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Public Services' Employers' Forum (PSEF): joint declaration on Digitalisation


16 Mar 2016


Social Europe & Jobs

In views of the Tripartite Social Summit, members of the Public Services' Employers' Forum (PSEF) adopted the following joint declaration (PDF version available, embargoed until 16/03/2016, 16:00):

The digital era is transforming our societies and economies by introducing new ways of using and providing services, creating new production processes and producing massive quantities of data and information. The transition towards a digital economy is crucial for the competitiveness of our economy and for growth and jobs. By providing essential infrastructures and services to citizens and businesses in areas such as public administration, electricity, broadband, public and rail transport, public service media, social services, healthcare and education, public services providers are key actors in a successful digital transformation. Digital Single Market policies must therefore support European public services and be fit for purpose in a rapidly changing environment characterised by a globalised market and technological convergence on all platforms.

We call upon the European Commission to take an inclusive approach and to involve all public services’ employers from the design to the implementation in order to ensure a quick roll out of the Digital Single Market Strategy. We encourage the European Commission to place citizens at the heart of its strategy as part of a pluralist and culturally diverse society.  

Public services’ employers are committed to fully deploying the digital technologies to deliver accessible and innovative services for a competitive economy and cohesive society. Our members contribute towards the development of efficient responses to major societal challenges such as ageing, demographic changes as well as climate change, and promote social cohesion and informed citizenship. They are constantly innovating to accommodate changing expectations from citizens and enterprises and support the development of a competitive digital economy by making available nonpersonal data related to services falling under public service obligations, while ensuring nondiscriminatory and reliable use and re-use of such data. The success of digitalised public services relies on the trust of citizens, as well as their universality, excellence and accountability. It is notably built up by providing customers with a high level of transparency and control over the collection and use of their personal data.

We call upon the EU institutions to ensure a level playing field allowing all actors to fully take advantage of digitalisation in a fair regulatory environment. Also, it is crucial that the regulatory framework promotes innovation in public services by guaranteeing users’ privacy rights and encouraging standardisation and interoperability.  

The digital transformation has been producing fundamental changes to the EU labour market, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. It is critical to stay ahead and ensure its fairness. Social and employment legislation may need to be adapted to respond to changes in labour organisation models. A fair labour market requires that all workers, including workers in non-standard forms of employment, are covered by and have access to labour market institutions.

We call for an active dialogue with social partners. Considering the rapid and continued pace of change brought about by digitalisation, it is essential that the European Commission and the Member States, in cooperation with the social partners, monitor the impact of digitalisation on jobs and working conditions, including new forms of employment, and its impact on work-life balance.   

Public services’ employers have to reskill and upskill their workforce. Digital skills are now becoming ever more important in a variety of professional categories. They require training in order for the workforce to develop the skillset needed in a highly digitalised environment. Also, leadership and entrepreneurial spirit are essential for driving the digital transformation forward.

We call upon the European Commission and Member States to adopt a comprehensive approach on digital skills and training as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy and the upcoming New Skills Agenda for Europe, taking into account the needs of all sectors. In this regard, public and private investment in vocational training is essential.