The substantial public administration reforms introduced in
most Council of Europe member States have had serious effects on
the organisation, size and quality of public services. Large parts
of the public sector have been privatised, public service tasks
outsourced and agencies created to deliver public services outside
the control of governments. Numerous European States appealed to
private capital to supply or finance some public services and most
of them enacted privatisation and deregulation policies in order
to stimulate the market and to bring additional assets to State
budgets. New Public Management was seen as the necessary way to
modernise public administration and make it more efficient, more
effective and more profitable.
These reforms have been accelerated since the economic and
financial crisis of 2008, in a context of budgetary constraints
and crisis of the welfare State, and severe austerity measures put
public administrations under ever more pressure: labour force reductions,
wage cuts, a worsening employment situation.
Some of these reforms have been successful but others have
had negative effects: they led to a fragmented public service, a
loss of control of government over public services, a reduction
in the quality of services, sometimes higher costs, thus contributing
to a loss of the citizen’s trust in democratic institutions.
A fundamental part of the European social models is affordable
high-quality public services. Reflecting the deep concerns expressed
by civil society about the future of the public service in Europe,
the Parliamentary Assembly invites member States to place the interests
of their citizens and Europe’s common values at the heart of any
administrative reform and to protect economic and social rights.
It also advocates for the need to properly evaluate reform measures
taken in the field of public administration and public services,
and to consider whether these reforms are in line with the political
concept of social cohesion which is at the heart of the Organisation’s