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With the support of: IIAS International Institute of Administrative Sciences


Theme II

Call for Applications is closed!

THEME 2 "Citizen Involvement"


The European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) - mandated by its Board of Governors' decision of 1 July 2008, and with the institutional and financial support of 15 European countries and the European Commission - invites applications to the second European Public Sector Award - EPSA 2009. The EPSA 2009 will be awarded on the occasion of a high-level symposium on leading-edge public administration solutions, which will be held on 5 and 6 November 2009 in Maastricht (NL), under the auspices of the Swedish Presidency. The conference thus presents a unique opportunity for European administrations with innovative performances and achievements to reach an extensive audience and to be recognised as a leading practice at the European level.


During the last 15-20 years, the public sector has been facing a number of global challenges that are strong drivers in changing the way European public administrations function in the 21st Century:

  • Demographic changes, such as an aging population, diminishing working population and increased immigration;
  • Environmental changes, such as climate change and shortage of space;
  • Urbanisation, including pressure on metropolitan areas, commuting and citizens' demand for housing;
  • Globalisation, internationalisation and Europeanisation, such as fewer borders, economic integration, higher competition, fast-changing markets and fast innovation, more international/European orientation in work;
  • Labour market, such as diversity of labour force and shortages in the labour market, flexicurity and inclusion policies;
  • Diminishing "social capital", including participation in elections and mistrust towards public administration and public services, more uncertainty, and;
  • Less willingness to increase resources for the public sector, despite higher demands and expectations of citizens for better services, focus on efficiency and effectiveness.

Governments at national, regional and local level, and public administrations in general, are responding in various ways to these and other pressures, including a deepening appreciation of the role of citizens as partners in the design and delivery of public services.


To adapt private sector models of consumer involvement in business planning and delivery, but also to build on concepts of "open government" - whereby the business of governments and state administrations should be opened at all levels for effective public scrutiny of oversights, as well as allowing involvement in planning and delivery of public services - public administrations have developed institutional and policy frameworks to promote transparency in government, access to information, consultation and ultimately involvement in making policy decisions.

In effect, building effective participative partnerships between government, citizens and civil society organisations is at the heart of this approach and is demonstrated by various processes and systems designed to:

  • Enhance openness, transparency and accountability;
  • Enable consultation and feedback between administrations and citizens (and civil society);
  • Share information, knowledge and experience;
  • Enable citizen involvement in debating, discussing, deciding and evaluating on governmental and public administrative decision making.

Some of the terms and areas which might be used to describe increasing citizen involvement include:

  • Freedom/access to information;
  • Citizen consultation systems;
  • Public accountability and scrutiny;
  • eDemocracy and/or eParticipation;
  • Direct and participatory forms of government;
  • Participatory, consensus and/or grassroots democracy or policy making.

Ultimately, increased citizen involvement generally aims to increase community participation and social capital, improve service delivery, promote social inclusion/cohesion or address perceived democratic deficits. In essence, it is about moving from models of "government" to models of "governance".

This topic is looking for showcase projects based on how public administrations are meeting this new role in society by displaying citizen involvement in service design, production and/or delivery.


Projects under THEME 2 should demonstrate and contain elements of proven evidence on one of the following subcategories:

  • Administrations moving from representative to more participatory democracy, whilst addressing issues of accountability and representativeness;
  • Systems designed to explore and incorporate a wide range of interested publics;
  • Joint approaches to planning;
  • Empowering local communities to participate in policy making;
  • Strengthening representative government to embrace more direct forms of participatory democracy;
  • Addressing power imbalances between multiple stakeholders;
  • Amending legislative provisions to facilitate citizen involvement;
  • Improving and/or incentivising engagement of groups, such as young people, women and the disabled;
  • Supporting citizen involvement through new technologies;
  • Enabling disadvantaged groups to participate in decision making;
  • Providing increased information and public scrutiny/accountability opportunities.


All European public sector institutions from all levels - with special attention to local and regional approaches, as well as public sector enterprises, agencies or public-private partnerships - are eligible to submit their projects for the award. Other eligibility criteria to be fulfilled are:

  • European geographical origin of the application;
  • Compliance with the themes (one thematic area per project only) of the EPSA 2009 competition;
  • The working language of the EPSA 2009 is English, thus it is strongly recommended to submit projects in English;
  • The lead applicant must be a public sector institution or authorities (other applicants can be private, semi-public, NGO or academic);
  • The application/project/case must have been in operation long enough to have proven evidence of impact/result;
  • Completed application form;
  • Confirmation that the application has been submitted (i.e. notification mail and registration number) before deadline (hrs).


It is encouraged to submit projects showing consideration of gender mainstreaming, technology (ICT-enabled solutions) and environmental sustainability aspects.


The submitted applications will first be checked for eligibility. If the criteria set above have been met, a registration number will be allocated. The project will then be reviewed and assessed by an internationally acknowledged, independent and impartial pool of experts. The evaluation process also includes on-site visits to a small number of short-listed projects per theme.

When submitting their projects, applicants should pay particular attention to following general criteria used for the selection of the best projects:

  • Innovation: novelty of the solution; degree to which the case shows a leap of creativity in public administration progress; something different that goes beyond to what currently exists;
  • Public concern: degree of addressing a pressing need or important problem of public concern; the project topic is high on the agenda in European public organisations;
  • Significance/Relevance: the project deals with a sufficient number of public sector bodies; a critical mass of actors is tackling the issue;
  • Impact: the realisation of planned objectives and activities; the provision and illustration of proven evidence and benefits; results demonstration;
  • Learning capacity and transferability: with lessons of potential value to other entities; the project provides the potential for successful replication by other governments; it stimulates improvement in its application and provides mutual learning perspectives.

Applications submitted under THEME 2 will furthermore be judged against the following specific criteria under this topic:

  • Involvement and satisfaction of citizens, civil society, administrators and politicians in the process/system;
  • Balance between process efficiency and governmental effectiveness;
  • Costs versus benefits of new approaches vis-à-vis traditional methods/processes.


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