In Ireland there is currently no platform or policy lab at national government level working on the co-creation of public services. There are individuals working with and within government towards developing the infrastructure for behaviourally informed policy e.g. IGEES and IBSPN. At local government level there is DCC Beta and the former DCC Studio. There are also a bottom up initiatives such as connecting the dots which are aiming to explore innovations around local governance.
There are a number of policy initiatives that are reshaping the way we consider public services in Ireland.
The Irish Public Service Reform Plan 2014-2016 suggests that the Irish government is committed to alternative models of service delivery. The Reform Plan focusses on how to deliver better outcomes for the “service-user”.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has an Alternative Service Delivery Unit which is working closely with other Government Departments, Offices and publicly funded bodies to assist and advise them on their current or proposed delivery models for the services they provide to the public.
As part of the Reform Programme, the Department of Environment launched “Putting People First, Action Programme for Local Government” in 2012. This document provides an overview of reforms at a local government level. Under the updated Local Government Act 2014, councillors have stronger policy making powers and a greater level of control over the actions of the local authority chief executive. Also, local authorities are able to become more involved in the economic development of their communities.
The document suggests that “As part of a revitalisation of local government, the approaches used to ensure engagement by citizens in local authority policy formulation and service design may need to go beyond the range of conventional communication, public consultation and citizen participation mechanisms used in the past.”
The Public Participation Networks (PPNs) have been established as a new framework for public engagement and participation. The PPNs based in each local authority will be the main link through which the local authority connects with the community.
The aim of the PPN is to facilitate and enable the public and the organisations to articulate a diverse range of views and interests within the local government system.