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EPSA 2019 Final Events & Award Ceremony

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EPSA 2019 Awards

The winners of the European Public Sector Awards 2019 are..

07 November 2019

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 ceremony started in the Statenzaal (where the Treaty was negotiated) with keynote speeches by Theo Bovens, Governor and King’s Commissioner for the Province of Limburg; Valtteri Aaltonen, Secretary of State for Local Government and Ownership Steering, representing the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union; Maarten Verwey, Director-General, Structural Reform Support Service, European Commission; and Michael Burnett, EPSA 2019 Project Leader and EIPA Expert.

This prestigious award - the only award scheme open to all public sector bodies across Europe - recognises the best and most innovative performers in public administrations. Over 120 guests from 15 different European countries and the European institutions participated in the range of EPSA 2019 events held in Maastricht on 4-6 November 2019.

The three EPSA 2019 winners showed how innovation in the public sector can really help to make life better for citizens.

As Marco Ongaro, EIPA’s Director-General said “We are very proud at EIPA to have hosted EPSA for the last ten years - it’s at the heart of our mission to serve the public sector in Europe by sharing good practice which everyone can learn from”.

The three EPSA 2019 award winners are

Simplex+Program - 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).

As Michael Burnett, EPSA 2019 Project Leader and Category Leader for the European and National category said “This programme has been running for many years and still keeps coming up with new ideas”. And he added “There’s no complacency at the Agency - they want to keep moving forward with continuous improvement”. 

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.

As Gracia Vara Arribas, Category Leader for the Regional category, said: “Groeipakket is the example of a strong leadership team, where a wide range of stakeholders were brought together to determine the infrastructure, the processes and the technology to establish a more efficient support of children and families”. And she added “Groeipakket creates new solutions to challenges through smart use of new technologies, while promoting social inclusion and reducing administrative burdens”.

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.

As Julia Bosse, Category Leader for the Supra-Local and Local category, said: “In Rooftop Gardens people with disabilities become contributors as well as beneficiaries”.  And she added “The project is also a good example of innovative urban farming, puts formerly unused rooftop terraces of municipal buildings to good use and opens them to citizens and distributes surplus food to food banks for those who need them.”

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.

The award ceremony was the final stage of three days of the EPSA 2019 Final Event which started on Monday 4 November at Maastricht’s historic Town Hall, again generously made available by the City of Maastricht, where the Best Practice Certificate recipients were recognised. On this occasion, Maastricht’s Deputy Mayor, Ms Vivianne Heijnen, and EIPA’s former Director-General, Mrs Pröhl, highlighted that 2019 marked 10th anniversary of the European Public Sector Award. 

The following day, the nine projects nominated for the award showcased their achievements during an open forum at EIPA’s premises. The day closed with a festive dinner at Maastricht’s historic Museum aan het Vrijthof.

The detailed programme is available online.

More information as well as pictures and all project presentations will be available on-line next week.

Keep checking our website for new updates.

The EPSA brings together the best, most innovative and efficient performers from the European public sector. Outstanding administrative performances are, after all, produced under different conditions within Europe.

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