Innovative Approaches to Public Services - the Case of Firefighting
European countries follow different approaches to organising public services. Drawing on domestic and international model projects, this research seeks to establish the lessons that can be learned for the future design of public services in Germany.
The facilities and the scope of public services can be organised in a variety of ways. In the European context, these services’ configuration and governance depends to a significant degree on national welfare state models and past developments, factors which in turn generate current path dependencies.
In the joint project InDaLE we research innovative approaches to public services provision in different European countries and assess their applicability and transferability to rural areas in Germany. This presupposes a focus on suitable adaptation strategies, an aspect that the project team will also investigate.
The research project focuses on the following three public services domains:
We will analyse case studies in Austria, Scotland, and Sweden as well as model projects in Germany.
In the InDaLE project we will analyse three international and two German case studies for each researched public services domain – that is a total of 15 case studies. The common thread linking the cases is their focus on concrete problems of guaranteeing the delivery of public services in rural regions within Germany. These case studies will serve as grounds for proposing, and where appropriate, implementing new solutions. This approach facilitates the comparability and adaptability of European findings on matters of goal setting, initiation, and implementation. Within Germany, we will consider the federal states of Lower Saxony, Saxony, and Bavaria in particular.
At the Thünen Institute of Rural Studies we will research fire services and hazard prevention with a focus on (volunteer) firefighters in Austria, Scotland, and Germany.
For every public services domain we will carry out a literature analysis aimed at understanding the governance structures of the researched contexts. We will select case studies on the basis of a criteria catalogue and an intensive internet-based desk research.
The in-depth investigation of the case studies uses semi-structured interviews with local experts as a key source of knowledge.
InDaLE pursues three main research questions, each of which includes corresponding evaluation approaches:
InDaLE will add to the scientific knowledge on the governance of public services in a European comparison. Findings will also be disseminated to the local authorities and the federal states.
The results will be prepared in different communication formats (e.g. workshops, project website, final report with policy recommendations, fact sheet, and working paper) that will target both practitioners and scientists. Knowledge dissemination to practitioners will therefore be initiated during the course of the project. The core element of this transfer will be two expert workshops, the results of which will inform the preparation of the final report and the policy recommendations. In addition to this, scientific publications and presentations at national and international conferences that focus on sub-aspects of the project are planned.
7.2020 - 6.2022
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ländliche Entwicklung
Project status: ongoing