Anke Hassel, Thurid Hustedt and co-authors present eight recommendations to modernise Germany’s bureaucracy

The reforms are essential to secure and modernise German democracy, write the public policy experts.

Anke Hassel, Professor for Public Policy, and Thurid Hustedt, Professor for Public Administration and Management, and co-authors outline eight concrete reform ideas for modernising Germany’s bureaucracy and securing its future viability and democracy in a position paper published on 11 October on the research community portal Zenodo.

Together with 23 leading experts from the public sector, academia, and civil society organisations, Hassel and Hustedt call on the next government to make the modernisation of Germany’s public administration and an accompanying cultural change a central theme of the next legislative period. This goes beyond tackling challenges, overcoming crises and transforming digitally and ecologically, they warn. It is essential “to preserve, successfully organise and modernise our democracy in a timely way.”

“The question of how the agreed policy agenda can be effectively and quickly implemented must be as important as the question of content,” they write in the paper, which is published in German. Hassel and Hustedt recommend the following steps to create a more citizen-focused administration:

1) Renew its self-image to become more agile
2) Adopt sustainable administrative action
3) Adopt modern human resources management practices
4) Design administrative processes for a digital world
5) Design goal- and results-oriented administrative actions
6) Establish cooperation across departments
7) Improve cooperation between federal, state, municipal and EU levels
8) Strengthen public engagement and transparency

Co-authors of Hassel and Hustedt also included:

  • Patrizia Nanz, Vice-President of the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management
  • Julia Borggräfe, Head of Unit “Digitalisation and Workplace”, Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs
  • Jan-Ole Beyer, Comm. Head of Unit “Digital Innovation and Transformation”, Federal Ministry of Interior Affairs
  • Maja Göpel, Professor for Sustainability at Leuphana University
  • Engel Hessel, Head of Subdivision “Digital Innovation”, Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture
  • Katharina Hölzle, Professor for IT-Entrepreneurship, Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam
  • Anne-Gaelle Javelle, CEO German French Future Forum
  • Thomas Krause, Head of Unit “Digitalisation”, Berlin Senate for Economy, Energy, and Enterprises
  • Rafael Laguna de la Vera, Director Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation
  • Christina Lang, CEO DigitalService4Germany
  • Dirk Meyer, Head of Department “Central Services, Administration, Household, Research, and Digitalisation”, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety
  • Jörg Müller-Lietzkow, President HafenCity University Hamburg
  • Frank Nägele, Undersecretary for the Modernisation of the Administration and Infrastructure, Berlin Senate
  • Michael Pachmajer, Chairman Board of Trustees, Cocreation Foundation
  • Markus Richter, CIO for Information Technology of the German government at the Ministry for Interior Affairs
  • Jascha Rohr, Executive Cocreation Foundation
  • Benjamin Seibel, Director CityLAB Berlin
  • Philippa Sigl-Glöckner, Director and Founder Dezernat Zukunft
  • Kathrin Thomaschki, Head of Unit “Security of Supply and Electricity Wholesale”, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
  • Ulrich Weinberg, Director HPI School of Design Thinking
  • Sven Weizenegger, Director Cyber Innovation Hub of the German Armed Forces

Find the full position paper (in German) here.

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More about our experts

  • Anke Hassel , Professor of Public Policy | Co-Director Jacques Delors Centre
  • Thurid Hustedt , Professor of Public Administration and Management