-of-box thinking as it creates synergies and produces impact at several levels. It is about taking advantage of unused public space, such as rooftops of municipal buildings, to set up rooftop gardens with innovative urban farming methods that are operated by people with disabilities to foster their social inclusion and increase their quality of life by changing their role from that of being beneficiaries (passive role) towards being contributors producing goods for the community (active role). Additionally, it supports the circular economy as food waste is minimised by donating any surplus of fresh vegetables to local food banks and associations. Moreover, it enriches the local community by creating networks between the occupational centres managing the rooftop gardens, local food banks and associations as receivers of fresh food.
In different ways these three winners have shown why EPSA 2019 invited the public sector in Europe to show how they can be citizen-centric, sustainable and fit for the future.