The United Nations is currently calling for nominations for the 2015 UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA). The UNPSA is an international contest designed to promote and support innovations in public service delivery worldwide. The award is open to all public organizations, including governments and public-private partnerships involved in delivering services to citizens.
The UNPSA takes place every year on 23 June, the United Nations Public Service Day. For 2015, the UNPSA will be given to those public institutions that have distinguished themselves in one of the following categories: i) Improving the Delivery of Public Services; ii) Fostering Participation in Policy-making Decisions through Innovative Mechanisms; iii) Promoting Whole-of-Government Approaches in the Information Age, and iv) Promoting Gender-Responsive Delivery of Public Services. The Award highlights cutting edge innovations and recognizes that democracy and effective governance is built on a competent civil service.
The recent UNPSA 2014 took place in the city of Goyang, South Korea under the theme of ‘Innovating Governance for Sustainable Development and Well-being of the People’. The event drew over 1,800 participants from 119 countries and included world leaders, senior government officials, mayors, representatives from civil society, academia, and the private sector, as well as representatives from international and regional organizations. During the Award ceremony, a total of 19 initiatives from 14 countries were given the UNPSA 2014 Award.
Amongst the winning initiatives, Spain won with the Data Intermediation Platform project, developed by the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration with the aim of creating an online platform for sharing data between different government branches to streamline verification processes and increase efficiency in verifying citizen data.
The data intermediation platform project has provided users with two fundamental points of progress, according to Mr. Antonio Beteta, Secretary of State for Public Administration. “On one hand, collaboration between administrations and citizen’s needs is essential to provide continuous uninterrupted service that cuts down on costs and avoid duplicating competencies, and on the other hand, the conviction that all services must be constructed based on citizen needs, and not on the needs of the administration”, Mr. Beteta said.
Another winning initiative, from Brazil, entitled Mãe Coruja was developed by the State Health Secretariat of Pernambuco as an effort to create a more comprehensive care system for women and children. The programme follows mothers from pregnancy until the child is five years old and it has now become a model for other national and municipal projects. “The programme is empowering women, the family, and society as a whole. It has brought us something we believe in”, Ms. Ana Elizabeth, Programme Executive Committee Coordinator of Mãe Coruja noted.
Khon Kaen Hospital in Thailand also won with an initiative entitled One Stop Crisis Centre. The aim of this initiative was to develop a centralized centre to provide protection and give assistance to abused children and women, as well as young women with unwanted pregnancies. As Ms. Orapin Nawapongsakorn, Vice President for Public Activities stated that the hospital “found it necessary to provide special care for women and children through a one stop service. The patients do not need to contact many different doctors. The hospital provides all the services”.
The eGovernment Authority in the Kingdom of Bahrain won with an initiative entitled the National Contact Center. The aim of this initiative was to “maximize synergies between government departments, minimizing duplication of efforts, reducing costs of operations, providing transparency and accountability, and truly encouraging active participation of citizens. The idea of completing all your Government applications in one phone call to the National Call Centre is in itself a quantum leap and is a highly professional Government service”, Mr. Yahya Alansari, a National Contact Centre Caller said.
Videos from the UNPSA 2014 can be found on YouTube (see the link provided below), including the opening and closing ceremonies, roundtable discussions and videos from winning initiatives.
The call for nominations for the upcoming UNPSA 2015 is now open and nominations can be submitted online here until 31 October 2014.