T45a The conception and management of public services (WT23) - 中欧社会论坛 - China Europa Forum

T45a The conception and management of public services (WT23)

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July, 2010, 9 - 10 School of Public Administration, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu


- Preparatory documents for the workshops - meeting in Paris in July 2009

- China-Europa Forum catalogue

Workshop presentation

The idea that public services should be an equitable and general service to all citizens, no matter the differences among races, religions, status and incomes is based on a certain social consensus (the consideration of social justice and basic human rights, namely, existent rights, development of rights and others). From the perspective of the delivery, public services refer to those activities not aiming for profit (not seeking for maximizing profit), but for effectively promoting fairness, pushing rational distribution and corresponding public interests. From the perspective of the recipient/user, public services are a basic mode for citizens to express and realize their basic rights and common interests, and it ensures the equal protection of their basic rights and the promotion of the social equity and justice.

For China, into the 21st century, there are still many problems, such as the problems of employment, social wellbeing, income distribution, education, healthcare, housing, safety in production, justice, and public security. The increasing problems of social conflict and moral dilemma in Chinese society indicate itself that the principle conflicts are the contradiction of increasingly public goods, the contradiction between the demand of public service and the shortage of the supply of public goods, and the contradiction of the imbalanced development of public service. The Chinese government regards “public service” as one of its four important responsibilities (the other three are market supervision, economy regulation, social administration), but the deficiency and incomprehensiveness of public services in the provision mode, the service area and the service effect are still a big challenge for the entire Chinese government.

In Europe, public services are market both by diversity and unity. There is lot of diversity of expression and concepts, approaches, nature and management modes, financing methods and regulation, etc.

But co-existing with this diversity, there is a profound unity: in all European countries the is a “Public Services” when it is decided or recognised by a public authority or case law that certain activities are not only subject to the common law of competition or market rules, but also to particular rules and norms, to purposes and objectives ensuring access to every resident, the establishment of relations of solidarity, of economic, social and territorial cohesion, and/or the creation of remedies to market failures (in the economic, social, environmental, territorial sphere, or taking into account the long term).

Three pillars mark today the reality of public services in the European Union: the process of Europeanisation combined with the Sectoral approaches and national traditions.
- Europeanisation means the progressive transition from the traditional national framework of definition and organisation of SGIs to the Community level, whose effects can be found in the whole EU but whose forms vary widely, from harmonisation, in all important networks, to the open method of coordination in education or health. The process of europeanisation is based on the principle of the free movement (of goods, persons, capital and services), the liberalisation, the introduction of the competition and the research of the performance, and also on the definition of public service or universal service obligations.
- sectoral characteristics and trends in practice mean that we are not organising telecommunications, electricity, water, transport, education or health in the same way in the Single Market and on the basis of identical Community rules;
- national histories, traditions and institutions mark and continue to score in depth the ways of organisation and regulation of SGIs in the Member States.

The discussion group on “The Concept and Management of Public Services” (T45a) brings together European and Chinese experts and practitioners in the fields of public services and public administration in order to :
- have a better understanding of characteristics, histories, challenges that public services of China and Europe meet today and
- to provide perspectives that might be common to the needs of our societies.

Topics for debates

Discussion points:
- 1)What are public services and what are the different meanings and practices in Europe and China?
- 2)Case share of public services from different societies
- 3)Different development lines of providing public service in the European and Chinese governance
- 4)Public understanding and attitude about public services in Europe and China
- 5)Coordination and governance of public service among government, enterprise and society in Europe and China
- 6)Further work of T45a in the next three years