During a well-attended and entertaining award ceremony which took place this morning at the Provincial Government House in Maastricht, EIPA handed over the European Public Sector Award 2011 to the three winning projects: “Political Management based on Economic Stringency and Strategic Budgets”, submitted by the Bilbao City Council in Spain; “Civil Society Involvement in the Welcoming and Integration of Immigrants – The Case of Portugal”, submitted by the Portuguese High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue; “ÖkoKauf Wien – EcoBuy Vienna”, submitted by the Department for Environment Protection, Vienna.
This prestigious award recognises the best and most innovative performers in European public administration. After a long process of assessment, the three prize winners of this edition were finally announced. Over 200 guests from 20 European countries participated in the range of EPSA 2011 events held in Maastricht.
The winners in the three categories are:
In the theme Smart Public Service Delivery in a Cold Economic Climate, the first prize went to the project “Political Management based on Economic Stringency and Strategic Budgets”, submitted by the Bilbao City Council in Spain. With this project, Bilbao showed that high levels of investment and service delivery could be maintained in times of economic crisis – whilst also eliminating the budget deficit – by linking the city budget directly to strategic objectives and core operations, and with a close monitoring of outcomes. They have a chance of keeping the city’s finances in good shape as they are also boosting growth through economic regeneration.
The Portuguese project “Civil Society Involvement in the Welcoming and Integration of Immigrants – The Case of Portugal”, submitted by the Portuguese High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue, received the first prize in the theme Opening Up the Public Sector Through Collaborative Governance.
This project is dedicated to the cause of social integration through collaborative and open governance. This project recognises the key role of civil society, and particularly migrant associations, in the issue of immigrant integration. It also aims to make immigrants part of the solution rather than the problem, by sharing responsibility and encouraging them to participate in the creation, implementation and evaluation of public policies in the area of immigrant integration. One of the examples of this is through the creation of one-stop-shops, called ‘National Centres for Immigration Support’. It also provides a consultative and cooperative process for working with the immigrants. This initiative includes what is referred to as a ‘Choices Programme’, which largely aims to reinforce the local community’s role in the promotion of equal opportunities and social cohesion for migrant children and youth. The use of National Centres for Immigration Support brings together under the same roof a number of services related to immigration. Several initiatives within this project have been benefiting from various EU supportive actions, including the European Social Fund.
In the third theme, Going Green – Concrete Solutions from the Public Sector, the winner is “ÖkoKauf Wien – EcoBuy Vienna”, a project submitted by the Department for Environment Protection, from the Austrian City of Vienna. The application of green public procurement across the entire administration (the Öko-Kauf Project) has impressively shown that ‘greening’ is possible and not necessarily more expensive: it is about changing administrative routines. Today, the administration of Vienna has developed an impressive expertise in the field of green procurement that is even proving to be very helpful for other Austrian and European administrations. The core element has been ownership: changing routines is only possible with an active involvement of public procurement experts from all the different departments.
With the EPSA 2011 award, EIPA aims to bring together the most innovative and efficient performers from all levels of public administration in a fair and open competition. Now, one year after the launch and after an extensive and independent four-step evaluation process, the EPSA 2011 trophies have finally been awarded. All three prize winners received a unique EPSA 2011 trophy, designed by a local artist from the Limburg region to reflect European excellence and innovation.
The Award Ceremony was the climax of a wide range of events in Maastricht. On Tuesday 15 November, Onno Hoes, Mayor of Maastricht, welcomed the group of Best Practice Certificate recipients, nominees and other guests to the Maastricht Town Hall, where he handed over the EPSA 2011 Best Practice Certificates to 43 public sector organisations. On Wednesday 16 November, the 15 nominees had the chance to present their projects during thematic workshops and a Project Market Place held at EIPA.
The Award Ceremony on Thursday 17 November at the Provincial Government Buildings in Maastricht was hosted by Theo Bovens, Governor and Queen’s Commissioner for the Province of Limburg. Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šef?ovi? (SK), delivered a video message to the distinguished guests. Keynote speeches from Viktorija Šmatko, Director within DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission; Beate Lohmann, Head of Directorate-General Administrative Modernisation, German Federal Ministry of the Interior; and Bernard Bot, former Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs preceded the final awarding ceremony.
The highlight of the event was of course the festive celebratory ceremony, awarding the 15 nominees with certificates, and the three prize winners with the prestigious EPSA trophy.
Maastricht, 17 November 2011
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