World Public Service Day: Public services matter!

Today, on World Public Service Day, is an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the importance of public services for their central role and care for our communities and societies.

Public services represent the backbone of our democracies, rule of law and peace. Public services guarantee the well-being of people. They stand for wealth by guaranteeing education, health, labour and social protection. They are the corner stones of our societies.

This year, in the face of the Corona crisis, it is more than ever relevant to turn our eyes to the efforts and achievements of the public services and its personnel, the public servants. While the world was (and is) facing a global pandemic, healthcare workers, a majority of whom women, took care of our communities while risking their own lives.

But not only them. Teachers, child carers, staff in town halls and ministries, postal personnel, train drivers, garbage collection staff, firefighters, emergency rescue services, security personnel, policemen, judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers, prison guards… They all ensured that essential services remained available to the maximum extent possible, they all kept the state running as well as they could, they all worked hard to ensure the safety and health of the citizens.

As we start to draw lessons from the crisis, it is high time for policy makers to hear public servants’ unions’ long-standing calls to address a decade of underinvestment in public services in Europe. Be it the level of the personnel, the availabilty of necessary equipment or the quality of facilities: Considerable investments are necessary to make Europe and the Member States more resilient to a face future crisis. Public services and public servants can be very effective in managing and alleviating crises – however both need to be well-resourced to be performing. The crisis has shown: Underinvestment may seem tempting in the short-term, but it does not pay off in the long-term. On the contrary, especially in countries that saw big cuts in public services during the last yeaars, we now see how costly it is.

At CESI, we continue working for performing public services and performing public servants.

For further information:
• CESI Congress 2016 main motion ‘Public services: Delivering results’
• CESI position ‘COVID-19 pandemic: Priorities for more resilience’