On 22nd March the Canadian Ambassador to the OECD Jocelyne Bourgon delivered the Fifth Braibant Lecture at the HQ of the Institute in Brussels. Its title was “Responsive, Responsible, and Respected Government“.
She provided the participants with her views on the trends and characteristics of the Public Administration field over the near future. She pointed out the need to provide Public Servants with a unified doctrine that could help shape citizens’ expectations and guide government actions in the future. She gave an overview of the Classic Public Administration Theory and underlined a growing distance between the theoretical foundation and the reality faced by Civil/Public Servants in the 21st century. She proposed thus a ?journey? towards a ?New? Public Administration Theory and its four building blocks starting with the most fundamental level: the concept of Citizenship and continuing with Public Interest, Service to Citizens, and Public Policy. She gave an overview of the intellectual foundations coming from academic work on citizenship, governance, civil society, and trust in government and from practice such as the changing reality of policy formulation and implementation. She noted that nothing was really ?New’. Each aspect mentioned was discussed elsewhere. She underlined that we could develop a unifying synthesis. She pulled some treads. The first treads identified was the ideal of democratic citizenship. The second one was a unifying vision of policy, politics and policy implementation as a circular, integrated and interactive process. Jocelyne Bourgon underlined that ?citizens expect government to respect democratic principles, abide by the rule of law and serve the collective interest?. At the most basic level, ?they expect their government to be legitimate, honest and responsible?. Trust in government, in public institutions and in the fairness of government decision could be the ultimate test of good government?. She concluded: ?The time is ripe to reconcile yet again freedom in the private sphere and collective deliberation over the content of justice in the public sphere?. ?The time is ripe for a “New Public Administration Theory”.
The text is published in the International Review of Administrative Sciences, Vol.73 (1) Mars 2007.