Hollanders, H and Arundel, A and Buligescu, B and Peter, V and Roman, L and Simmonds, P and ES-Sadki, N, Enterprise and Industry, European Commission, European Public Sector Innovation Scoreboard 2013, Public Sector Innovation, Publications Office, European Commission, Belgium (2013) [Government or Industry Research]
The public sector plays a key economic role as regulator,service provider and employer. It accounts for more than 25% of total employment and a significant share of economic activity in the EU27 Member States. Additionally, an efficient and productive public sector can be a strong driver of economic growth through its support for and governance of the private sector. European governments are acknowledging more and more the importance of public sector innovation. There is a consensus across countries and public administrations as to what is meant by public sector innovation: innovation is seen as a means to address growing budgetary pressures, through more efficient administration or service delivery, and new societal demands, through different and more effective service design. Due to the economic crisis and severe budget cuts, public sector innovation remains a challenge but also a solution. Historically, the public sector has developed differently from the private sector, where efficiency and innovation have always been critical to sustained success. For much of the post-war era, the public sector has enjoyed a rather more benevolent existence. Financial austerity is changing the rules of the game for the public sector, and today public sector efficiency and performance are central to governmental efforts throughout Europe to address deep budgetary constraints. Tight finances and societal pressures are the twin drivers of the almost universal search for better and cheaper public services. This holds for services provided to citizens and for those delivered to business. In some respects, the imperative to innovate is even greater now for the public sector than it is for the private sector.