Putting citizens and businesses at the centre


User-centric service delivery SIGMA ministerial, March 2021, webpage visual imageOn 30 March 2021, SIGMA hosted the Ministerial conference for the European Neighbourhood South region on user-centric service delivery. As part of the OECD MENA Governance Forum, this high-level event provided a platform for representatives of the region to consider and discuss recent developments, key success stories and common challenges in relation to the service delivery area.

The event included comparative insights from a regional and international perspective through the participation of representatives from all of the ENP South partners, the EC and OECD on service delivery issues. Over 150 participants from the region attended this online event.

It was unanimously agreed that good public administration is an essential component in promoting sustainable and green economies, creating jobs and attracting investors. Administrative simplification leads to a less burdensome environment for economic growth, while modern service delivery methods, such as e-government solutions and one-stop shops, increase the accessibility of services.

Developing good public administration requires political commitment, vision, strategy, the definition of priorities and the right sequencing of actions. This commitment needs to be translated into practice, with public services designed, delivered and constantly re-designed around the evolving needs of the user, rather than for the convenience of the administration.

The demands on the public sector are constantly evolving at an accelerating pace. The coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic has highlighted the pivotal role of the public sector. Public sector organisations are being reformed in order to provide better, faster and more services. However, quality, quantity and speed are not the only new competences that society requires from government. As the pace of societal change is accelerating rapidly, government needs to be able to respond to changing demands by offering new solutions. Secondly, as reform has the purpose of re-establishing trust in government, governments need to provide more choice, democracy and transparency by interacting with citizens/users at all stages of the policy and service delivery process.

The place and the role of the citizen/user have become of very high importance in these changes and reforms. Traditionally, the role of the citizens/users was largely passive. Nowadays, citizens/users are increasingly involved in this policy and management cycle at different stages (design, decision, implementation and monitoring; and evaluation). Citizens/customers become co-designers, co-deciders, co producers and co-evaluators. Where the traditional relationships were hierarchical, the new relationships are instead more inclusive. The approach of many administrations still focuses too much on obligations and procedures and too little on improving citizens’ quality of life. Putting the citizen/user at the centre of the government’s work is therefore a true shift in mindset.

Agenda: English I French

Key takeaways of the conference

Conference-related material

User-centric service delivery SIGMA ministerial, March 2021, webpage speakers image


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