International EPSA Knowledge-Transfer Conference: New Models and Practices of ICT Innovation and Management in the Public Sector

23-24/Mar/2015  •  Barcelona


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Project Leader
Alexander Heichlinger
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Europe is an advanced information society which depends on information and communication technologies (ICT). The effect of ICT is complex and affects all aspects of life. From a government perspective, an integrated, strategic and coherent approach for stimulating and facilitating the development and deployment of ICT for the common welfare is necessary. Hence, European public administrations have implemented deep reforms by using smart technology solutions to increase efficiency and effectiveness, reduce bureaucracy, simplify procedures, reallocate resources and increase overall quality of the public services provided.

In addition, when deploying ICT applications in governments, it becomes more obvious and necessary to weigh the costs against the benefits of the (new) actions, especially now in view of the public financial constraints. ICT and its integration are not goals in themselves. They are powerful tools for improving the public sector services (delivery). Especially against the backdrop of the current financial crisis, ICT offers many opportunities for public administrations across Europe to get involved in transformational processes, usually leading to better public services whilst reducing costs, i.e. boosting public innovation and excellence.

The European Public Sector Award (EPSA) – running in 2015 its fifth edition – serves well as an observatory for current (e-)trends and (ICT) innovation areas, and is a good example of a reform driver and catalyst for change. To this end, when screening the 800+ applications from 36 countries, it becomes apparent that the majority of government bodies in Europe, regardless of whether they are from the local, regional, national or even trans-national levels, rely on new technologies to improve their performances. Thus, a remarkable number of good practices have been developed with a clear ICT dominance. More than 40% of all EPSA applications are strongly ICT enabled and nearly 45% have received a BPC or more – nominee or winner.

One of these outstanding examples (i.e. an EPSA 2013 Finalist and Best Practice Certificate recipient) is the New ICT Model of the Catalan Government - An innovative Sourcing Process through Public-Private Collaboration. This project is an impressive reengineering project, with a PPP developed in a competitive way. Although it started as a governmental initiative, this major reform is a good case of joined-up governance, in close dialogue with the economic forces. It created an optimised system of ICT procurement and management for the whole Catalan regional administration replacing the previous decentralised solutions based on in-house and external services. The focus is on cost-effective ICT solutions, which are a must in the current economic environment, and internal resources are shifted and centralised successfully while creating external economic growth and job creation.

These specific vital results and many other elements and experiences – which cannot only be utilised to the benefit of public administrations, but will also stimulate transmission of best practice knowledge amongst all governments of Europe – are nowadays indispensable, not only in the short term (e.g. growth and job creation), but of course in a much longer perspective towards the creation of a real common digital administrative space and economy in Europe.

It is for these reasons that the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) is partnering with the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Partners Program of ESADE to hold this International Knowledge-Transfer Event in Barcelona on ‘New Models and Practices of ICT Innovation and Management in the Public Sector’ to present, share, award and inspire the many ICT and innovation good practices from all levels across Europe.

Transfer of the knowledge, know-how and practices obtained from schemes such as the EPSA represent the core of this conference. The many good practices offer and contribute to a faster adoption process by other public administrations. Thus, promoting exchange continues to be a valuable mechanism to ensure maximum benefit of lessons learned across Europe. It will also provide an opportunity for the exchange of experiences between other ‘eChampions’ who have already successfully achieved tangible results, as well as to examine the latest trends and forecast within the digital world. Another essential element of this conference is networking. The event will provide a unique opportunity for participants and experts to meet peers and other decision-makers in the areas of ICT and electronic government, and will thus support and enhance the building of capacities within administrations.

Target group
The event is not only open to the EPSA community, but also to all public actors from all levels of government in Europe and beyond, as well as to both academic and private sector audiences who have an interest in the latest developments, models and best practices in ICT innovation and management.

The activity will combine a mixture of panel discussions and presentations, onsite inspection and exchange of views. Above all, participants will have the opportunity to learn from leading edge public management best practices and their insights on how to reach outstanding results.