Creating value and driving sustainability, accountability and the digital agenda through Public Sector Innovation
European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg
On 26 September 2019, ACCA organised the ‘Creating value and driving sustainability, accountability and the digital agenda through public sector innovation’ conference, which took place at the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg. It was hosted by Lazaros S. Lazarou, member of the European Court of Auditors, dean of Chamber V ‘’Financing and administering the Union’ and member of the Annual Report.
After a welcome speech by Lazaros S. Lazarou, ACCA’s head of public sector policy Alex Metcalfe moderated the first panel, ‘How do we cultivate public sector innovation?’ Panellists included Piret Tõnurist, OECD, OPSI; Shiva Dustdar, head of the Innovation Finance Advisory Division, Advisory Services, EIB; Stavroula Demetriades, senior research manager, Eurofound; and Koen Verhoest (PhD.), research professor (ZAPBOF), Research Group on Politics & Public Governance, Dept. of Political Science, University of Antwerp.
The second panel focused on practical applications of innovation towards digitalization, sustainability, creating value and accountability, and was moderated by Brian Mc Enery, partner & head of healthcare; BDO. Panellists included Emanuele Baldacci, director of digital services, DG Informatics, European Commission; Eva Lindström, member of ECA’s Chamber V and reporting Member of ECA’s review on sustainability reporting and chair of ECA’s digital steering committee; François-Xavier Borsi, senior manager, economist, KPMG; and Pirkko Lahdelma, director of the National Audit Office of Finland. The closing speech was delivered by Klaus-Heiner Lehne, president of the ECA.
Discussions began with a focus on the latest ACCA Professional Insights report, Innovation in Public Finance, which confirmed that the public sector can, and should be a driver of innovation. This report also found that creating innovation through governments and the public sector are often the most impactful, but also the most difficult routes. The OECD - OPSI model showed that we need to support innovation in different ways and as a consequence, there are a variety of methods, such as top down and bottom up, to cultivate innovation in the public sector.
The debate also revealed that a common element amongst the different paths toward innovation is the participatory role of employees in designing and implementing the practice and dialogue with employee representatives regarding changes and the future of the service. It also highlighted the importance of collaborative innovation, in which the public sector develops new services, policies, technologies or processes together with other government organisations, private actors and citizens.