Learning from Innovation in Public Sector Environments

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3 april 2015

News: Research report and policy recommendations: Mapping and Analysing the Recommendations of Ombudsmen, Audit Offices and Emerging Accountability Mechanisms

 The research report and policy recommendations on 'Mapping and Analysing the Recommendations of Ombuds-men, Audit Offices and Emerging Accountability Mechanisms' are now available on the LIPSE Publications page.

The research goals of Work Package three were the following:
  1. Make an inventory and analysis of databases on best EU practices for innovation
  2. Analyse the recommendations made by audit offices and ombudsmen
  3. To identify relevant drivers and barriers that explain if and why these recommendations have (or have not been) implemented
  4. To make policy recommendations in order to improve the use of accountability information for public service innovation
  5. To disseminate the research results and policy recommendations among the involved organizations, to policymakers and the general public
  6. The research covered six countries: Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Romania and the United Kingdom.

In order to reach these goals, the following methodologies and focus were adopted:
  1. A focus on good/best practices to create a database of awarded innovations
  2. The focus on awarded innovations gave us a tool to analyse individual social innovations
  3. A proposed model including Feedback, Accountability and Learning (FAL) to describe the sustainability of social innovations, with the following causal mechanism: FAL  Z
  4. Investigating the influence of Ombudsman and Supreme Audit Institution recommendations on social innovation added to this causal mechanism: (FAL, X)  Z
  5. As a part of the qualitative research a third factor, to explain for social innovation which happened independent of FAL or X, completed the causal mechanism: ((FAL, X) or Y)  Z
  6. A survey from 250 good/best practices gave us a quantitative picture of the influence of FAL on the sustainability of social innovation
  7. Over 70 interviews with Ombudsmen, Supreme Audit Institutions and the organizations they audited/investigated gave us a qualitative picture of the influence audits and investigations, together with their recommendations, have on social innovations

Findings:
1. Cases in our innovation database came predominantly from the public health sector, social welfare sector and general administration
2. Most of the innovations in our database focused on e-Government, quality assurance, efficient procedures and citizen involvement
3. The first causal mechanism: FAL  Z proved to be able to partly explain the sustainability of social innovation. Awarded innovations who have ceased to exist were in general characterized by a lower FAL-score than those who still existed
4. Through the qualitative research into the implementation of ombudsmen and SAI recommendations on the second causal mechanism ((FAL, X)  Z) it was found that the reports of Ombudsmen and SAIs significantly influence the sustainability of innovations
Feedback, accountability & learning in public innovation
LIPSE Research Report # 3 7
5. The qualitative research also highlighted the importance of factors explaining social innovations independent of FAL or X, explaining the third causal mechanism: ((FAL, X) or Y) -
Z.
6. The organizations who correlated significantly with sustainable social innovations were characterized by:
  • The concerns of staff, customers and ombudsmen impacting strategic decisions
  • A sense of responsibility amongst employees
  • Transparency about their results towards external stakeholders
  • A culture of open debates, the encouragement of experimentation and a forgiving culture if and when these experiments failed

Download the research report and policy recommendations.

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