Concerning the public, a close cooperation between public administration and citizens seems essential. Through participative democracy and public involvement, a new relationship between the citizens and the administrations can be established. The publicity becomes a valued partner to identify problems, discover new thinking and propose solutions.
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The focus group, that has been conducted with domain experts in the fields social security and institutional question on local and regional level has proven one more time, that strategic planning is fundamental important. For its success, the focus group advised to fund long-term digitisations strategies adequately, as this is essential for the implementation of new tasks.
To improve public administration´s image, it is important to rebuild the trust in it. The citizens’ cooperation seems essential to achieve public purposes. The lack of trust can make the formulation and implementation of policies more difficult or even impossible. Relevant factors that influence citizens’ trust is the administrations´ integrity, as well as its performance.
Evaluation represents a separate stage in the policy cycle, but has to be pointed out as an own need in public administration. Evaluation decides whether a policy will be finished, modified and/or continued. At the same time, it can inform about results and consequences (intended and not intended). Only if policies are evaluated, potential improvement will be identified and at best implemented. In this context, it should be emphasised that a policy is never completed and is always evolving. This makes a qualitative and regular evaluation essential.
Public management has to react to changes in national and global contexts. A current key driver for changes can be seen in the Europeanisation, which affects the level of member states, caused by EU integration processes. Successful administrative action in the multilevel European system requires adjustments, ensuring efficient dealing with European objectives.
It is most important to take into account the state-specific circumstances, as well as local and regional specificities. For example, the German public administration differs fundamentally from public administration in other countries. Solutions that were identified as right and expedient for one country are not automatically useful in another. The possibilities of implementation will vary due to diverse traditions and organisational cultures.
Public sector organisations are mainly knowledge-intensive organisations, and to exploit their knowledge, effective knowledge sharing among the different departments is required. There can be great advantages if information is not only used in the own administration but is shared between hierarchies, different policy areas and levels of government. Including findings from other disciplines in respective monitoring systems (e.g. education, social, youth, and work) can create synergy and learning effects, which in turn leads to a share of benefits.
Public administration is a strictly standardised and structured environment, which makes it calculable and predictable to a certain extent. This includes, for example, a sufficient number of qualified employees. Also for the public administration employees in our focus group, this strict organisational framework seems to be important in order to complete their work and task. On the other hand, it would be desirable that this frame allows certain freedoms within it. This (limited) flexibility can be helpful in responding to unexpected developments.
A relevant but also critical factor in public management is the staff. It is important to recruit junior staff and specialists, which can manage the given challenges and have the necessary skills and technical knowledge to promote the digital transformation. Particularly in view of the demographic developments, it seems essential to recruit new staff and retain them in the long term.
The head of the administration modernisation division on a regional level confirmed that one of the most important needs of public administration is cooperative working. Hierarchy is an important part in public administration but it also represents a limitation for its work. The more complex social problems become, the more complex are the governmental answers to them. Public administrations should be more open and flexible in the cooperation between different stakeholders, partners and hierarchy levels.