Technology can help cut costs and raise performances in European public administrations
Modern technology can help make public administrations more efficient and cost-effective but change for change's sake risks undermining the process. This was the message from Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on 29 October at the Path to Growth: Achieving Excellence in Business Friendly Public Administrationconference in Brussels alongside Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship.
VP Šefčovič gave several examples of how modern technology had been put to good use by public administrations across the EU, saving both public authorities and citizens millions of euros each year. And he underlined the various efforts employed within the Commission itself, such as the ePrior electronic invoicing system used by 48 directorates general and agencies and which will soon be adopted by the Belgian national authorities as well.
But VP Šefčovič also stressed that efficiency gains could not be achieved by modern technology alone. Sometimes, he argued, it was necessary to rethink staffing priorities – as indicated by the Commission's own decision to cut staff numbers by 5% and increase the length of the working week in response to fiscal consolidation measures across the EU.
Most important of all, VP Šefčovič argued, was the need to ensure continuity of service and of staff – any potential gains achieved through the intelligent use of technology could easily be undermined if there is, for example, a rapid turnover of staff, or if an administration's goals and objectives are frequently changed.
SPEECH/13/864 The Path to Growth
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