How Europe can lead public sector transformation

Explore a collection of essays on the opportunities and challenges of delivering public service for the future in the digital age.


Making public services sustainable and future-proof is a top priority for government leaders in Europe. But to deliver public service for the future, leaders must have strong drive and commitment to enact reforms and modernization. Furthermore, if the vision of digitally enabled, citizen-centric government is to become a reality, new skills and competences are needed within the public service workforce.

Digital disruption is ushering in a new era of opportunities for change in the European public sector. In fact, digital transformation is now expected of government leaders as digital citizens expect their governments to provide dramatic changes in the way they operate, and offer high-quality digital services while delivering value for money. To deliver such impact in the digital era, the public sector must be ready to make a bolder and more sustained investment in public service transformation.

Download the full PDF to read the innovative ideas that public sector leaders in Europe have for enacting change.


A unique collaborative platform, the European Centre for Government Transformation was founded in 2009 by the Lisbon Council, the College of Europe and Accenture. For the past five years, the European Centre for Government Transformation has worked to provide pragmatic and actionable solutions designed to help government agencies and other public service organizations improve the social, economic and health outcomes of the people they serve through delivery of increased and improved public services.

In this spirit, Centre recognizes the vital need for innovation and has created a collection of essays that reflect new ideas for delivering public service for the future. Ideas included in the collection range from building innovative service delivery models based on modern technologies, to improving digital literacy and encouraging entrepreneurial zeal. And across all ideas is the underlying theme of delivering better and more tailor-made services to citizens.


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Technological disruptions have fundamentally changed the way people live, work, interact and learn. The changes are so sweeping that this new digital era is set to redefine the relationship between the state and the citizen. This paradigm shift has the potential for European governments to unlock much higher levels of productivity, be more connected to their constituents and provide a high-quality service experience.

In the UK, a digital efficiency report found that the average cost of a central government digital transaction can be almost 20 times lower than the cost of telephone and 50 times lower than face-to-face interactions.1 Further, a digital citizen survey by Accenture showed that more than 67 percent of citizens in the European sample said it is important for governments to provide more services through digital channels in the future.2 It is clear that digital technology is critical to supporting public service transformation.


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1. Cabinet Office, Digital Efficiency Report (London: Cabinet Office, 2012).

2. Accenture, Digital Government Pathways to Delivering Public Services for the Future (Dublin: Accenture, 2014).


With a focus on action and execution, Europe can achieve digital era governance through:

Digital democracy and the digital citizen

  • Co-design and co-create with citizens by opening legislative processes to constituents and enabling constituents to vote or engage digitally with their political representatives.

  • Enhance the share of participatory budgeting at local and regional levels, allowing people and communities to decide their own priorities.

  • Shift all interactions (beyond transactions) to self-service in a citizen-centric approach that encourages communication and access.

A new digital “operating model”

  • Develop a national digital strategy that is based on design principles like “digital by default.”

  • Accelerate use of pervasive technologies like social media, mobility, big data and cloud to leverage their full potential and embed user-centricity in any future service design.

  • Create a simplified and personalized service design emulating high-quality private and entertainment services.

  • Reinvent a leaner and more agile center of government.


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