Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future
The proposed research will contribute to our understanding of the impact of NPM by integrating sectoral and national analyses and to the development of future public sector reform strategies by drawing lessons from past experience, exploring trends and studying emerging public sector coordination practices.
Drawing on existing large-scale datasets and innovative data collection in ten countries, the project intends to provide a comprehensive picture of the challenges facing the European public sector of the future. The empirical investigation will result in a transfer of innovative best practices across European member states and a futures study outlining key scenarios for the public sector of the future. It will contribute to maximal policy learning through the involvement of expert practitioner groups and other key stakeholders.
ERASMUS UNIVERSITEIT ROTTERDAM
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 Pa Rotterdam
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
€ 773 228,60
Steven Van De Walle (Dr.)
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HERTIE SCHOOL OF GOVERNANCE GEMMEINNUTZIGE GMBH
€ 346 200
UNIVERSITETET I BERGEN
€ 265 568
UNIVERSITA COMMERCIALE LUIGI BOCCONI
€ 163 160
UNIVERSIDAD DE CANTABRIA
€ 167 563
€ 212 166,80
BUDAPESTI CORVINUS EGYETEM
€ 80 425
THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
€ 205 616
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
€ 233 540
€ 178 580
CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
€ 72 879,60
Grant agreement ID: 266887
1 January 2011
30 June 2014
€ 3 394 527,77
€ 2 698 927
ERASMUS UNIVERSITEIT ROTTERDAM
This project is featured in...
The effects of new public management
Grant agreement ID: 266887
1 January 2011
30 June 2014
€ 3 394 527,77
€ 2 698 927
ERASMUS UNIVERSITEIT ROTTERDAM
This project is featured in...
Discover other articles in the same domain of application
Final Report Summary - COCOPS (Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future)
The COCOPS project – Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future – has looked at the effects of and trends in public sector reforms in European public sectors. The new public management has for over two decades been one of the core concepts in reform discourse and practice, and the effects and dysfunctions of the NPM ideas, principles and innovations have gradually become visible. Fragmentation of the public sector has frequently been cited as a key challenge. Tensions between fragmentation and coordination, and a presumed shift from Weberian traditional public administration over new public management to an as yet unspecified post-NPM era have been common threads throughout the project. Public administration scholars from 11 universities in 10 European countries formed the core research team. They were assisted by scholars and public sector practitioners from all European countries.
Collaborating with public administration academics and practitioners from most European countries, COCOPS has first looked at the effects of NPM-style reform in European countries through assembling a large, freely accessible, database containing over 500 documents relating to the effects of the New Public Management. In addition, key public sector statistics on public sector size have been combined and visualised on our website. It was found that there is a dearth of well-executed studies that allow studying reform effects, and that the existing material is quite patchy. It was also found that changes in public sector spending vary across countries and that the public spending in the late 1980s and 1990s may be associated with simple cost-cutting reform, rather than true NPM-style reforms.
Secondly, COCOPS has collected new insights about reforms and reform trends in European countries by asking both top public officials and citizens. The COCOPS Top Public Executive Survey has become one of the largest data collections on public sector reform, and has allowed building a dataset of around 10000 responses from top public managers in 20 countries. This has allowed researchers to explain and compare attitudes and behaviours of top public managers including their use of performance information and management instruments, their interactions with politicians and stakeholders, their views on working in the public sector, theirs assessment of changes during the last five years, the extent to which reforms are being implemented within specific organisations and policy sectors, and the extent to which the fiscal crisis is affecting public organisations. In addition, secondary data on public opinion about public service delivery was combined with experiments on service provision, to see how citizens react to public service failure.
The third part of the project has looked at three challenges facing public sectors: the need for public sector coordination, the fiscal crisis, and the impact of public services on social cohesion. Researchers involved in these lines of research have looked at innovative arrangements developed within public sectors to deal with cross-cutting policy issues and issues of coordination across public and private sector actors. They have also reconstructed how cutbacks are being implemented in public sector organisations, and how such cutbacks have had an impact on the public sector. Finally, they have also explored how different types of public sector reforms have had an impact on social cohesion, and equal access, fair treatment, and intergroup tensions more specifically.
To end, researchers asked public sector consultants, trade unions and public management academics about what they see as the main changes for and challenges in the public sector. There was a high level of agreement about the key trends in public sector reform in the past five years. Cost and efficiency, transparency and openness and service quality were seen as the factors that had improved the most. On the other side, all groups of respondents felt that citizens’ trust in government, the attractiveness of the public sector as an employer and social cohesion had deteriorated from five years ago.
In addition, the COCOPS project has also contributed to the public administration research infrastructure through developing new large-scale open access databases to be shared with academics and practitioners.
More information on the COCOPS FP7 project is available on www.cocops.eu.
Project Context and Objectives:
The COCOPS project (Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future) seeks to comparatively and quantitatively assess the impact of New Public Management-style reforms in European countries, drawing on a team of European public administration scholars from 11 universities in 10 countries. It aimed to analyse the impact of reforms in public management and public services that address citizens’ service needs and social cohesion in Europe. Evaluating the extent and consequences of NPM’s alleged fragmenting tendencies and the resulting need for coordination is a key part of assessing these impacts.
In eight related international research projects, COCOPS mapped and analysed innovative mechanisms in the public sector to improve social and policy coordination, especially when the public sector is facing the fiscal crisis. The research contributes to our understanding of the impact of NPM by integrating sectoral and national analyses and to the development of future public sector reform strategies by drawing lessons from past experience, exploring trends and studying emerging public sector coordination practices. COCOPS consisted of eight related work packages (WP), each implemented by an international team of researchers.
Specific objectives of the project were:
1. To evaluate the impact of New Public Management (NPM) style reforms in European public sectors, through a meta-analysis of evaluation studies, a survey of senior public sector officials in three sectors in ten European countries, and a statistical analysis of government outlays.
2. To assess the extent to which New Public Management style reforms have led to managerial and organisational fragmentation in the public sector (as is widely asserted).
3. To analyse whether NPM-style reforms have had an impact on equity and social cohesion by analysing patterns in satisfaction with public services.
4. To analyse how emerging innovative coordination and re-integration practices in public management work, and how they can contribute to counterbalancing public sector fragmentation, in order to improve the public sector’s capacity to deliver policies to strengthen social cohesion.
5. To integrate the evidence of the impact of NPM-style reforms on social cohesion and to predict the impact of emerging innovative practices of coordination on social cohesion.
6. To explore the integration of current public management practice with bottom-up social innovation, in order to create more sustainable public services geared towards a coordinated approach to new social problems.
7. To critically consider how the financial crisis will have an impact on the future of public sector reforms, and to analyse what can be learned from 1980s and ‘90s NPM-style savings strategies for coping with the new era of austerity.
8. To explore future trends in the public sector with the assistance of academic and public sector practitioner expert groups
9. To develop a comprehensive data set on NPM, public sector performance, and social cohesion for use by other researchers in future studies.
10. To advise policy-makers on the potential future pathways of public sector reform to enhance productivity, growth and competitiveness in Europe.
The work packages and research objectives are logically interrelated. To reconfigure the state along more cost-efficient lines, New Public Management (NPM) protagonists recommended that the public sector be downsized and opened up to greater private sector influence. NPM reforms across the European public sectors, it was said, would lead to more efficiency and effectiveness, higher quality services, and more responsiveness to citizens as consumers. It is undeniable that tremendous progress has been made in the public sector, in part because of NPM-related innovations. Yet, adverse effects of NPM-style reforms have also become visible. NPM has, at the same time, been very controversial and very influential.
New Public Management is a relatively ill-defined and paradoxical concept. NPM’s associated beliefs and practices have influenced public sectors in many different ways. When talking about NPM, we need to distinguish between two different levels:
- NPM as the introduction of new management methods and techniques
- NPM as a change in thinking about the role of government
These changes resulted in many successful reforms and modernisations, but has also had unintended consequences. NPM's managerial reforms may have led to public sector fragmentation and a decline in policy cohesion. Examples supporting this claim include extreme agencification, indicator- and target-driven short-termism and pathological behaviours, complaints about a breakdown in public sector ethos due to short-term employment practices etc. The evidence is scattered and far from straightforward.
It is claimed that NPM's ideas and philosophy (liberalisation, treating citizens as customers) may have had an effect on social cohesion through movement away from one-size-fits-all models in public service organisations, and a withdrawal of the state. Examples here may include selective use of choice by wealthy and highly educated citizens, profit-inspired thinking in privatised public services with differential effects on citizens, etc. Furthermore, researchers have worried about NPM’s effects on trust, legitimacy, and power relations. Again, many criticisms are often of an ideological nature and are only rarely warranted by rigorous empirical research.
The attached Figure 1 shows the overall conceptual set-up of the project. The distinctive work packages elaborated thematically and methodologically on aspects of this overall model.
In this project, we relied in a first stage on different data sources and stakeholder perspectives to strengthen the empirical evidence about intended and unintended effects of NPM-style reforms in the public sector. By combining official government statistics, government and academic reports and evaluation studies, public opinion, and a survey among public managers, we assessed claims that New Public Management has led to fragmentation and declining social cohesion. This was done through a meta-analysis of existing studies (Work Package 1 - WP1), a longitudinal analysis of government outlays and employment (WP2), a survey among public managers (WP3), and an analysis of public opinion data (WP4). The analysis was focused on central government administration, on the health sector and on employment services. In addition, the analysis of public opinion also concentrated on utilities such as water, energy and transport.
In a second stage, we analysed emerging solutions for these social cohesion and fragmentation concerns by reviewing the emerging coordination agenda. This stage consisted of a study of current managerial innovations (WP5), and resulted in an exchange of good practices through an online community of practice.
Subsequently, in a third stage we explored what can be learned from NPM ideas and practices, as well as from the emerging practices for the design of appropriate strategies following the financial crisis (WP7) and for the reinforcement of social cohesion (WP6). Public sector practitioners and third sector groups have been closely involved in the execution of these work packages. The material from the preceding WPs have been fed into WP8 where we integrate findings and add a forward-looking perspective by surveying academics, and interviewing public sector consultants and trade unions about their assessment of previous reforms, and views about future trends.
The attached figure 2 shows how all work packages are interrelated.
In this section, we summarise the achievements of each individual work package within the COCOPS project, as well as the wider activities aimed at creating impact and disseminating findings to the wider academic and policy communities. We do so work package by work package, and present a summary, an overview of significant findings, and a description of how the work was managed and how it corresponds to the original objectives of the research. Obviously, this summary only presents a snapshot of each work package, and we refer to the academic articles for in-depth analysis and background.
Work Package 1 – Meta-analysis of the impact of NPM on efficiency, effectiveness, quality and social cohesion
The WP 1 research team, led by Christopher Pollitt and Sorin Dan in Leuven, has been collecting over 500 national reports and articles evaluating the impact of NPM-style reforms in European countries. A detailed description of the work is available in the relevant deliverable.
For practical reasons of research capacity the COCOPS team decided at an early stage not to try to pursue every NPM reform in every EU country at every level. We limited our search in various ways:
a) We excluded acts of outright privatization from the Work Package 1 meta-analysis (although privatization will receive some attention in some of the later work packages).
b) We decided to concentrate on central government reforms.
c) We dealt with social cohesion in a very narrow way.
d) We treated some EU member states more intensively than others.
Studies were identified both by our own literature review and by calling on the expertise of our COCOPS partner institutions, and of a number of collaborators who kindly volunteered to search out material from their own countries. As for our own literature review, we began by checking everything that had been published since 1980 in what we considered to be the six of the leading mainstream Anglophone public administration journals plus a few others. In addition to these academic sources we trawled a number of promising organizational publication lists. Alongside this literature search, as mentioned above, we worked either directly or through our COCOPS partners with a number of collaborators.
At the first stage the K.U. Leuven team allowed all papers put forward by COCOPS partners to be entered into the SharePoint database. However, subsequently they themselves reviewed most of the studies and were able to exclude some from certain sections of the meta-analysis. They also checked the coding of the metadata for inconsistencies, and eliminated these as far as we were able. If the inconsistency was a particularly significant one (e.g. a process change being coded as an outcome) they usually made a note in the metadata describing what we had changed and why. They were therefore fairly liberal in admitting studies to the database (out of a desire not to miss anything important) but rather strict in our subsequent interpretation of what these studies actually showed.
A first draft of the WP1 meta-analysis using the data currently in SharePoint was finished in July 2011 by Christopher Pollitt and Sorin Dan and distributed among the research team (Working Paper). Based on input from the COCOPS team, the meta-analysis of NPM impact studies and government reports was finalised (deliverable 1.1) and sent to an international journal for publication. Furthermore, the WP1 team has produced a policy brief based on the findings of the meta-analysis (deliverable 1.2). A large, freely accessible, database containing over 500 documents relating to the effects of NPM in Europe has been created. It can be accessed via the COCOPS website (http://www.cocops.eu/work-packages/wp1-npm-meta-analysis/database-of-studies-of-npm-reforms-in-europe). This database has been presented at a number of events, and has generated significant impact in the discipline.
A meta-review of existing evaluations of public sector reforms in European countries reveals that most NPM-related studies focus on issues such as efficiency and output quality. This shows that outputs and outcomes of reforms vary considerably according to contextual factors, and that there exists no ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy for NPM reform:
• There was significant country variation in the nature and extent of NPM reforms, with some countries still in the process of implementing related changes.
• Most of the literature focuses on performance measurement/management, market-type mechanisms and corporatization/agencification.
• Only one quarter of studies looked at changes in outcomes/outputs.
• There was significant variation in impact of reforms, with evidence of both improvement and deterioration due to NPM-style reforms.
• Would-be reformers would be well advised to carry out an ex ante evaluation of the particular national and local circumstances before launching NPM-type innovations.
Resources and deviations
Partners have spent considerably more time on achieving the WP1 objectives, because documents proved to be harder to find than expected, and the total number of documents was smaller than expected. Furthermore, it was decided to involve a large number of external collaborators, who, working for free, sent us a large volume of documents. This overinvestment was largely covered through underinvestment in WP2, and non FP7 funded time. As of month 13, WP1 has officially been finalized. Researchers continue to use the material collected as part of WP1 for other work packages, notably work packages 6 and 7. They also continue using the database on the effects of NPM in Europe (http://www.cocops.eu/work-packages/wp1-npm-meta-analysis/database-of-studies-of-npm-reforms-in-europe) and a number of articles based on work package 1 continue to appear.
Work Package 2 - The changing role of government – the effect of NPM on government outlays
The Spanish research team at the University of Cantabria, leading work package 2, consisting of Judith Clifton, Daniel Díaz-Fuentes, José Manuel Alonso & Marcos Fernández-Gutiérrez, collected public sector personnel and budget statistics to assess the impact of reforms on the size of the public sector. Savings and downsizing the public sector were a major justification when the international movement of public sector reforms began in the 1980s. Since then, New Public Management (NPM) has been the subject of extensive academic debate as to its successes and failures. However, empirical assessments of whether NPM reached its stated objectives are relatively scarce, mainly due to the difficulty of quantifying the impact of such reforms. Several analyses of changes in government outlays and public employment have been performed in recent years, but these have generally been limited to a subset of European countries, or have covered only a limited time frame. In addition, some of the analyses have necessarily relied on unreliable data. Especially for Central and Eastern European countries, such analyses are absent, incomplete, or unreliable. This WP presents a cross-sectional (18 EU countries) and longitudinal analysis of data on government outlays, public accounts, and personnel statistics to describe and visualise trends in government outlays. To evaluate the effect of NPM on public sector size, we selected two major policies associated with NPM for study: outsourcing and decentralisation.
Regarding the government expenditure indicator, measured in this research as the share of general government expenses in GDP, for 7 countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK) our data is complete, stretching across 1980- 2010 whilst, between 1990-2010, we have data for 11 countries and between 1995-2010 for all 18. Looking at this group of 7 countries, three were first-movers to cut outlays: the Netherlands (11 % from 1980-2000), the UK (8.5 %) and Belgium (over 7 %). Austria, Finland, France and Italy continued to grow at that time. Across the period 1985-2010, these first-movers saw sustained reductions: Netherlands (13 %), Belgium (11 %) and the UK (nearly 10 %), whilst Austria, France and Italy reduced expenditure only by small %ages, and outlays in Finland grew slightly. Looking now at the 18 countries across 1995 to 2010, we can see that all countries, except Greece, reduced outlays from 1995 to 2000. Greatest reductions occurred in Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, Hungary and Norway. However, between 2000 and 2010, outlays grew in all countries except Sweden, led by Ireland, with nearly 36 %, followed by the UK (nearly 12 %) and Portugal (nearly 10 %).
As regards public administration and employment, data includes 5 countries from 1980 to 2009, 6 from 1990-2009, 14 from 1995-2009 and 16 from 2000-9. Of this first Group of 5 countries, employment fell across this period except in Finland. Across the period 1995 to 2009, employment fell in all countries except for Ireland and Estonia.
The weight of final government consumption varied considerably, ranging from nearly 32% in Greece to nearly 69% in the Netherlands. Countries with the highest outsourcing ratios in 2010 were: the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, UK, Belgium and Luxembourg, with ratios above 50% of the final government consumption, whilst Greece and Denmark had the lowest ratios, below 40%.
In this research we found that outsourcing was not associated with a reduction in the public sector size as regards expenditure and employment either in the short or long-term. In contrast, fiscal and administrative decentralisation, measured as the ratio of expenditure and public employment decentralisation, as well as the autonomy of the sub-central government, do seem to lead to a smaller public sector as regards expenditure, both in the short and long-term. We do not find, however, that decentralisation led to a reduction in public sector employment. These results may indicate that the observed decline in public spending in the late 1980s and 1990s may not necessarily be truly associated with NPM-style reforms but, rather, simple cost-cutting reform.
The Cantabrian research team has produced a trend report on developments and turning points of government outlays, including topic and country-specific analysis (deliverable 2.1). Based on the findings, a Working Paper 4 was published – it is also currently under review in an international journal. Moreover, findings have been visualized and published at the project’s website (deliverable 2.2) (http://www.cocops.eu/work-packages/work-package-2/wp2-government-outlays). As of month 14, WP 2 has officially been finalized. Ending WP2 also means milestone 1 has been achieved.
Various papers and articles have been produced (see list of outputs) and are still upcoming.
Summarising, Working package 2 on the effects of NPM on government outlays found results in terms of role and scope of the public sector:
• Outsourcing was not associated with a reduction in the size of the public sector in regard to expenditure and employment, either in the short or long term.
• In contrast, fiscal and administrative decentralisation, as well as the autonomy of sub-central levels of government, seem to lead to a smaller public sector as regards expenditure. However, there was no evidence that decentralisation led to a reduction in public sector employment.
These results may indicate that the observed decline in public spending in the late 1980s and 1990s may be associated with simple cost-cutting reform, rather than true NPM-style reforms. Even if outsourcing did not lead to a smaller public sector, NPM reforms were beneficial if they led to better public sector working conditions or improved service quality and/or social welfare. If, however, the increase in government spending was not accompanied by such improvement, this could suggest the existence of high transaction and coordination costs, or that the private provision of public goods does not necessarily entail efficiency gains.
Resources and deviations
Work package 2 ended in month 14, during the first reporting period. Researchers who have worked on the work package continue to publish on the topic using the material collected. While person-months have been budgeted for most partners, it was in the end the University of Cantabria who did most of the work. The reason for this deviation is that we could obtain datasets from OECD and EUROSTAT, and did not have to go through the national partners. Working months have been allocated (mainly) to WP3.
Work Package 3 - Survey of public managers in three sector and ten countries – perceived impact of NPM
The Hertie School initiated and coordinated research activities related to the design and implementation of the cross-national public administration survey. A standardized survey methodology and sampling strategy were created, together with an original 31-question survey. After translation of the original English questionnaire in the languages of the participant countries, the survey was conducted online in two phases: the first, in May-July 2013, when the threshold of 3,000 answers from the initial proposal was reached; the second took place in September-November 2013, with a view to increasing response rates. Due to the complexity of the bilingual federal system in Belgium, and the difficulty of accessing respondents’ contact data, the Belgian survey resulted in only 86 responses. Given the limited possibility for statistical analysis this offers, it was therefore jointly decided by teams not to include the answers in the dataset and the related COCOPS materials. Following the finalization of surveys, the data was cleaned by the Hertie School in order to remove any double entries, click-through answers etc.; open answers and any non-standard items in the national questionnaires were then harmonized, in collaboration with the national teams, in order to ensure comparability of all items across the joint dataset; lastly, the national data was checked and validated by each team. In December 2012 the validated (joint) dataset (deliverable 3.5.) was finalized. A full Survey Research Report detailing the survey methodology is available on the COCOPS website.
With regards to data use, a Code of Conduct has been developed, and signed by individual team members. The code specifies the data sharing conditions for the national and cross-national survey data, in order to ensure fair and efficient use of the data within the team, as well as to ensure the protection of respondents’ anonymity.
Based on the national datasets and a template provided by the Hertie team, ten national reports have been created. A comprehensive cross-national report has also been published, offering an overview of results at comparative level. A policy brief will shortly follow, based on a joint discussion with the COCOPS team, in order to present key findings and recommendations to practitioners across the EU. The number of responses planned for the survey has been reached, and significantly surpassed, partly a result of the second survey phase conducted in September-November 2012. In addition to the core COCOPS countries, the survey has been successfully implemented by July 2013 in more countries: Austria, Lithuania, Portugal and Serbia. The total number of validated responses in the dataset is now 7,139 (as opposed to the 3,000 planned initially). Three more countries have expressed their interest and have rolled the survey out in autumn 2013: Denmark, Ireland and Sweden.
The survey results have already been used in a number of academic papers. Some preliminary results were presented at the IRSPM Conference in Prague, April 2013 (Panel 32: The Effects of Public Management Reforms from an International Comparative Perspective). A number of papers will also be presented at the upcoming EGPA conference, September 2013. Several European, international, and national practitioner presentations have taken place or are scheduled. One such example is the presentation of the comparative results at the European Public Administration Network (EUPAN), organized by the Irish EU Presidency, Dublin, May 2013.
An edited volume based on the national and comparative reports, as well as further analysis of the survey results, has been accepted for publication by Edward Elgar, and talks have started with Oxford University Press for a further volume. The survey results have also been used in the reports and analyses of other work packages (WP5 and WP7).
Reporting the full set of findings from WP3 would require several books. Currently, a dozen articles and a book are in preparation to present parts of the findings. In this section, we briefly report on some of the main findings based on the survey among the 10 original COCOPS countries, leaving the additional 8 countries out of the analysis. We summarize the aggregate results of the comparative COCOPS Executive Survey on Public Sector Reform in Europe, based on 4814 answers from the ten countries targeted (making this the largest comparative empirical dataset on European administrative reforms).
In a work context generally characterized by low management autonomy, but rather high goal ambiguity and politicization (exceptions here are the Netherlands, Norway and the UK), executives clearly perceive factors limiting a full adoption of a managerial logic and performance management concepts: in fact managerial ideas and instruments such as clear targets, measurement and use of performance information are only moderately implemented across in European public administrations. The tide of typical, ‘structural’ NPM reforms (such as privatization, contracting out or agencification) has by now subsided, replaced by reform trends more closely connected to a network-oriented understanding of government: transparent, open and/or e-government, as well as collaboration and cooperation among different public sector actors. The ongoing fiscal crisis might account for other important trends, such as public sector downsizing, stronger focus on outcomes and results, and the reduction of internal bureaucracy. Overall, countries such as the UK, Estonia, Norway and the Netherlands appear to be more active, while Spain, France, Austria and Hungary are hesitant with regard to implementing management tools.
Concerning the overall impact of public administration reforms, executives make a predominantly positive assessment in Norway, Netherlands, Estonia, Hungary and to a lesser extent in Germany; reforms are judged rather critically by executives in Spain and in the other survey countries (UK, France and, to a lesser extent, Italy and Austria), the assessment is mixed. Considering potential success factors, aiming at service improvements (as opposed to solely cost-cutting), and higher public involvement seems to positively influence the overall perception of reforms. At policy field level moderate improvement is seen in relation to managerial aspects such as cost and efficiency, service quality and innovation, but also concerning transparency and openness, fair treatment of citizens and ethical behaviour among public servants. On the contrary, slight deteriorations are associated to issues of staff motivation, attractiveness of the public sector as an employer, social cohesion and especially citizen trust in government. Despite fears in this direction, we discover no clear evidence of negative impacts on internal cohesion dimensions as a result of reforms: in countries with more pronounced performance management we tend to find even somewhat higher levels of social capital and trust and work satisfaction, but also relatively lower organizational commitment, indicating the need for more detailed analysis.
Executives in the employment and health sectors, also under the survey’s focus, assess reforms rather similarly to their counterparts in central government, with the exception that management instruments are generally regarded as more relevant. Also, in both sectors we find that reforms assessed as more demanding are also considered more successful. Exceptionally, in health, we find a greater importance of downsizing than in central government and employment.
While considerable variation can be identified between countries regarding reform intensity, those types of reform trends which are regarded as important are strikingly similar – which might indicate a shared sense of purpose across Europe with regards to public management reforms.
In addition, a number of general policy recommendations have been formulated in a policy brief associated with this work package. These include: 1. Overall, administrative reforms in Europe have had rather limited success; 2. Governments should balance a more network-oriented approach with the need for a more effective use of resources; 3. Addressing performance deteriorations in certain areas such as attractiveness as an employer should be a higher priority; 4. Officials have a number of effective levers at their disposal to improve performance such as coordination quality, leadership, strategic capacity and Human Resource Management; 5. There should be less focus on cost-cutting and more on public involvement; 6. The level of management autonomy and politicization can limit reform implementation; and 7. The rhythm and pacing of reforms is important and context matters.
Resources and deviations
The analysis and interpretation of the survey data in the national and cross-national contexts has proven however quite demanding, and required therefore more involvement from the senior researchers in the team. This resulted in an over-spend in WP3, which can be justified by the much larger number of responses from several countries (compared to goal of 300) and also expanding the survey to a number of additional countries (18 countries rather than 10).
Work Package 4 - Satisfaction, choice, and voice in European public sectors: citizens as customers and the challenge of cohesion
Research in this package has concentrated on the perspective of citizens as consumers of public services, often termed services of general interest. This has followed the European Union’s (EU) interest and member states’ increasing recognition of the insufficiencies of regulation from the supply-side perspective only – where competition has been a key focus. Consumers' opinions and stated preferences, where they express attitudes, motivations and preferences over options, and consumer beliefs can help provide a consumer perspective on services. However, they need to be used with care, taking the form of individual self-evaluation of satisfaction or subjective assessments of services and regulatory systems. Stated views and preferences are an indicator (albeit subjective) of individual welfare and complement other sources, notably revealed preferences, enabling the motivations of decisions or effects on welfare to be assessed. The research has used data sets from the European Commission on citizens’ satisfaction levels with various services of general interest (N= 20,000). The data was collected in 2005, a year where liberalisation reforms have been already pushed forward in some countries, while others were just about to take off. A researcher originally based at one of the partner institutions, University of Cantabria (Marcos Gutierrez Fernandez) was employed at Exeter as a research fellow in the period Feb to August 2012, helping facilitate the research. Meetings have been conducted in Exeter and at the 2013 Public Management Research Conference, Madison, Wisconsin (June 2013). The public opinion data on citizen satisfaction and stated choice and voice behaviour with liberalised services of general interest across the EU has been analysed and have been presented at several conferences. Most recently, several experiments have been done to look at the effects of introducing choice and voice on citizen attitudes.
A working paper ‘Choice and Equality –Citizens Switching Behaviour in Liberalised Public Service Markets Across the EU’ (COCOPS Working Paper 10, Jan 2013) and a policy brief ‘Satisfaction, Voice and Choice in European Public Services’ (COCOPS European Policy Brief, Feb 2013) have been produced. These draw on our analysis of developments in citizens’ perspective on regulated industries.
The policy brief reports the findings comparing citizen satisfaction with key public services across a set of important social and economic characteristics, which revealed important differences between types of consumer. Their satisfaction with access to key public services based on our analysis of Eurobarometer data a shows satisfaction with access is quite high for all the services, except gas, which is partly due to geographical supply lines being limited. The satisfaction with price is generally lower than satisfaction with access and is especially low for gas. We find that satisfaction and voice behaviour about services is influenced by educational level and occupation, suggesting that there are some categories of disadvantaged consumers that are benefiting less from liberalised public services than others. In addition, higher satisfaction is often related with a more active behaviour in terms of complaining, reflected again the closed positive relation between voice, involvement, participation, consumption and satisfaction. A more in-depth looks into how satisfaction, voice and choice are empirically related requires more detailed and longitudinal data which Eurobarometer could in future provide.
The role of citizens and the manner in which they can participate both shapes and is shaped by wider reform trends in the public sector. Access to public services, choice in service providers and the ability of the public as citizens and/or customers to voice their opinions all have an effect on the perceived efficacy of public services.
COCOPS research shows that behaviour and satisfaction of citizens with public services is largely dependent on socioeconomic characteristics such as gender, age, education, employment and area of residence. The elderly, unemployed and lower educated are the most vulnerable groups in expressing voice, choice and satisfaction with services. Citizen heterogeneity is posing difficulties for regulators in protecting all groups of citizens in an environment of increasingly liberalised delivery of services. We also found that the gap between lesser and better educated service users, in terms of actual switching behaviour, widens once a considerable degree of service liberalization, as evidenced by the number of service providers, has been achieved. We conclude that, under certain conditions, liberalisation reforms can have negative effects on vulnerable citizens’ abilities to exercise choice.
There are significant differences among EU countries and services in terms of consumer satisfaction, although some of these differences appear to have lessened over time. Results and trends also depend on the dimension of satisfaction that is considered, such as accessibility, affordability, quality of provision and more. However, an in-depth look into how satisfaction, choice and choice are empirically related requires more detailed and longitudinal data, which sources such as Eurobarometer could in future provide.
The WP4 team convened a workshop at the ECPR joint sessions were first results of the empirical analysis were presented. A descriptive report of trends in citizen satisfaction was published (deliverable 4.1). Furthermore a working paper (no. 2) on the effects of liberalisation reforms on citizen satisfaction has been published. Further academic outputs based on the findings of deliverable 4.1 include a journal article in the ‘Annals of Cooperative and Public Economics’ and one in ‘Public Management Review’. Further papers are under review, including one paper on perceptions of doctor choice in 23 European Countries, one on equality in access to infrastructure services across the EU15, one on the equality effects of service liberalisation reforms on citizen satisfaction, and one on equality and citizen switching behaviour in the EU25. We have furthermore provided evidence to a Dutch parliamentary investigation committee on the effects of privatisation and liberalisation.
Towards the end of the project, we have also set up a number of experiments. In one of these, we ask if local government politicians’ choice of delivering a public service using delegation through a contract with a private firm reduces the extent to which they are seen as responsible and/or blamed by local citizens when services fail. We conducted an experiment giving all participants a realistic, hypothetical, scenarios of service failure using photographs of poor quality street maintenance. We then present them with information cues from hypothetical local government’s website. We randomly allocated four cues about service delivery: no information service delivery structures; local politicians’ direct involvement managing delivery within the local government; provision with local politicians delegating to a unit within the local government managing delivery; and provision with local politicians delegating through a contract to a privately-owned firm managing delivery. We hypothesised that delegation to a private company reduces citizens’ attributions of local politicians’ responsibility and blame for the service failure relative to no information about provision. The delegation within the local government cue, as opposed to by contracting with the private firm, allows delegation effects to be separately identified as well as contracting out effects. We further hypothesised that making citizens aware of local politicians’ direct involvement in delivery will increase citizens’ attributions of local politicians’ responsibility and blame. We conducted the experiment in the UK using an online panel of 1000 citizen participants. We found that making citizens aware of politicians’ direct role in managing delivery increases their blame of politicians for service failure, but that neither delegation within local government nor contracting out reduces assessments of responsibility or blame. These findings suggest that local politicians are not able to use contracting as a strategy to avoid blame. The experiment is being replicated using a citizen sample in the UK using a real case of performance failure in street maintenance. In a second experiment, we looked at the choice-overload hypothesis which states that increasing the number of alternatives reduces people’s motivation to choose. Possible adverse effects of choice-overload in public service markets have been discussed repeatedly, however, an empirical evaluation whether this holds true is missing. In this study, we extent and test the theory of choice-overload by investigating whether or not increasing the number of providers of public services in the US electricity sector has detrimental effects on peoples’ motivation to switch their provider after a service failure. In the survey experiment the number of service providers within a hypothetical service failure scenario was randomly varied. Results suggest that increasing provider choice, indeed, reduces people’s likelihood of switching away from a poor performing provider by 10 percentage points. These findings also hold when replicating the experiment with an independent online sample. Thus our results indicate that increasing provider choice in public service markets causally influences people’s motivation to switch away from poor performing public services. In turn, this may lead to a situation where citizens are being locked-in with poor services. These findings also tie in with the objectives of WP6 and 8 and more particular the way citizens' views of contracted out public services in the future public sector.
Work Package 5 - The governance of social cohesion: innovative coordination practices in public management
The Work Package 5 (WP5) “The Governance of Social Cohesion: Innovative Coordination Practices in Public Management” started in April 2012 and was finalised in June 2013. WP5 focused on searching and identifying innovative coordination practices and related steering instruments in public management in European public sectors, analysing their functioning and assessing their contribution to countering public sector fragmentation and delivering public value. The WP was led by the University of Bergen (Professor Per Lægreid and Dr. Lise H. Rykkja) in close cooperation with Tallinn University of Technology (Professor Tiina Randma-Liiv and Dr. Kulli Sarapuu). In total eleven COCOPS partners were engaged in WP5. In addition, four non-COCOPS researchers working on the public sector coordination contributed to the study of emerging coordination practices. WP5 has produced three deliverables:
• An online community of practice. The community of practice is a virtual solution that gives practitioners the opportunity to read case-study examples of coordination instruments, to comment on them, to ask questions and respond to the general discussion on topics related to coordination within the public sector. The online community of practice was launched in cooperation with the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (www.iias-iisa.org) and can be found at: http://www.pa-knowledge.org/focus/focus-coordination-in-the-public-sector/
• A case-study catalogue. The case-study catalogue is a set of 22 novel coordination practices identified and analysed by the WP5 partners that feeds into the community of practice. The case-study catalogue presents a useful set of information from the participating countries, both for public administration practitioners and researchers. The case-study catalogue published on the COCOPS webpage: http://www.cocops.eu/work-packages/wp5-coordinating-social-cohesion/case-studycatalogue
• A policy brief. A practitioner-oriented policy brief was compiled based on the findings of WP5 presented in this report. The policy brief can be found at: http://www.cocops.eu/work-packages/wp5-coordinating-social-cohesion
• A Final Report. The research report gives an overview of the conceptual framework of WP5, introduces its empirical sources and methods and summarizes the main findings and their policy implications. It provides results from the COCOPS survey regarding different coordinating issues and an outline of the 22 coordination practices investigated by the WP5 partners and published in the case-study catalogue. The report mainly has a descriptive purpose, giving an empirical overview of how the top civil servants perceived coordination challenges, and of emerging coordinating practices in public management in European countries. The scope and intensity of the coordinating practices are described as well as perceived effects and lessons learned.
Results from the COCOPS survey demonstrated that collaboration and cooperation among different public-sector organisations has been an important reform trend over the past five years. Nevertheless, it is difficult to assess its actual effect on policy coherence and coordination. Coordination issues are important in the administrative executives’ understanding of their own role, and they are also high on the reform agenda. Many executives face important coordination challenges, and novel coordination mechanisms are sought to address these problems. However, the effects of the different reform measures on coordination remain contested. The survey further reveals that public-sector executives face challenges, especially regarding horizontal coordination, i.e. coordination among national bodies from different policy areas. At the same time, they mainly try to solve inter-organisational coordination problems by referring such issues upwards in the hierarchy. However, this is not likely to be a sufficient coordination mechanism for handling cross-boundary problems. Another (or complementary) strategy would be setting up cross-cutting work and project groups on an ad hoc basis. The survey data show that these are also rather important instruments to resolve coordination problems.
The coordinating practices did not represent a coherent set of ideas and tools. Because the high variation, and also due to our selection method, it has not been possible to identify a typical coordination practice, nor generalise in a statistical sense from the case studies. However, it is possible to detect qualitatively positive, negative as well as unintended effects of coordination practices, and to draw lessons from the recently emerged coordination practices. One puzzle is that although coordination was deemed important in different countries and new instruments were introduced, their results tended to be mixed. It appears that the task of bringing different public-sector actors together was not an easy task and presented high demands on administrative executives. This finding is supported by the survey results. On the one hand joint working, getting public organisations to work together and collaboration and cooperation reforms was listed among the most important role perceptions and reform trends. On the other hand the evaluation of the state of affairs regarding coordination was much more differentiated. Despite considerable attention to the coordination issues, only 35% of the responding executives found that policy coherence and coordination in their own policy area had actually improved over the last five years. As much as 31% stated that coordination had in fact deteriorated.
The coordination practices identified by the partners within the COCOPS WP5 indicate high variation and multi-dimensionality of the novel instruments used in European states for integrating their public sectors and organisations. They vary from “soft”, voluntary, bottom-up, informal arrangements to “hard”, compulsory top-down and formal instruments. Different combinations of these basic attributes characterise the coordination practices. The coordination arrangements are found to be fluid and their characteristics change over time reflecting complex processes of layering, conversion and drift. This variety reflects three aspects of the emergence of the new coordination practices. First, they are usually introduced as a reaction to certain problems perceived by key politico-administrative actors. Often, they are initiated by politicians and the definition of problems is political which might challenge the need for a multi-actor setting to handle the wicked issues that need to integrate multiple definitions and solutions. Second, the choice of coordination arrangements often happens in a rather ad hoc and pragmatic way. The introduction of new practices is rather seldom related to a systematic analysis of the existing administrative arrangements, their strengths, weaknesses and interaction. Third, the existing institutional structures, resources available to different actors, and politico-administrative relationships have a strong influence on the way the arrangements emerge, develop and how they function. Thus, context is a very important factor to understand why and how different practices are set up, how they are received and how they develop. This corresponds to the findings of COCOPS WP1, where a meta-analysis of NPM impacts was carried out. This exercise revealed that contextual factors were crucial in many country studies in assessing the impact of NPM.
A first set of outputs have been presented at the EGPA conferences, and at a dedicated panel at the IRSPM Conferences. Earlier, an Elsevier book on ‘New Steering Instruments’ has already brought together chapters by various partners, and a number of papers have been presented. The book “Organizing for Coordination in the Public Sector. Practices and Lessons from 12 European Countries” will be published shortly by Palgrave, and two special issues of the Public Management Review and the International Review of Administrative Sciences are underway.
Resources and deviations
WP5 started slightly early because the activities aligned very well with partners’ other research activities. The Work Package ended on time. There have been no major deviations to the use of resources. The team of the University of Bergen have made use of own resources for most of the travel expenses in 2013 and also for research assistance. All assigned COCOPS partners have delivered on WP5 and in addition some non COCOPS authors have contributed with case studies.
Work Package 6 - New public management and emerging trends and effects on policy cohesion and social cohesion
Work Package 6 officially started in March 2013, but preliminary work exploring the literature around social cohesion and examining the exogenous determinants of variations in social cohesion began in 2011. The focus of WP6 is primarily on the impact of New Public Management-style reforms on social cohesion. More generally, though, it has dealt with the relationship between public administration and the cohesiveness of society. Members of the Cardiff and Erasmus teams met in Rotterdam during the week commencing 2nd April 2013 to discuss the integrative stage of the WP that brings together relevant findings from the other WPs, the proposed interviews with key European stakeholders and the analysis of relevant European datasets. Further meetings were held in Cardiff in May between the team members based in Wales regarding this, and subsequently in June between Andrews and Jilke on the same issues.
During the past thirty years or so, governments across Europe have grown ever more accustomed to developing initiatives to enhance the performance of key institutions and organisations. At the same time as being subject to the introduction of wide-ranging management reforms, many of those institutions and organisations are now increasingly charged with responding effectively to complex and intractable social problems. Amongst the so-called “wicked issues” public organisations are expected to address is the cohesiveness of the societies that they serve. In fact, European governments have implemented a swathe of initiatives designed to prompt public organisations to devote more energy to addressing the supposed centrifugal tendencies associated with globalisation and the breakdown of traditional social structures. Coordination problems have been at the core of reform efforts in European public sectors, and governments have taken different approaches to addressing these coordination issues in a way that promotes cohesion in the public sector and in society as a whole. These coordination efforts encompass different aspects of the public sector and the policy process, including policy design, implementation and management, both horizontally (within government levels and between ministries) and vertically (between governmental levels). In practice, these coordination efforts should lead to fairer treatment of citizens and better access to services, whilst also maintaining a balance between equity and efficiency. In this context, the main objective is to analyse emerging trends in social cohesion, beginning with socio-economic influences on social solidarity and social order in Europe before evaluating whether public management matters. To do so, the work package draws upon primary and secondary research carried out in the COCOPS Work Packages 1-5, and blends this with analysis of Eurobarometer data and interviews with European policy-makers carried out specifically for Work Package 6.
Two papers by Rhys Andrews on the socio-economic determinants of social cohesion in urban and rural areas in England have been accepted for publication, one in Rural Sociology and one in European Urban and Regional Studies. Andrews’ and Steven Van de Walle’s paper using existing data on ‘NPM and citizens’ perceptions of local service efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness and equity has been published in Public Management Review. Andrews has also produced a paper with James Downe and Valeria Guarneros-Meza on the use of performance contracts to prompt public service organisations to improve social cohesion. The initial version of this paper was presented at the 2011 EGPA Conference and a revised version was recently accepted for publication in Policy & Politics. A further paper by Andrews on the relationship between ‘Managing inward and outward’ and social cohesion was presented at the 2013 Political Studies Association Conference and was recently published in Public Performance and Management Review. Andrews, Downe and Guarneros-Meza have also produced a study of the impact of public management reforms across Europe and social cohesion drawing upon the WP3 survey data, which was presented at the 2013 IRSPM conference, and is currently under review at Public Management Review.
Andrews, Sebastian Jilke and Van de Walle have been working on a study using Eurobarometer data which analyses the separate and combined effects of economic strain and institutional trust on perceptions of social cohesion in the EU25. This piece has been published by the European Journal of Political Research. Andrews and Jilke have done follow-up work using the same dataset to analyse the relationship between the quality of public services and social cohesion in Europe, which is being prepared for submission to an international journal. Andrews has also been working with Sorin Dan on an article using the WP1 dataset to review the effects of public management reforms on public service equity, which will be presented at the 2014 EGPA conference.
The work package has also drawn upon the executive survey data from WP3. Some findings suggest that fair treatment of citizens is an important value in public services with implications for social cohesion. Very few top public executives indicate that fair treatment has deteriorated. The largest improvements in fair treatment of citizens are perceived by executives in Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia and Serbia, all CEE countries. Additionally, data from the COCOPS public executive survey indicates that some public executives, when asked to make a trade-off, clearly opt for efficiency driven approaches (e.g. from the UK, and Hungary) while others claim that equity considerations have to be more important (such as executives from Finland and Lithuania). The findings also suggest first that social cohesion is largely determined by socio-economic disadvantage and that the economic strain associated with the financial crisis has also had a detrimental effect on the cohesiveness of European societies. At the same time, public management also matters, with some reforms and practices found to have beneficial effects for social solidarity and social order – though some others were found to have a negative effect. Since it seems that public management can make a positive difference to the cohesiveness of society, there is good reason for the countries of the EU to continue to invest in developing better policies aimed at promoting social cohesion.
Resources and deviations
Cardiff and Erasmus started working earlier on this WP because it aligned very well with other research interests.
Work Package 7 - The financial crisis in the public sector as an emerging coordination challenge
The official start of the WP 7 was in July 2012 and as most of the preparatory tasks for launching the work package were carried out in the first reporting period, the substantial work started from the very beginning of July 2012. In summer 2012, the final work plan of WP7 was disseminated and affiliated partners from University of Vilnius, University of Iceland, Queen’s University Belfast, University College Dublin and University of Ljubljana confirmed their participation in WP7. The main question addressed in this work package is how governments have responded to the global crisis which started in 2008. The global financial, economic and fiscal crisis is undoubtedly the most important and urgent problem that Western countries face today, and it will continue to be a challenging issue for several years to come. The main research interest is therefore to investigate 1. how different countries have responded to the crisis, and 2. to find out what impact the global crisis has on public administration. This means that fiscal crisis is treated as an independent variable explaining the possible changes in systems of public administration. The research focus is not on explaining the crisis per se but on providing insights about the effects that the crisis has brought along. The work package is firstly informative as the fiscal consolidation measures and the cutback decisions taken in the European countries have been put forth. . Secondly, it compares the outcomes of different countries and proposes explanations for the similarities and differences that occurred in the fiscal consolidation measures taken in different countries. To this end, not only the contents of the government measures are considered, but also the political decision-making processes that led up to these measures. In addition to financial and economic explanatory factors also political-administrative factors and external influences that affected the consolidation process are used. The third objective is to analyse what were the effects of the fiscal consolidation and cutback decisions on public administration itself and whether administrative and public management practices have been affected by the fiscal crisis and cutbacks.
The first deliverable of WP7, a literature review on cutback management was completed by the Tallinn team (Ringa Raudla, Riin Savi and Tiina Randma-Liiv) and it was launched as COCOPS working paper in March 2013. Partners provided valuable feedback for the completion of the literature review. The review has already received broad-based attention by academics and it has served as a reference point to numerous scholarly articles in cutback management discourse. During the reporting period a great deal of the effort has been addressed at the preparation of the second deliverable of WP7, the trend report. During the process 10 country reports providing analytical descriptions of the national governments’ responses to the crisis in a particular country have been prepared by COCOPS partners in February 2013.In addition, 11 academic country case studies focusing on the analysis of consolidation measures and the impact of the crisis on public administration have been finalized both by official COCOPS partners and affiliated partners by April 2013. The case studies integrate the information and analysis prepared for the short country reports, and provide more in-depth analysis of the national responses to the crisis, and hence serve as an important input to the trend report. Important deliverables of the work package are five workshops that served as a platform for forwarding and discussing the preliminary results of the undertaken research.
The first national workshop in Estonia “Cutback Management strategies at the Street Level” was held on 27 February 2013 in Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance (RNI) at Tallinn University of Technology (TUT). During the workshop the practitioners from several Estonian ministries and agencies and TUT research fellows discussed on the implications on the government cutback strategies to the street level workers in Estonian agencies. Altogether eight civil servants and four research fellows from TUT participated the event. Riin Savi made a presentation on the initial COCOPS research results on the main responses to cutbacks in Estonian agencies; discussion was led by senior research fellow Ringa Raudla (RNI).
The second national workshop in Estonia is related to the conference “The Impact of the Fiscal Crisis on Public Administration” held on 3-4 May 2013 in Tallinn, Estonia. During the national workshop the preliminary results of the country case studies presented in the conference by the COCOPS partners were discussed and debated on. The workshop was attended by more than a dozen of high level practitioners from Estonian public sector, who changed ideas on the implications of the crisis to public administration in European countries during the event. Among the participating top civil servants were Jüri Ratas, the Vice-President of the Estonian Parliament; Kadri Maasik, the Deputy Secretary General from the Ministry of Education and Research; Urmet Lee, a senior auditor from the National Audit Office of Estonia; Kerli Lorvi, a chief specialist from the Estonian Ministry of Interior; Siim Alatalu, a department head from the Estonian Ministry of Defense.
Thirdly, a top level meeting on the cutback management was held in Rome on 27 June 2013. The seminar was jointly promoted by COCOPS and the Italian Public Administration Department, held in the premises of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Italy. The speakers and discussants of the seminar were Edoardo Ongaro, Philippe Bezes from the COCOPS project, also Elio Borgonovi and Pia Marconi (top manager of the Public Administration Department and Representative of Italy in OECD Public Governance). The workshop was attended by more than eighty participants, among the others the Minister for Public Administration and the Head of the Public Administration Department, the President of the National School for Public Administration, the President of the Agency for Public Employment. Overall, all the top executives in the administrative policy field in Italy were present.
Fourthly, a cutback management workshop was organized with practitioners from the EMPM programme in Germany at the Hertie School, between 25 and 27 April 2013. The workshop was convened by Jobst Fiedler.
Lastly, COCOPS and the Hertie School of Governance (led by Mark Hallerberg) organized a workshop ‘The Fiscal Compact, Debt Brakes, and Balanced Budget Rules in Europe’, on 9 July 2012, with invited speakers from a number of countries. This workshop brought together policy-makers and academics to discuss a series of questions concerning the fiscal rules emerging during the crisis.
A high-level COCOPS WP7 related conference “Impact of the Fiscal Crisis on Public Administration” was organized by the Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance at Tallinn University of Technology and the journal Halduskultuur – Administrative Culture conference on 3-4 May 2013 in Tallinn, Estonia. The conference was attended by more than 50 researchers all over Europe. During the conference the preliminary results of the country case studies were presented also by the COCOPS partners (5 COCOPS core partners and 4 affiliated partners) in five sessions. In addition, COCOPS WP7 related panels have been prepared during the reporting period in several high level conferences: “The Impact of Fiscal Crisis on Public Management and Governance” chaired by Walter Kickert and Tiina Randma-Liiv at IRSPM conference in Rome 11-13 April 2012; “The Impact of the Fiscal Crisis on Governmental Decision-Making” chaired by Tiina Randma-Liiv and Walter Kickert and “Budgetary Responses to the Fiscal Crisis: Changes in Budgeting Practices and Institutions” chaired by Ringa Raudla at the ECPR conference in Bordeaux 4-7 September 2013; Joint ASPA-NASPAA-NISPAcee Study Group on Cutback Management at the co-chaired by Ringa Raudla at 22nd NISPAcee Annual conference 22-24 May 2014. It is important to notice that all the prementioned events have attracted the interest of numerous researchers outside the COCOPS project from different countries.
As a result of the conference related research and outreach activities a special issue with the journal Halduskultuur ─ Administrative Culture based on the selected papers presented at the Tallinn 2013 conference has been published (http://halduskultuur.eu/journal/index.php/HKAC/issue/view/16). In addition, a symposium will be published in the International Review of Administrative Sciences and International Public Management Journal.
The main results of the research confirm that the financial crisis related budgetary pressures on governments and the public sector, has pushed cutback management to the forefront in public sector reform. Responses to the crisis have, however, been diverse and highly dependent on country-specific and contextual factors. Several general lessons can be derived from these different approaches:
• Short-term budget savings may lead to longer-term costs due to decreased capacity, expertise or other factors.
• Cutbacks require rational decision-making and expertise, but this comes at a time where the capacity for this expertise is also limited.
• Political priority setting will be necessary to ensure long-term savings as across-the-board or incremental cuts provide only temporary fiscal relief.
• Country- and context-specific factors mean that governments will have to tailor fiscal solutions to the specific policy or country case.
• Complex linkages between countries and policy areas will require more consideration of the role and power of other actors and international institutions in shaping public sector reform.
• These budgetary pressures coincide with other public sector needs such as increasing legitimacy and public trust in the institutions.
Resources and deviations
In general the use of resources has run as planned. Still, slightly more time on WP10 related dissemination activities has been necessary due to big interest for the initial WP3 and WP7 results from the practitioner’s side.
Work Package 8 - Futures and scenarios in public sector reform
Work package 8 summarises findings from previous work packages and distils major trends from this material. In addition, it collects new evidence to provide insights into trends and developments in European public sectors. This happens through an extensive range of stakeholder and expert interviews and surveys. The Work Package started a couple of months ahead of schedule. The first outputs of the work package focused on critical reviews of academic and practitioner literature on future trends and scenarios in European public administration in an attempt to generalise the state of the discipline as it relates to the future of public sector reform. A significant portion of COCOPS Work Package 8 was devoted to examining perceptions on the future of the public sector and public sector reform in different countries and across Europe as a whole. This drew on the expertise of numerous groups involved with public administration, including academics, public sector executives, trade union representatives and consultants. In addition, presentations undertaken within the work package aimed to disseminate and discuss the results of this research. Presentations to academic conferences, practitioner workshops and events that straddled the academic/practitioner line were delivered and continue to be planned. Some of these events were standalone presentations, whereas others were part of larger conferences or other COCOPS matters. Through these discussions, the presentations and workshops aimed to increase dialogue between different groups working in the public sector and public sector research, analyse potential internal and external factors that may affect the public sector and develop scenarios and ways to address potential issues. In addition to a policy brief and four reports, five presentations of future-looking research have been given and two blog posts have been written on the topic. Further dissemination of this research is ongoing, including further practitioner-oriented articles and potential development of academic courses based on the COCOPS research.
In surveys and interviews with public sector executives, trade unions and consultants and academics, all groups agreed that the biggest driver of public sector reform and change in the past five years – both positively and negatively – has been the economic/financial crisis and subsequent measures designed to address it. On one hand, the crisis has forced governments to reconsider budgets and has led to reduced costs of service delivery and increased creativity in dealing with public sector issues in a cost-efficient manner. On the other hand, respondents believe that the same budget cuts have decreased the motivation of public servants and the attractiveness of the public sector as an employer, and played a role in the perceived decrease in social cohesion. Respondents in all areas felt this austerity-driven public sector reform would continue at least in the immediately foreseeable future. In the near and not-so-near future, trends in public administration will continue to be driven by other external factors that will shape how the public sector must react.
These larger, external megatrends will in turn have a significant effect on the nature of the public sector and further reform in how public administration is practiced. Practitioners and academics had differing perspectives on what trends will shape public administration and public sector reform in the next five years, but there was some agreement that these trends would largely be a continuation of existing moves in public sector reform. Much of the focus of practitioners centres on service delivery and innovation in that regard. They look at moves towards further privatization and public procurement as ways of delivering services, while also highlighting increasing centralisation and development of cooperation and collaboration between different actors in delivering policy. To a somewhat lesser extent, academics also saw an increasing focus on cooperation and collaboration in the public sector. Public sector executives saw this trend being a continuation of reforms already enacted. Digitalization was seen by practitioners – executives, trade unions and consultants – as an increasing trend closely linked to transparency, openness, and to a lesser extent, improved service quality. This was somewhat reflected in academic surveys as well.
An online and paper survey of approximately 1250 academics in 35 European countries was conducted, soliciting their opinions on public administration journals, the state of the discipline and trends in public administration in their country. The results of this survey will feed into multiple journal articles looking at public administration journal quality, the comparative nature of the discipline across countries, perceptions of the future of the discipline and key issues affecting the nature of public administration in a European context. A literature review on perceptions of the future of public administration as a discipline and in practice has also been completed. In addition to the larger trends expected in public sector practice, the way in which public administration is studied and understood is also set to change. Public administration as an academic discipline is viewed somewhat differently in different European countries, but several overall trends can be seen about the direction in which the discipline is heading.
Academic respondents felt that the strongest trends in the discipline were a movement towards more international comparison, interdisciplinarity, thematic specialisation and quantitative analysis. On the other end of the spectrum, academics felt that qualitative analysis, practitioner-orientated research and theory-building research were the least significant trends in shaping the discipline. This does not always reflect the direction in which academics feel the discipline should be moving. While they do feel that international comparison and interdisciplinary research are important, academics also felt that there should be more emphasis placed on theory building and qualitative research.
In a separate paper, Pollitt reflected on the future of the discipline, and the fading dominance of the Anglosphere. Elsewhere, he also took an outside-in perspective on the future of public administration, asking what the most probable and salient external influences on public sector reform will be, and then looks at how, and how far, practitioners and academics are addressing them. He also looked at how far, during the current austerity, EU governments appear to have taken decisions consonant with adaptation to these external trends. The overall conclusion is that EU government responses to foreseeable external trends have been limited and patchy. Many official studies of climate change, technological change and demographic change have been produced, but concrete responses in terms of resource allocations and public management reforms do not seem to have been very substantial.
Resources and deviations
Because it was decided to change the data collection structure of this work package (survey and in-depth interviews rather than just the Delphi study), combined with increased investments in the analysis of the futures oriented elements of the WP 3 survey, it was decided to implement a number of minor budget reallocations.
Work package 9 – Project administration and management
The management of the project took less time than originally intended. Resources have been reallocated in consultation with the project officer. A project management board meeting has been held on 10 September 2013, prior to the EGPA conference, attended by the project officer.
There have been a number of additional meetings of the management to discuss progress. These were held on: 29 August (conference call); 11 September (Edinburgh); 28 October (Vilnius); 5 November (Vilnius); 23 January (Berlin); 24 March (Brussels); 31 March (Berlin); 29 April (conference call); 6 May (conference call); 4 June (conference call); 11 June (Leuven)
In terms of personnel, a number of temporary junior researchers joined the team during the final year of the project to assist in analysing data.
The attached graph shows how the number of actual working months corresponds to the original number of months in the project proposal. It shows that consortium partners have invested heavily in the work packages, and have in some cases overinvested in some the research work. This is especially the case for work packages 3 and 1. Management took less time than expected, and funds have been reallocated. Dissemination also took slightly fewer working months, but this is due to the fact that several partners have registered dissemination activities under RTD.
Work package 10 – Dissemination and coordination of dissemination
See next section.
In the initial bid for the COCOPS project, it was indicated that the research and dissemination activities are geared primarily aimed at:
• developing this knowledge base through integration of the major research institutions in the field in Europe,
• raising awareness among policy-makers and the public management reform community of practice in Europe, including the interested public,
• influencing public management reform practice by spurring a debate among practitioners.
The project proved to be highly valued by policy makers, and especially those involved in public sector reform. This means much of the output generated by COCOPS was also read by public sector practitioners. Within the wider objectives of the COCOPS project, the impacts of the project can be divided into three main groups.
• Impact on the subject matter - public sector reform
• Impact on policy makers
• Impact on the research discipline
Impact on the subject matter - public sector reform
The main contribution of the COCOPS project to the discipline obviously consists of the research findings. Impact of public sector reforms has always been a topic where evidence has mainly been mono-national and qualitative. Through the investments of the COCOPS research partners, an increasing number of studies and articles are being published with a strong evidence-base on various aspects of public sector reforms across European countries.
Impact on policy makers
The COCOPS project is receiving increasing attention from policy circles. This is evident from a large number of presentations and practitioner publications. Researchers have been invited to numerous public sector practitioner fora to present their work. On a European level, this is best visible in COCOPS’ continued presence at the meetings of EUPAN, the European Public Administration Network, where practitioners who lead on public sector reform meet several times a year. Several researchers have presented their findings at these meeting. We have also noticed that the findings of the work packages 3 and 7 attract particular interest, and work package 5 has even resulted in the creation of an online community of practice in collaboration with the International Institute of Administrative Sciences. Findings from the COCOPS project are also used in executive training programmes. A large high-level practitioner workshop will be organised in December 2013.
Impact on the research discipline
Creation of new datasets. One of the main impacts of the COCOPS project will be the creation of joint international datasets. The previous mid-term report already mentioned the work package 1 dataset of reports, documents and analyses on the impact of NPM. In the meantime, work package 3 is developing a large survey dataset which will become an open access research resource at the end of the project. Interest in the data beyond the project partners is already massive. Finally, the case study catalogue on public sector collaboration is attracting interest beyond the research team. In addition, the international and large-scale dimension of the project has stimulated various partners to invest heavily in the development of new analytical skills. This includes statistical multilevel data-analysis, and the use of bibliometric tools.
Network building. In addition to the research described in the work packages, the COCOPS project has greatly increased network building among researchers. This is the case both for the researchers within the project who have stepped up collaboration, and are already exploring new joint projects; and for researchers outside the project. Several of the work packages have attracted great external interest, and a number of researchers based at universities not part of the consortium have voluntarily joined COCOPS. Such collaborations have already been discussed in the previous midterm reports for work package 1. With regard to work package 3, the survey of top senior public sector executives, interest of external parties has been massive, and various researchers and public sector bodies have committed to replicating the survey in their own countries. The same goes for work package 5 on public sector coordination where several researchers not formally part of COCOPS are now also contributing to a book volume, and a formal collaboration with the International Institute of Administrative Sciences has been set up. Finally, work package 7 on the effects of the fiscal crisis has resulted in the creation of a new informal research network of public administration researchers who are interested in the fiscal crisis, and has also resulted in new research projects. In addition to these developments, the European Group for Public Administration is actively supporting COCOPS, and considers the project as a project that is important for the entire discipline. During the final academic conference, representatives from similar pan European research projects have been invited to explore how synergies could be reached. Examples include the FP7 LIPSE and WILCO projects, the LocRef Cost action, and the Quality of Government Institute.
Main dissemination activities
While the full list of outputs form the COCOPS project is available through the electronic participant portal, we will below outline some of the main outputs and dissemination activities.
To facilitate fast dissemination of findings prior to the publication of articles of chapters, key findings have been made available through a COCOPS working paper series. Gradually, the working paper series has been discontinued as more reports and articles became available. A total of 15 working papers have been published
Development of the Project website
Since we started counting visitors (1 October 2011), the COCOPS site (www.cocops.eu) had just under 13000 visitors (of which 37% returning), and over 60000 page views. The visitors mainly came from the following ten countries (in order of importance): Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Norway, France, and the United States. Outside the EU, visitors mainly came from the US, Turkey and Canada. Visitors mainly looked for academic publications, working papers, research reports, the list of partners and information about the top executive survey. The website also provides access to the WP1 and WP2 databases, and the WP5 community of practice
People who are interested in following the works of COCOPS can register for our email newsletter through the website. It currently has 569 subscribers, a 36% increase compared to one year ago.
Media and social media
COCOPS has disseminated findings through media and social media where appropriate. A press release was issued at the beginning of the project which was picked up by various media (see the table for a full list), and some other key events also received public attention, for instance European Commissioner Šefčovič’ speech at our high level practitioner conference.
Consortium members, including the coordinator, use Twitter to communicate findings (@StevenVdWalle; @sebjilke), and COCOPS reports and events have attracted various retweets and mentions on twitter (see https://twitter.com/search?q=cocops&src=typd for some recent results).
The original intention to start a COCOPS blog was abandoned for cost-benefit reasons because various other initiatives have been launched at the same time which would have made it very difficult to attract a distinctive wide audience. COCOPS findings have been made available on e.g. the London School of Economics EUROPP blog, or ESADE’s Public newsletter.
The Facebook page continues to attract followers - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cocops-Coordinating-for-Cohesion-in-the-Public-Sector-of-the-Future/188831827810365. It now has 156 likes (a 40% increase compared to the second midterm report), and is used to post new reports and conference calls. In addition, most COCOPS researchers are active on Facebook and use their own feeds to communicate about new reports and articles.
Various journals and professional magazines have also devoted articles to COCOPS findings. Examples include Public Governance, Acteurs publics, Sprank, Il Sole 24 Ore, or Virtueel Bestuur. A number of regular newspapers have also referred to the project. The Guardian website for instance featured a contribution on benchmarking and El Pais reported on WP5 on coordination.
The coordinator was repeatedly approached by trade magazines targeting Brussels-based policy makers to prepare paid advertorials. All requests to pay for advertising or communication space in such magazines have been declined.
Series of Policy Briefs
Policy briefs have been written to summarize key findings of the projects, The policy briefs are written for policy makers, and provide easily accessible data and analysis, and are generally quite short (4-6 pages). They are available both in printed and electronic versions, which followed the prescribed EU format. The policy briefs proved to be very useful for dissemination during conferences and events targeting policy makers. The following policy briefs have been produced:
• Policy Brief 1: The Impact of New Public Management (NPM) Reforms in Europe (Dec 2011)
• Policy Brief 2: Satisfaction, Voice and Choice in European Public Services (March 2013)
• Policy Brief 3: Lessons from Emerging Coordination Arrangements in European Public Sectors (May 2013)
• Policy Brief 4: Trends and Impact of Public Administration Reforms in Europe: Views and Experiences from Senior Public Sector Executives (September 2013)
• Policy Brief 5: The responses of European governments to the fiscal crisis (November 2013)
• Policy Brief 6: The impact of public sector reform in Europe on social cohesion (February 2014)
• Policy Brief 7: The Future of Public Administration: Public Sector Reform in Europe (June 2014)
• Policy Brief 8 (final): Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future (July 2014)
COCOPS has produced a set of research reports. These reports are either formal deliverables of the project, or are core outputs associated to one of the work packages. Below is a list of the research reports, sorted by work package
Work Package 1:
• The impacts of the new public management in Europe: A meta-analysis (2011, Pollitt, C. & Dan, S.).
Work Package 2:
• Did New Public Management Matter? An Empirical Analysis of the Outsourcing and Decentralization Effects on Public Sector Size (2012)
Work Package 3:
• COCOPS Executive Survey on Public Sector Reform in Europe (2013, Hammerschmid, G., Oprisor, A. & Štimac, V.)
• Public Administration Reform in Europe – Views and Experiences from Senior Executives in 10 Countries (2013, Hammerschmid, G., Van de Walle, S., Andrews, R., Goernitz, A., Oprisor, A. & Stimac, V.)
• Public Sector Reform in the UK: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2013, Andrews, R., Downe J. & Guarneros-Meza, V.)
• Public Sector Reform in Estonia: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2013, Savi, R. & Metsma, M.)
• Public Sector Reform in France: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2013, Bezes, P. & Jeannot, G.)
• Public Sector Reform in Germany: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2013, Hammerschmid, G., Görnitz, A., Oprisor, A. & Štimac, V.)
• Public Sector Reform in Hungary: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2013, Hajnal, G.)
• Public Sector Reform in Italy: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2013, Ongaro, E., Ferré, F., Galli, D. & Longo, F.)
• Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2014, Boyle, R.)
• Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Views and Experiences from Local Government Senior Executives (2014, Boyle, R.)
• Public Sector Reform in the Netherlands: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2013, Jilke, S., Van de Walle, S. & Van Delft, R.)
• Public Sector Reform in Norway: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2013, Lægreid, P., Nordø, Å.D. & Rykkja, L.H.)
• Public Management Work Context and Reforms in Serbia: Results from a large scale Survey of Senior Public Executives (2013, Štimac, V. & Lazarević, M.)
• Public Sector Reform in Spain: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives (2013, Alonso, J.M. & Clifton, J.)
Work Package 4:
• Regulatory reform for services of general interest and trends in citizen satisfaction (2012, Clifton, J., Diaz-Fuentes, D., Fernandez-Guiterrez, M., James, O., Jilke S. & Van de Walle, S.)
Work Package 5:
• The Governance of Social Cohesion: Innovative Coordination Practices in Public Management (2013, Lægreid, P., Randma-Liiv, T., Rykkja, L.H. & Sarapuu, K.)
Work Package 6:
• Public management reforms and emerging trends and effects on social cohesion in Europe (2013, Andrews, R., Downe, J., Guarneros-Meza, V., Jilke, S. & Van de Walle, S.)
Work Package 7:
• Literature Review on Cutback Management (2013, Raudla, R., Savi & R., Randma-Liiv, T.)
• Fiscal Consolidation in Europe: Comparative Analysis (2013, Kickert, W., Randma-Liiv, T. & Savi, R.)
• Stroobants, J., Troupin, S. & Steen, T.: The global financial crisis in the public sector as an emerging coordination challenge: Country report for Belgium
• Savi, R. – Country note: Estonia
• Goernitz, A. & Hammerschmid, G. – Country note: Germany
• Albert, V., Bezes, P. & LeLidec, P. – Country note: France
• Hajnal, G. – Country data sheet: Hungary
• Kickert, W. – Country note: the Netherlands
• Lægreid, P. – Impact of the global financial crisis that started in 2008 on Norway: No fiscal crises and cut-back management
• Clifton, J. & Alonso, J.M. – The global financial crisis in the public sector as an emerging coordination challenge: Spain
• James, O. & Nakamura, A. – The global financial crisis in the public sector as an emerging coordination challenge. Short Country Report: UK
• Troupin, S. & Stroobants, J. & Steen, T. – The impact of the fiscal crisis on Belgian federal government: changes in the budget decision-making process and intra-governmental relations
• Savi, R. & Randma-Liiv, T. – Public policy making in time of crisis: cutback management in Estonia
• Jobst, F., Hammerschmid, G. & Osterheld, M. – The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Public Administration – Country Report Germany
• Hajnal, G. – Fiscal consolidation in Hungary
• Kristinsson, G.H. – Iceland After the Revolution. The Impact of Crisis on Governance
• MacCartaigh, M. & Hardiman, N. – State retrenchment and fiscal consolidation in Ireland
• Ongaro, E., Di Mascio, F., Galli, D., Natalini, A. & Stolfi, F. – The impact of the crisis on administrative reform in a ‘context of motion’: Italy 2007-2012
• Pevcin, P. – Fiscal Balance and Public Sector Downsizing in Slovenia
• Kickert, W. – Fiscal consolidation in the Netherlands
Work Package 8:
• Public Administration as an Academic Discipline: Trends and Changes in the COCOPS Academic Survey of European Public Administration Scholars (2014, Curry, D., Van de Walle, S. & Gadellaa, S.)
• Future Trends in European Public Administration and Management: An outside-in Perspective (2014, Pollit, C.)
• Trends for the Future of Public Sector Reform: A Critical Review of Future-looking Research in Public Administration (2014, Curry, D)
• Current and Future Trends in Public Sector Reform: the Views of Trade Unions and Consultants in Ten European Countries (2014, Curry, D., Blijleven, W. & Van de Walle, S.)
COCOPS High Level Practitioner Conference
A High level practitioner conference was organised in December 2013 in order to communicate findings to public sector reform practitioners. The event took place in the Academy Palace in Brussels, in close proximity to the European institutions. Turnout was considerably higher than expected. Speakers included both COCOPS participants, and representatives from various national ministries. The latter included senior public officials who lead or have led public sector reform programmes (e.g. Roel Bekker of the Netherlands, Pia Marconi of Italy, Heiki Loot of Estonia). Both the Deputy Secretary General of OECD and the European commission vice president in charge of administration outlined their views on public sector reform.
COCOPS Final Academic conference.
Near the formal end of the COCOPS project, we organised a concluding academic conference in Leuven (Belgium) on June 10th and 11th. During this conference, the main conclusions of our research on managing and reforming public organizations as well as prospects for future research have been discussed. The COCOPS-network invited a selected number of academic experts to join us in this debate.
The conference, which attracted approximately 75 academics and practitioners (European commission and agencies, OECD, national administrations), consisted of a number of plenary sessions, round tables, and workshops. During the conference, ongoing research papers were discussed, and academics working in comparable projects have been invited to share their views and to explore synergies.
Other conferences targeting public sector practitioners
Apart from these two major conferences, a number of events with a national focus have been organised in various countries. Examples include a conference on budget cuts in The Hague co-organised by the Dutch Ministry of Finance (2014); a high-level workshop on the impact of the fiscal crisis (2014) in Berlin, the second in a series that started in 2012. An event presenting key findings form the WP3 survey at the Italian Ministry of Public Affairs (2013), a conference for Dutch civil servants in Rotterdam in 2011, as well as various smaller presentations at conferences specifically targeting public sector organisations. The proximity of our researchers to public sector practitioners facilitates such presentations. Examples of groups targeted by such presentations include the UK Cabinet office, Institut des hautes études de développement et d’aménagement des territoires en Europe, European Public Administration Network, Institut de la Gestion Publique et du Développement Economique, EIPA, International Labour Organisation, Norwegian Central Agency for Public Management, Institute for Public Administration Australia etc. Public officials from outside Europe have also been targeted through presentations when they were visiting the universities participating in COCOPS for trainings and study visits
In addition, COCOPS co-organised a number of conferences in the discipline. It was for instance co-sponsor of the NISPAcee-EGPA Trans-European Dialogue 5 on the politics of agency governance in Budapest and the HKAC conference 2013 on the Impact of the Fiscal Crisis on Public Administration in Tallinn.
In addition, various workshops and panels have been convened at the main academic conferences in the discipline. Examples include the BAM, IRSPM, ECPR, EGPA etc. Finally, there have obviously been many conference presentations, both at academic conferences, and at research seminars at individual universities. Providing a full list here would be duplicating the electronic database available in the FP7 Participant Portal.
Collaboration with external partners and institutions
COCOPS is also collaborating with various institutional partners to disseminate findings and to expand the current research base. Communication aimed at beneficiaries and co-operation with external parties has also been summarised in the list of dissemination activities submitted through the participant portal.
As of 2013, a very intense collaboration with EUPAN (the European Public Administration Network – the network of DGs of public administration of the EU member states) has started for dissemination purposes. This has started during the Irish EU Presidency, and COCOPS work has also been fed into the EUPAN meetings during the Lithuanian and Greek EU presidencies. Collaboration with the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS) has also been intensified, and IIAS is currently hosting the Community of Practice on Coordination in the Public Sector. The European Group of Public Administration (EGPA) is continuing to provide logistic support for the Project Management Board meetings.
As part of WP3, a number of new collaborations have been set up with universities and government bodies wanting to replicate the survey in their own countries. These new partners are
• Austria: Renate Meyer, Stephan Leixnering, Sophie Melzer (Vienna University of Economics and Business, Institute for Public Management)
• Croatia: Tomislav Mičetić, Mirjana Štraus (Ministry of Public Administration)
• Denmark: Carsten Greve, Niels Ejersbo (Copenhagen Business School)
• Finland: Turo Virtanen (Helsinki University)
• Iceland: Pétur Berg Matthíasson (Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs)
• Ireland: Richard Boyle ( Institute of Public Administration)
• Lithuania: Rasa Snapstiene, Rimantas Rauleckas (Kaunas University of Technology, Department of Public Administration)
• Portugal: Maria Engrácia Cardim, Luis Mota (Technical University of Lisbon, Center for Public Administration and Public Policies)
• Serbia: Irena Cerovic (Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence)
• Sweden: Petter Kockum, Gabriella Jansson (Statskontoret, Swedish Agency for Public Management)
• Switzerland: Reto Steiner, Adrian Ritz (University of Bern, Center of Competence for Public Management)
The professional associations NISPAcee and EGPA have formally supported WP8 through providing address lists and supporting the survey. Furthermore, at the EGPA conferences, the COCOPS project received formal status, and the project meetings have been incorporated into the formal conference programme.
COCOPS researchers have also contributed data to a Dutch Senate investigation of the effects of privatisation.
Academic publications are listed in the main table of publications in the participant portal. A focus on articles in peer-reviewed journals has been at the core of the COCOPS academic dissemination strategy. This includes both individual papers and special issues. Special issues have been published or are currently under review with: Public Management review, International review of Administrative Sciences, International Public Management Journal, and Halduskultuur. In addition, COCOPS researchers are currently preparing a number of edited books to summarise key findings.
• P. Lægreid, K. Sarapuu, L.H. Rykkja, & T. Randma-Liiv (eds), Organizing for Coordination in the Public Sector. Practices and Lessons from 12 European Countries. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
• G. Hammerschmid, S. Van de Walle, R. Andrews & P. Bezes (eds), Public Administration Reforms in Europe: The View from the Top. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
• A book edited by T. Randma on the fiscal crisis.
Articles have been published in Policy & Politics, European Journal of Political Research, Public Administration, Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences, Health Policy, International Review of Administrative Sciences, Accounting, Auditing, and Accountability Journal, International Public Management Journal, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Journal of Regulatory Economics, Public Policy and Administration, Stat og Styring, Vlaams Tijdschrift voor Overheidsmanagement, Openbaar Bestuur, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Public Money and Management, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, International Journal of Public Administration, Public Organization Review, Public Performance & Management Review, International Review of Administrative Sciences, Europe-Asia Studies, European Urban and Regional Studies, Investigaciones Regionales, Bestuurskunde, Public Management Review, Nordiske Organisasjonsstudier, Rural Sociology, Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Halduskultuur, Business History, CIRIEC-España, Revista de Economía Pública, Social y Cooperativa.
The automatic peer reviewed article count in the electronic FP7 submission system is unfortunately incorrect as because the registration system changed halfway. Prior to the change (which happened after our first reporting period), conference papers and articles were included in the same category.
Open access strategy
In line with the ‘open access’ movement, and in order to ensure immediate and unrestricted access to research material, all reports have been made available at the project’s website. In accordance with the open access pilot project of the European Commission, launched in August 2008, and clause 39 of the grant agreement, project partners undertake to deposit peer reviewed research articles or final manuscripts resulting from COCOPS research into their institutional or if unavailable a subject-based repository. They will also make their best efforts to ensure open access to these articles within twelve months after publication. In practice, this means that preprints of most articles produced by COCOPS researchers are available through the COCOPS website. These preprint versions have been deposited in online repositories such as SSRN or RePub- the repository at Erasmus University. The coordinator has actively approached researchers to make such preprints available.
The same goes for datasets. The main datasets are either already available online, or are now being prepared and anonymised for submission to the GESIS social science data archive for future reference and re-utilisation.
Exchanges: the PhD students and postdocs within the COCOPS projects have all used COCOPS funds to travel abroad and spend time at other universities to jointly analyse COCOPS data. In late 2014 and 2015 a number of PhD theses will be finalised, based on COCOPS data (Sorin Dan in Leuven, Sebastian Jilke in Rotterdam, Riin Savi in Tallinn, Anca Oprisor in Berlin), and several other PhD students, while not paid from the COCOPS budget have been able to use data collected within the project. A junior platform of young researchers has been initiated in which all PhD students and postdocs working within COCOPS and external PhD students working on related topics meet. This has resulted in a number of dedicated meetings at academic conferences (E.g. ECPR graduate conference) as well as various social events.
Exploitation of results
The project has not resulted in directly commercially exploitable or patentable results. Instead, findings have been made available free of charge for various public authorities and other researchers. The datasets accompanying WP1, WP3 and WP8 are open access, and researchers are in process of submitting the datasets to the GESIS data archive. This preparation consists of removing variables that would allow identifying participants, and drafting the general rules and conditions regarding the re-utilisation of the data. Data emanating from WP1 is already publicly available through the project website.
Exploitation of results is also happening though providing data and findings to various organisations. Examples include Eurofound which is using data from the COCOPS top Public Executive Survey for a report on how public sectors are dealing with austerity; the Dutch Social and Cultural Planning Office which is preparing a study on public sector efficiency and which is utilising the data. Furthermore various units within OECD have expressed interest in our data for its future Government at a Glance reports. This continued interest reconfirms the attractiveness of the COCOPS project for policy makers and research institutions. A number of government institutions have already commissioned research reports and new projects to allow continued work on COCOPS (e.g. the Raad voor het Openbaar Bestuur in the Netherlands – a government advisory body, and there are talks with the current Italian EU presidency to produce a study on comparative public sector reform). In addition, interest from researchers and government institutions to replicate the WP3 survey in additional countries continues. There have been a number of talks with external funders to sustain these new initiatives (e.g. Bertelmann Foundation, European Social Fund).
List of Websites:
Grant agreement ID: 266887
1 January 2011
30 June 2014
€ 3 394 527,77
€ 2 698 927
ERASMUS UNIVERSITEIT ROTTERDAM
This project is featured in...
Deliverables not available
Grant agreement ID: 266887
1 January 2011
30 June 2014
€ 3 394 527,77
€ 2 698 927
ERASMUS UNIVERSITEIT ROTTERDAM
This project is featured in...
Grant agreement ID: 266887
1 January 2011
30 June 2014
€ 3 394 527,77
€ 2 698 927
ERASMUS UNIVERSITEIT ROTTERDAM