miércoles, 3 de junio de 2015

What about the application of #SharingEconomy models within the #governments ?

In few years, Sharing Economy has evolved from being a marginal alternative for obtaining services to be a mainstream option in some sectors. The reasons behind this quick disruption are a more efficient usage of unallocated resources and the displacement of the ownership culture by the access culture. Sharing Economy is introducing new challenges that need to be solved in many public policy areas. From the labour regulations to the taxation system, Governments are facing the need to review legacy legislative frameworks and updating them in order to absorb this new business model. However, among this rumble, few time is dedicated to think about the possible contribution of the Sharing Economy to the modernisation of the public sector. 
To begin with, the application of the Sharing Economy principles on the human resources policies could have as a consequence an increase of public sector productivity. Due to the need of legal certainty and as leverage to reinforce the independence of the civil servants, the majority of the developed countries governments have developed strict human resources distribution rules. This means that in period of work overload in a certain unit it is difficult to reinforce it with human resources not completely occupied in other units. Opening Time Banks for voluntaries who would like to spend their unallocated time working in other areas would help to achieve a best global balance of efforts in the public sector. The creation of Time Banks would contribute to a more efficient usage of human resources, but an aditional impact would be a boost of innovation as a consequence of the participation in some tasks of civil servants not usually involved in them, providing new perspectives and techniques to its fulfillment.
Besides achieving the policy objectives, efficiency is a general principle that should guide public sector activities. This should be especially true regarding the procurement of the good and services needed to fulfill the tasks assigned to the civil servants. Sharing Economy services could provide good value for money. Among the services most frequently hired by the government there are travel agency services and any kind of consultant activities. Both kind of services are in the front line of the Sharing Economy revolution (Uber, AirBnB, Task Rabbit, Amazon Mechanical Turk, ...), so it would be a good idea to begin the updating of government procurement rules in order to favour the hiring of these services. A collateral positive outcome of this initiative would be a general improvement of the labour conditions and fulfilment of taxation obligations in the Sharing Economy sector due to the strict norms in this areas for the governments providers.
But the public sector could also play a role as an active party in the Sharing Economy and at the same time achieve a better fulfillment of its obligation to pursue the public interest. The above mentioned Time Bank could also be the source of human resources for charities and third sector organisations. The empty buildings and offices of the government could be used for co-working areas for start-ups and SMEs. These are only two examples on how to convert the government on a Sharing Economy service provider. The Sharing Economy business model and the digital technology pave the way to new models to develop public sector activities and new public services
Any event that disrupts economy or society is a potential disruptor of public sector. This is the case of the Sharing Economy. Therefore, governments should not only think on the more smart public policy approach in order to reap the benefits of the event by the society. It is also an obligation to think how the Sharing Economy could help to achieve a more effective and efficient government.

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