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Open Government

17th European Public Management Conference, Bremen, 15-16 March 2012 “Government 2.0 – A paradigm change or just a fad?”

How should the public sector respond to the pressures coming from radical social-media-savvy political parties, such as the Piratenpartei in Germany? Do citizens expect local government to be as responsive 24/7 on Facebook and Twitter in the same way that they are themselves? And what are the costs of using social media – will they involve employing extra staff in public sector communications units? These were some of the key issues raised at the 17th European Public Management Conference in Bremen, which focussed on the latest trends in government 2.0. The data protection officer of the City-State of Bremen was clearly concerned about the implications of the spreading use of Facebook by local government – and the German government is deep in discussion with Facebook on the data protection aspects of its work. However, examples of open data apps in Bremen and Lohne Councils showed that government 2.0 can also unleash enormous creativity on the part of citizens. Indeed, Elke Loeffler stressed in her keynote speech to the conference that open data and social media are first and foremost powerful tools to strengthen citizen participation, collaboration, transparency and the fight against corruption. In the interactive workshop which followed on from her speech, she showcased European good practices such as ‘Talk about Local’, the youth website ‘Stradanove’ of Modena Council in Italy and the active complaints management of Arnsberg Council in Germany – all case studies which demonsrate practical ways of improving outcomes through open government.

Click here to download the conference presentations

Open Government Barcamp, Berlin, 29-30 September 2011

‘Fix my society': more citizen participation through open government?’ We think the answer is yes but only when citizens are provided with the skills to make effective use of open data. The topic of the Governance International session at the Open Government Barcamp in Berlin on 29-30 September attracted a lot of interest. Our blog on Open Government summarises our views on developments in Germany (click to read). This article by Innovative Verwaltung, the leading journal for public managers in Germany, outlines the event (click here) and includes a picture (right) of the Governance International session.

You may also read the interview with Elke Loeffler in the DEMOS Monitor “verwaltungen-werden-vom-dienstleister-zum-ermoglicher“ (in German).

Innovation Forum of the Mach AG, Germany,
Lübeck, 9 September 2010


Is government fit for the future? This was the topic debated by 150 top managers from public agencies in Germany who had accepted the invitation of Mach AG to attend the 10th Innovation Forum in Lübeck. The Director of the Public Television Programme ZDF emphasised that, in times of crisis, leadership is needed more than ever. "Clear objectives are key ..."  but public agencies also need to be transparent about their performance“ said Dr. Thomas Bellut. Tony Bovaird of Governance International stressed in his (German) presentation that public agencies learn most from difference and not from comparing themselves with similar organisations. "Continuous improvement is necessary but no longer sufficient: to be fit for the future, we now need radical innovation". He suggested a range of ways in which Germany can learn from public sector modernisation in the UK - but also some ways in which public agencies in the UK could benefit from systematic exchange and networks with German partners - for example, in relation to cost accounting, an issue now high on the agenda in the UK but where German public agencies are more advanced.

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