TED 9: Call for Participation

TED 9 – Openness, Transparency and Ethics in Public Administration: Do they Support Each Other?

Ljubljana, Slovenia

4-5 February 2016

For the 9th time, the two decisive European professional associations of Public Administration, the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe (NISPAcee) and the European Group on Public Administration (EGPA) will hold a joint conference in the series of Trans-European Dialogue (TED 9). Each conference so far has been of great success, also producing the scientific publications (more on http://www.nispa.org/journal.php).

The TED 9 Conference will be held from 4th to 5th of February 2016 at the Faculty of Public Administration in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Six conference sessions will bring together numerous professionals from research, education, public administration, etc. in order to promote andinterchange current information on topics of openness, transparency and ethics in PA.

O/T/E concepts are interrelated and intertwined and considered as the basic pillars of the modern PA. Ethical conduct in PA has been somehow assumed as a leading principle for conduct of public servants for a very long time while other two concepts are much younger and became subject of normative codification in most countries only in the last two decades. Openness and transparency are two principles that are often used interchangeably in literature, but it is important to define the differences and connection between them. The transparency of the decision-making process is also one of the key developments taking place in the last decades in the context of the requirements of New Public Management, which assumes a more open and citizen oriented administrative organizational culture and practices. Transparency is also a key recommendation in promoting good governance and enhancing the overall quality of public administration. Openness usually stands for various forms of active cooperation and communication with different public stakeholders. According to some explanations, transparency is a narrower term and is a component of openness. In addition to the concept of Openness we need to recognize even younger concept of Open Data which has been highly promoted by different EU initiatives over the last few years and which shouldn’t be mixed with the first one. The OECD definition recently upgraded to focus more on practical aspects and impacts rather than procedures and rules, defines Open Government as a “government open to contribution of citizens and society to –co-create public value and engaged to respect three main principles: ensure full Transparency of its actions, its processes and its data, enable Participation of citizens to its decisions and processes, promote and accept the Collaboration of citizens to the production of services” or let us put it in a more formal form: O = T + P + C.

Openness and transparency directly or indirectly stress the importance of integrity and ethics. There seems to be a growing consensus, both in the academic public administration literature and in the more practice oriented literature, that a significant shift in public sector ethical standards, policies and institutions is taking place in all OECD countries. Multiple explanations have been put forward to account for this interest in ethics and integrity. Many of them focus on the trend of “New Public Management” reforms that aimed to introduce private sector management techniques in the public sector and, as such, supposedly transformed the values of civil servants. Other explanations include the broader changes in society, such as the increasingly critical and assertive attitude of citizens (that puts pressure on the traditional ethics of civil servants) and a more general shift in all types of societal governance. Whether the change in ethical standards is real or not, the interest in the topic is visibly increasing, also in Europe. Many countries have introduced anti-corruption and ethics management measures. Ethics in public administration include legality, fairness and loyalty, defining the attitude of the public administration towards citizens as individuals, towards politics and the public. The solutions are presented as an awareness of the importance of public good, as definition of mission, vision and values, or as code of ethics.

So the main aim and objective of TED9 would be to serve as an academic forum of experts to highlight all these concepts and to discuss their relevance for further development of PA theory and its implications.

We invite interested researchers to participate in the event and we would like to focus their contribution on the following challenging questions:

  • Are the principles explained above understood in a uniform way?
  • Are they the basic pillar of the modern public administration theory?
  • Are they complementary, overlapping or competing principles?
  • Political, administrative and technical barriers for faster implementation of O/T/E?
  • NPM and O/T/E, conflicting each other or complement each other?
  • Conflicts between Weberian/hierarchical structures and transparency?
  • Where are the demarcation lines between transparency and ‘public voyeurism’?
  • Possible tensions between different techniques of promoting transparency, employed by public managers and by the legislators?
  • Public law perspective: clarity of procedures, clear drafting, publication/notification of regulations, duty to give reasons.
  • Effectiveness of different techniques of promoting transparency?
  • Open public administration vs. open data paradigm?
  • Do we need “special” public sector ethics?
  • The role of leaders/management?
  • Are institutions/regulation able to promote merit systems and ethical climate?
  • Good regulation vs. practice of O/T/E?
  • Teaching ethics, is it effective?

Researchers interested in the conference theme are kindly invited to submit a short abstract (max. 1 page). The deadline for the submission of the abstracts is November 2, 2015 and we invite you to send your papers to r-r@fu.uni-lj.si and f.maron@iias-iisa.org

Submitted abstracts will be reviewed and selected until the mid-November. Therefore, authors may be accepted as key speakers or panel discussion participants within the six conference sessions.

Some authors whose abstracts will have been accepted will also be invited to extend their abstracts into fully developed papers by the end of February 2016, at the latest, with the aim to be potentially published in a special issue of NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy.

There is no conference registration fee, while participants are expected to cover their own expenses (travel, accommodation).