About PA Awards

The Public Administration Awards in the Western Balkans (the PA Awards) are unique awards system initiated by ReSPA and OECD/SIGMA aimed to enhance governance initiatives and support the establishment of strong public governance systems in the Western Balkan region.

The 2020 Awards will focus on successful responses by the Western Balkan administrations to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. This crisis has forced governments to be inventive and responsive in order to deal effectively with issues concerning both public health and the economy. The PA Awards aim to identify these efforts in the Western Balkans so that they may be a source of inspiration throughout the region.

The purpose of the 2020 ReSPA and OECD/SIGMA PA Awards is to identify, promote, learn from, and recognise inspiring practices, initiatives, services, and measures by governments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis within the Western Balkans.
The Awards will highlight government efforts that advance, promote and anchor innovative, effective, inclusive and adaptable tools and systems in Western Balkan public administrations in order to deal with extraordinary situations.

Awards Objectives and Purpose

The purpose of the 2020 PA Awards is to identify, promote, learn from, and  recognise inspiring practices, initiatives, services, and measures by governments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis within the Western Balkans.

The Awards will highlight government efforts that advance, promote and anchor innovative, effective, inclusive and adaptable tools and systems in Western Balkan public administrations in order to deal with extraordinary situations.

Encouraging a diversity of approaches and perspectives, the Awards will focus on initiatives that ensure continuity in the delivery of public services, resilience and responsiveness of public administrations in ensuring a co-ordinated response and ensuring the continued functioning of public institutions during a crisis.

  • This is crucial for stability and sustainable development in the region. These efforts are also fundamental to assisting progress on the path towards European Union membership.
  • The awards will provide a platform to share knowledge and insights, improve communication and strengthen regional co-operation in order to be better prepared for future crises and challenges.

Awards Criteria

The applications submitted must fall within the following areas linked to the mandate, vision, objectives, and mission of both ReSPA and OECD/SIGMA, namely:

  • Better Regulations
  • Good Governance
  • Digital Government
  • Quality Management
  • Public Administration Reform (PAR)
  • Public Financial Management
  • Human Resource Management and Development.

Awards Category

Adaptability of government during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The current crisis has shown that countries had different levels of preparedness that determined their level of responsiveness to emergent problems. Therefore, the adaptability of government in extraordinary situations has been chosen as the overarching theme of the 2020 PA Awards.The Awards will highlight new services, solutions, systems, tools and approaches introduced by governments, but will also highlight previously-developed measures that proved to be useful and effective during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
The recent pandemic imposed many global and national changes framing completely new patterns for communication, collaboration and the survival of democratic governance systems. The category adaptability of government in extraordinary situations is intended to compile the measures taken by governments in the Western Balkans with the aim of responding comprehensively and promptly to the needs of all stakeholders during the crisis.

Multi-sectoral approaches will be taken into account when considering the adaptability of governments. The responses of the governments will be measured by examining the level of preparedness or adaptability in minimising the negative effects of the crisis while maintaining functionality. To ensure adaptability and rapid problem solving under extraordinary circumstances, governments may have made changes in several different areas.

Potential areas eligible for the PA Awards1:

  • The preparedness of a government for a crisis (how anticipatory mechanisms and planning helped to ease the impact of the crisis / achieving sustainability and accountability).
  • The adaptability of a government in order to mobilise and rearrange resources quickly to deal with the crisis and limit its impact.
  • Anticipation of skills needed (identification of the skills gap and the ability to find the right talent at the right time in exceptional circumstances).
  • The responses that may have a lasting impact on the performance of the government (e.g. resilience, agility, crisis communication, design of future strategies – foresight planning, etc.).
  • Use of a multi-channel approach and simplification of services to ensure the accessibility of services in the crisis.
  • Quality management of services during the crisis.
  • Setting a strategic approach for crisis management (communication);
  • Co-creating and acting jointly with the scientific community and CSOs implementing changes, while focusing on protecting the most vulnerable and leaving no one behind (participative and inclusive).
  • Using quality management tools as a function of adaptability and responsiveness in PA organisations.
  • Leadership in Crisis Management.
  • Adjusted systems or work arrangements for human resource management (HRM) (e.g. teleworking) or financial management.
  • Providing information systems allowing effective knowledge management and teamwork remotely.
  • Providing transparent and clear communication to citizens relating to the crisis and the measures taken.
  • Adapting existing tools and services for the new coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and therefore reacting quickly and efficiently.

Eligible Participants

The initiatives must meet the following conditions to be eligible for the PA Awards:

  • The PA Awards are open to all public sector institutions from all administrative levels (national, local, etc.) from all ReSPA Members and Kosovo*.
  • Both self-nomination and nomination by third parties are accepted. However, applications should be made by an organisation.
  • The initiative must be innovative and shall comply with the areas of the Award as mentioned above.
  • The initiative must have been implemented and operational, with demonstrated and documented results.
  • The application must be duly filled out.
  • The submission must include all the required supporting documents.
  • No individuals can be awarded.



General Contest Rules

  • ReSPA-OECD/SIGMA PA AWARDS 2020 looks for inspiring solutions that have strengthened governments’ adaptability in dealing with emergencies such as coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • When submitting a project, the project owners accept the rules of the ReSPA-OECD/SIGMA PA AWARDS 2020.
  • Submissions that violate international copyright provisions will be excluded.
  • ReSPA-OECD/SIGMA PA AWARDS 2020 cannot be held liable for accepted submissions and their contents and rights.

Who can Apply / Be Nominated?

  • ReSPA-OECD/SIGMA PA AWARDS 2020 is open to public sector institutions at the national level from all ReSPA Members (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) and Kosovo*. The call is also open for the sub-national and local level in case there is proved connection (collaboration / partnership / transfer of knowledge) with a PA institution at the national level.
  • In the case of public-private partnerships, the lead nominee must be a public sector institution.
  • Individuals cannot participate in the award.

Application and Submission of Projects to the ReSPA-OECD/SIGMA PA AWARDS

  • Third party nomination: Application for the award is possible through nomination by a public sector institution, school of public administration and public governance, academia, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), private sector entities, UN agencies, etc.
  • Public sector institutions can also directly apply to the award.
  • Registration, including submitting project information, must be completed online via the ReSPA-OECD/SIGMA PA AWARDS contest platform.
  • Deadline for applications is July 24, 2020.
  • Submitting a solution/project/initiative does not entitle the public sector institution to any benefits. There is no way of challenging this decision legally.
  • Only submitted and fully filled in applications will be considered by the award Jury. The organisers of the award have a right to ask the applicants to provide missing information.
  • Submission is free of charge.
  • Each application may include in addition to the questionnaire (a) an internal or external evaluation/ report or similar document that highlights the results and impact of the initiative (b) letters of reference written by a third party, etc.

Which Initiatives are Suitable for ReSPA-OECD/SIGMA PA AWARDS?

  • The initiative must support enhancement of the adaptability of government during emergencies, have proven to be effective in managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and shall comply with the award category mentioned above.
  • The initiative must have been implemented with demonstrated and documented results.
  • In case of multiple submissions by the same organisation, each initiative requires a separate registration.
  • PA Awards can only be conferred to public sector institutions that have ownership of the nominated initiatives.
  • Consultancy companies or other types of organisations working on a consultancy basis are not eligible for the PA Awards.
  • The award is only given to the institution that is responsible for implementing the initiative.
  • In the case of public-private partnerships, the PA Award goes to the public sector institution.

Exploitation Rights and Copyrights

  • By submitting a project to the ReSPA-OECD/SIGMA PA AWARDS, the applicant provides the award organisers with the exploitation rights for the submitted videos, pictures and other content for non-commercial use for the promotion of the nominated product, presented in print, broadcast and any other forms of media, as well as for events.
  • The applicant must own the copyright of all pictures, sounds, contents etc. related to application. All software used must be licensed.

Contest Language

The official language of the Contest is English. Therefore, the initiative, as well as supporting documents, will be carried out using only the English language.


Exclusion and Disqualification of Submissions from the Award

  • Incomplete submissions and those not in line with the award rules and conditions will be withdrawn from the selection process. There is no legal recourse possible against the decision of disqualification for the below reasons. The applicants will be informed in a timely manner if their application is withdrawn from the selection process.
  • Conditions leading to the immediate disqualification of the contest are:
    • conflict of interest and non-adherence to the process by those concerned;
    • presentation of misleading and false information and supporting documents;
    • inability to provide sufficient documentation to review the initiative;
    • unethical behaviour, including undue pressure on any person involved in the evaluation and selection process;
    • lack of ownership of creative rights or infringement of copyrights of others;
    • false registration information, non-confirmation to the rules of the contest guidelines.

Winners Selection & Jury Process

The awardees will be selected from all submissions in each respective category through the jury process as published on the website. No legal recourse is possible against the jury decision.

Contact us

ReSPA and OECD/SIGMA are devoted to enhance governance initiatives and support the establishment of strong public governance systems in the Western Balkan region. To recognise efforts in this field, ReSPA and OECD/SIGMA jointly initiated the Public Administration Awards in the Western Balkans (the PA Awards).

PAA team is happy to talk to you about any questions, feedback or propositions concerning the Public Administration Awards and its events.

If you have any questions related to the rules, contest, etc, please contact:

If you have any difficulties with the awards database, please contact

1 This list provides examples of eligible areas. The list is not exhaustive and applications in other areas that have helped to deal with the crisis in the public administration domain are also welcome.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and ICJ Advisory opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of independence

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