The group of international economics and economic policy, Econpoint, led by Daniel Díaz-Fuentes and Judith Clifton, with broad expertise in researching on public sector reform, has obtained an european project financed under the Horizon2020 by the European Commission, 2016-19 . This project entitled “Citadel: Empowering Citizens to Transform European Public Administrations” is a 3.5 Million Euro project to produce cutting edge research into how emerging technologies can be used to empower all citizens to transform public services and the public administration in their country.
Given the international dimension of the project, this consists of an interdisciplinary team of both social scientists and technological engineers. Apart from the University of Cantabria, the rest of partners that participate in this project are: Tecnalia Research & Innovation (Spain), Ku Leuven (Belgium), Fincons Spa (Italy), Iminds-Imec (Belgium), Regione Puglia (Italy), InnovaPuglia Spa (Italy), Stad Antwerpen (Belgium), Time Lex Cvba (Belgium), Vides Aizardzibas un Regionalas Attistibas Ministrija (Ltvia), University of Ltvia (Ltvia) and Stichting ICTU (The Netherlands).
The main objetive is to create an ecosystem of best practices, tools and recommendations to transform Public Administrations via an inclusive approach in order to provide stakeholders with more efficient, inclusive and citizen-centric services. To achieve this, Citadel project combines the view of integrating social and human science perspectives with the particular focus of technicians and engineers to provide technological tools and applications for citizens.
The University of Cantabria will be focused on exploring the concept of Co-creation in public services using the Hirschman’s model of Voice, Exit and Loyalty. This approach has been applied to studying private business organisations, but not still to public services. Here, citizens are conceptualized as customers who buy (loyalty) or they can complain about the company with a view to its improvement (Voice). Finally, if they are unhappy with the organization they can stop purchasing, thus stopping being customers (Exit). Using the Hirschman’s approach through co-creation, it will allow citizens to take active part in the creation of new public services and increasing uptake.
This approach can be used to open up the possibility of including other sectors susceptible to become an utility, such as financial services. In this regard, the regulation may constitute a key plank to establish common solutions in order to enhance consumer experiences and satisfaction with these services.