Although the public sector needs to innovate to meet the increasing demand of citizens, innovation in public sector is more difficult to define and identify. Efforts to better understand and to promote public sector innovation are greatly hindered by a lack of quantitative evidence. Therefore, we strongly need a measurement framework, which could provide internationally comparable indicators, and which would give information on the characteristics of public sector innovation, particularly on its drivers and barriers, providing thus scientific evidence for effective policy making and benchmarking. Apart from some national and regional pilot initiatives, there is no such a conceptual framework at EU or international level, which could provide comparable information on how the public sectors of Member States innovate, and also on the policy responses needed to enhance innovation in the public sector.
Measurement of innovation in the private sector is relatively well advanced, and a set of indicators are available and used in the Innovation Union scoreboard. However, similar information on public sector innovation is very limited.
Public services are among the most knowledge-intensive and value added of all sectors. Therefore, the public sector has a huge potential for innovation, and public sector innovation is now perceived as a fundamental factor in addressing globalization and grand societal challenges and also as a stimulus for business innovation. Public sector represents about 45% of the EU’s GDP, 15% of the total employment in the EU and, as regards public procurement, 17% of GDP. There is a strong need for efficiency gains, better governance, more user involvement, as budgetary and human resources pressures are imminent.
The aim is to raise the visibility, debate and level of understanding of innovation in the public sector.
The European Public Sector Innovation Scoreboard (EPSIS) is experimental. By giving visibility to the extent of innovation in the public sector, it should help to improve the quality of the debate, and support Member States in developing policies to support public sector innovation.
The Commission is piloting a European Public Sector Innovation Scoreboard (EPSIS). A Eurobarometer survey of public service organisations is currently underway and the results are likely to be available during Spring 2012. In addition, work is being undertaken as part of the European Innovation Scoreboard to identify possible available indicators. Based on this ongoing work, in Autumn 2012 a more comprehensive pilot EPSIS will be published including expert contribution from the OECD. This could provide a solid basis for further work in this field, potentially resulting in an established scoreboard providing data annually on public sector innovation in Member States.