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2011 Themes

Theme 3 - Call Text



Call for Applications: 17 January-25 March 2011

THEME 3 "Going Green: Concrete Solutions from the Public Sector"


The European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) - mandated by its Board of Governors and with the institutional and financial support of 11 European countries and the European Commission - invites applications to the third European Public Sector Award - EPSA 2011. The EPSA 2011 will be awarded on the occasion of a high-level event on leading-edge public administration solutions, which will be held on 15-17 November 2011 in Maastricht (NL), under the auspices of the Polish Presidency. This event thus presents a unique opportunity for European administrations with innovative performance and achievements to reach an extensive audience and to be recognised as being leading edge at the European level.


Against the background of a rapidly changing social, economic and environmental context in the 21st Century, EPSA contributes to the progress of the performance of public administrations by highlighting exemplary models of proactive approaches that address Europe's most pressing public concerns, whilst providing a platform for the public sector innovators behind these cases to disseminate their achievements.

The aftermath of the financial and economic crisis poses a true challenge not only to the private sector but also to the public sector. Furthermore, in alignment with the EU 2020 strategy, local, regional, national as well as European public administrations are expected to meet the ambitious vision of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for the future of the European Union. It is therefore even more important to highlight and reward public excellence in administrations that are finding innovative responses in times of budgetary constraints and are succeeding in delivering outstanding public services.

EPSA will reward those projects which address European public sector challenges and are crucial drivers for change in the way that public administrations function in the 21st Century. In turn, these projects will provide an insight into proactive approaches of hundreds of public administrations facing current challenges such as climate change, the supply and sources of energy, demographic change, rising unemployment and social exclusion.

Europe 2020 highlights the EU's future growth strategy for the coming decade. In a changing world, the EU has to create a smarter, more sustainable and inclusive economy. Sustainable growth in this context means being more resource efficient, greener and more competitive; this is also a challenge for the public sector. Changes have to be triggered by:
• supporting a competitive low-carbon economy that makes efficient, sustainable use of resources;
• protecting the environment and preventing biodiversity loss;
• capitalising on Europe's leadership in developing new green technologies and production methods;
• helping consumers make well-informed green choices.


As already mentioned, the notion of "sustainable growth" and "green technologies" will be a focus of the EU's future development strategy for the coming decade.
Already today, ambitious policy objectives range from CO2 reductions to halting the loss of biodiversity. These objectives are translated into the latest changes of the "green" acquis of the EU, with more than 200 directives or regulations. Public administrations at all levels play a crucial role in the enforcement of environmental legislation. As indicated by the annual reports of the European Commission, non-implementation and enforcement of waste, water, air or horizontal environmental legislation is a permanent problem. Recent problems such as those in the waste sectors have gained a lot of media attention. Some administrations have responded to this implementation challenge with concrete and innovative ideas and practices.
EPSA 2011 seeks to present these innovative practices in enforcement of environmental legislation. Proper enforcement is a prerequisite for the overall credibility of EU, national and regional policies.

In addition, public administrations are playing a decisive role in innovative solutions for their own environmental management and procurement practices. In policy fields such as waste, water, renewable energy, energy efficiency and biodiversity, "green" innovative instruments are being developed at all levels. EPSA 2011 will invite administrations to present their concrete contributions for making sustainability a reality within their own premises, with respect to the products and services bought or means of transport used, etc.

In this context, EPSA is looking for both, showcase projects based on innovative practices in the enforcement of EU legislation by public administrations (e.g. a special local project on waste collection), as well as innovative examples of environmental management by public administrations (e.g. internal practices, procurement, awareness raising, etc.).


Projects under THEME 3 should demonstrate and contain elements of proven evidence on one of the following sub-topics:

1. Innovative projects with respect to the enforcement of environmental legislation and the implementation of policy goals in all fields:
- Innovative projects in the field of environmental media (waste, water, air, dangerous substances);
- Innovation with respect to horizontal legislation (impact assessment, environmental management, planning exercises, etc.);
- Innovative use of economic instruments (charges, taxes, financial incentives);
- New approaches in the field of citizens' involvement, public participation, information campaigns, specific awareness raising in society for environmental problems.

2. Successful internal changes in the means of environmental management of public administrations:
- Organisational reforms within public administrations to cope with new environmental and sustainability challenges despite budgetary limitations;
- Innovative training and awareness raising with respect to EU legislation and policies;
- New ambitious approaches towards green procurement practices in public authorities;
- Innovative projects in the field of internal environmental management;
- Internal information and awareness-raising campaigns in public administrations.


All European public sector institutions from all levels - with special attention to local and regional approaches - as well as public sector enterprises, agencies or public-private partnerships - are eligible to submit their projects for the award. Other eligibility criteria to be fulfilled are:
- European geographical origin of the application;
- Compliance with the themes (one thematic area per project only) of the EPSA 2011 competition;
- The working language of the EPSA 2011 is English, thus it is strongly recommended to submit projects in English;
- The lead applicant must be a public sector institution or authority (other applicants - in a consortium for example - can be private, semi-public, NGO or academic);
- The application/project/case must have been in operation long enough to have proven evidence of impact and a tangible result;
- Completed application form;
- Confirmation that the application has been submitted (i.e. notification mail) before deadline (hrs).


It is encouraged to submit projects showing consideration of gender mainstreaming, technology (ICT-enabled solutions) and sustainability aspects. In addition, those projects benefiting from EU supportive actions, such as the European Social Fund Administrative Capacity Building priority, are especially invited to submit their achievements.


The submitted applications will first be checked for eligibility. If the eligibility criteria are met, a registration number will be allocated and the project is subsequently subject to evaluation. The project will then be reviewed and assessed online against both the general and theme specific criteria by three evaluators from an internationally acknowledged, independent and impartial pool of experts. The evaluation process subsequently includes a consensus meeting and on-site visits to a small number of short-listed projects per theme for validation and verification purposes. Finally, a jury will select the nominees/finalists and final winners of the EPSA 2011.


STEP 1: Individual online evaluation
By each evaluator, in isolation and remotely based. Each project will be evaluated by three evaluators (triple evaluation) (2-6 May 2011)

STEP 2: Consensus meeting
To reach a commonly agreed list of ranked projects per theme - the best practice certificate recipients - and to agree on a number of projects to be verified during on-site visits (26-27 May 2011)

STEP 3: On-site validation visits
To a number of short-listed projects for verification (June 2011)

STEP 4: Jury meeting
To select and decide on the three EPSA winners (one per theme) (5-6 September 2011)


When submitting their projects, applicants should pay particular attention to the following general criteria used for the selection of the best projects:
1. Innovation: novelty of the solution; degree to which the case shows a leap of creativity in the practice of public administration; something different that goes beyond what currently exists;
2. Public concern: extent to which the case addresses a pressing need or important problem of public concern; the project topic is high on the agenda in European public organisations, a critical mass of public sector bodies are tackling the issue;
3. Sustainability: the project shows or describes elements which are going beyond the period of the project implementation/delivery (after the planned and realised objectives and activities);
4. Impact: the provision and illustration of proven evidence, benefits and visible impact; tangible results demonstration;
5. Learning capacity and transferability: the lessons learnt and the potential value to other entities; the project provides the potential for successful replication by other governments; it stimulates improvement in its application and provides mutual learning perspectives.

Applications submitted under THEME 3 will furthermore be judged against the following specific criteria under this topic:
1. Link between innovative projects and EU environmental legislation/EU environmental objectives;
2. Convincing balance of environmental measures and cost-effectiveness;
3. Internal and external communication and awareness raising.


Official Launch: 17 January 2011
Information Days: October 2010 - March 2011
Opening of Call for Applications: 17 January - 25 March 2011
Online Evaluation: 2-6 May 2011
Consensus Meeting: 26-27 May 2011
On-site Visits to Short-listed Projects: June 2011
Final Selection: 5-6 September 2011
Award Ceremony in Maastricht: 15-17 November 2011


The online application period is open from 17 January until 25 March (24hrs) 2011.

The online application form can be found in the "Applicants Area" on the EPSA website: www.epsa2011.eu

Prior online registration is required.

Link to Register

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The EPSA brings together the best, most innovative and efficient performers from the European public sector. Outstanding administrative performances are, after all, produced under different conditions within Europe. more information...

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