Salute to excellence: Awards shine spotlight on public sector

12 June 2013 | Joel Cherkis, General Manager, Worldwide Government

For all you strivers out there, getting the job done day after day without a lot of fanfare, I’m happy to report that excellence doesn’t go unnoticed. Every year, organizations keep a sharp eye out for exceptional achievements in the public sector, and give a shout-out to the people and agencies that go above and beyond with smart solutions for improving their operations and the lives of their citizens.

It’s much more than a pat on the back. It’s a business model. Industry awards raise the profile of good works, elevate standards, encourage innovation, and provide an opportunity to share best practices across government borders.

A great example is the United Nations Public Service Awards. This month, the U.N. will hold its Public Service Forum and Awards Ceremony in Manama, Bahrain. Their theme is “Transformative e-Government and Innovation: Creating a Better Future for All,” and they’re not kidding. The annual four-day event shows where governments can make a real difference, presenting awards to regional winners in five categories:

  • Improving the delivery of public services
  • Fostering participation in public policy decision-making through innovative mechanisms
  • Promoting whole-of-government approaches in the information age
  • Promoting gender-responsive delivery of public services
  • Preventing and combating corruption in the public service

A recent award finalist, Eric Mézin, director of the Office of Francophone Affairs for the province of Ontario, spoke to the far-reaching power of such an award:

It has enhanced pride, for my team, my government and me, with pride, confidence that one can make a difference; and with this confidence, the knowledge that others may benefit from our experience. This way, the public service truly becomes borderless. This way, we build together, not in silos.”

Eric highlights one of the very real benefits that public recognition can produce: the sharing of insights gained through research and experience. The Knowledge Base of UN Public Service Awards, compiled from the winning initiatives, is a growing goldmine of some 1,200 reports demonstrating successful approaches to public administration, service delivery, health care, education, environmental protection, and other topics that can be adapted and implemented by other governments to solve similar challenges. What a great opportunity to promote the exchange of field-tested ideas that really work.

Later this year, I’ll be watching two major regional events with interest. November’s biennial European Public Sector Award, organized by the European Institute of Public Administration, recognizes the “best, most innovative, and efficient performers” from the European public sector, and also helps to share their best practices with a series of “knowledge-transfer” workshops. The FutureGov Awards in October will celebrate the Asia-Pacific region’s most successful government, education, and health care organizations, capping off the annual FutureGov Summit in Phuket, Thailand.

Meanwhile, good luck and congratulations to all the nominees. And thanks for all the great work you do.

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Joel Cherkis
General Manager, Worldwide Government

About the Author

Joel Cherkis | General Manager, Worldwide Government

Joel leads a team of business development and technology professionals supporting policy decisions and the delivery of relevant and scalable technology solutions into public sector markets around the world. Read more