Ministers’ Deputies
CM Documents

CM(2009)156 20 October 20091
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1073 Meeting, 9 December 2009

2 Democracy and political questions

2.4 Centre of expertise for local government reform −
3rd annual report of activities

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary

INTRODUCTION 5

I. RISING TO THE CHALLENGES 6

1. Rising to the challenges identified by the Advisory Board 6
a. Make the most of the resources 7
b. Continue to invest in R&D and partnerships 7
c. Become relevant for the whole of Europe 8
2. Contribution to the Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance 8

II. THE CENTRE IN 2008: SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE ACTIVITY 9

1. Capacity-building and other tools 9
a. Content of the tools 9
b. The planning and developing of new tools 10
2. Country-specific programmes 11

      a. Current level of activity 11
      b. Launching a new programme 11
      c. Programme implementation 12

3. Partnerships and communication 12

      a. Relations with other bodies and organisations 12
      b. Other forms of communication 13

4. Overview of the activity in 2008 13

III. LOOKING AHEAD: PROSPECTS FOR 2009 AND BEYOND 16

1. Future tools 16
2. Country-specific programmes 16
a. New initiatives in 2009 16
b. Prospects for 2010 and beyond 17
3. Partnerships and communication 17
4. Overview of future activities 18

APPENDIX I – 2008 Progress Review Report 21

APPENDIX II – Current tools 29
a. National Training Strategies 29
b. Leadership Development 29
c. Best Practice 30
d. Fundamental Performance Review 30
e. Guide to Local Democracy 30
f. Public Ethics Benchmark 30
g. Strengthening the capacity of Local Government Associations 31
h. Performance Management 31
i. Citizen Participation 32
j. Local Finance Benchmarks 32
k. “Leadership Academy” programme 33
l. Municipal Urban Planning 33

APPENDIX III – Detailed description of country-specific programmes 34
1. Albania 34
a. Previous activities 34
b. Activities in 2008 34
c. Envisaged activities 35
2. Armenia 35
a. Previous activities 35
b. Activities in 2008 36
c. Envisaged activities 36

3. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) 36
a. Previous activities 36
b. Activities in 2008 37
c. Envisaged activities 37
4. Bulgaria 38
a. Previous activities 38
b. Activities in 2008 38
c. Envisaged activities 39
5. Croatia 40
a. Previous activities 40
6. Georgia 40
a. Previous activities 40
b. Activities in 2008 40
c. Envisaged activities 42
7. Hungary 42
a. Activities in 2008 42
b. Activities in 2008 43
8. Malta 43
9. Moldova 43
a. Previous activities 43
b. Activities in 2008 43
c. Envisaged activities 44
10. Montenegro 44
a. Current activities 44
b. Activities in 2008 45
c. Envisaged activities 47
11. Romania 48
a. Previous activities 48
b. Activities in 2008 48
c. Envisaged activities 48
12. Russian Federation (North-West Russian and Kaliningrad) 48
a. Previous activities 48
b. Current activities 49
c. Envisaged activities 49
13. Russian Federation (Chechen Republic) 49
a. Activities in 2008 49
b. Envisaged activities 50
14. Serbia 50
a. Previous activities 50
b. Activities in 2008 51
c. Envisaged activities 52
15. “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” 52
a. Previous activities 52
b. Activities in 2008 53
c. Envisaged activities 54
16. Ukraine 54
a. Previous activities 54
b. Activities in 2008 54
c. Envisaged activities 55

APPENDIX IV Description of various partnership and co-operation initiatives 56
a. Relations with other Council of Europe bodies 56
b. Relations with the EU and its institutions 57
c. Relations with the OSCE 57
d. Relations with the UN and its agencies 58
e. Relations with other international partners 58
f. Relations with local stakeholders 62

APPENDIX V – List of abbreviations 63

Executive Summary

Created at the beginning of 2006 following the decision of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government and confirmed in May 2008 by decision of the Committee of Ministers, the Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform aims at building capacity in local authorities throughout Europe by the use of effective, innovative and impact-oriented programmes.

Like in 2007, in 2008 the Centre strived to rise to the three challenges identified by its Advisory Board at its first meeting: maximise the level of its activity within the limits imposed by budgetary constraints, continue develop new tools and partnerships and develop towards Western and Nordic countries.

In 2008, the level of its activity reached a peak.

A new Toolkit including a tool on Benchmarking local finance (developed and road-tested in co-operation with the Open Society Institute) and another one on Benchmarking Public Ethics were finalised but, for budgetary reasons, will only be published in 2009. New tools on Performance Management and Municipal Planning are in an advanced phase of preparation and a new toolkit including these tools should be finalised and published in the second half of 2009.

In 2008, the Centre of Expertise implemented 26 programmes in 13 countries. It started to work for the first time in Chechnya (a series of four preparatory activities which should lead in 2009 to a fully-fledged programme), Hungary (two programmes) and Malta (one programme).

The Centre’s success depends to a large extent on the quality of the partnerships it can develop: its capacity to develop valuable tools is highly dependent on good quality information and expertise; the implementation of its country-specific programmes relies on partnerships with local, but also often with international stakeholders; and, last but not least, as its operational budget is very small, the Centre’s activity is highly dependent upon the ability to attract additional resources.

First and foremost, the Centre strived to further strengthen its co-operation with its privileged partners, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy, in order to obtain the necessary mutual support and synergies.

In 2008, specific co-operation agreements were signed with the French INET and the Saint Petersburg Academy for Public Administration. A Memorandum of Understanding which includes possible co-operation on capacity building at local level was negotiated with the UNDP – Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS and should become operational in 2009. The Centre has also received a request for establishing formal co-operation from the Moscow City Government. The Centre has brought international input into the French OPPALE and has strengthened its co-operation with NALAS, which should lead in 2009 to a fully-fledged regional programme.

Over the past few years, the Centre has developed a fair amount of expertise and experience in methodologies involving evaluation and self-assessment, benchmarking, or comparing and learning from each other. In 2007 and 2008, this experience proved very pertinent in devising the proposed Strategy on Innovation and Good Governance.

In 2008, the Centre assisted in the implementation of the Strategy, in particular as regards supporting the countries which have joined it, promoting the Strategy among European countries and local authorities, ensuring the secretariat of the Stakeholders’ Platform and defining the main criteria for granting the Good Governance Quality Label.

2009 will to be a challenging year. The Centre is expected to consolidate its capacity to provide effective and qualified assistance to member states and their local authorities. Country-specific programmes need to be pursued in response to rising demand. At the same time, new tools need also to be devised in order for the Centre to remain at the forefront of the expertise available. For this to happen, it must develop and further deepen its partnerships and networking, benefiting from the existing know-how and contributing to its development.

More and more interest and requests for support are received by the Centre of Expertise. However, as the Centre depends heavily on external sources of funding, prospects concerning the activity level are not all that optimistic.

On the one hand, the application rules for EC funding have evolved and more often than not the Centre of Expertise is no longer eligible to direct funding or even as applicant in the procurement processes. On the other, the current financial crisis and the necessary shift in both national and EU priorities that it may entail means that there is a high probability that the capacity of the Centre to raise funds both from joint projects with the EC and from voluntary contributions by member states might be affected.

INTRODUCTION

Created at the beginning of 2006 following the decision of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government2, the Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform aims at building capacity in local authorities by the use of effective and impact-oriented programmes. Such programmes are inspired from new public management techniques and practice and make use of template forms and evaluation instruments (“tools”) and standard methodologies in order to implement practical projects (“country-specific programmes”) in co-operation with local, national and international stakeholders aiming at obtaining practical strengthening of the institutional capacity of local authorities (in particular reform of local regulations and practice).

The Centre is part of the Secretariat (Directorate of Democratic Institutions, in the Directorate General for Democracy and Political Affairs) and works in co-operation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR). It has an Advisory Board, which is a framework for consultation between the Secretariat, CDLR and Congress in order to provide advice to the Centre on:

a) the development and implementation of its strategic priorities and plans;
b) lessons to be drawn from an evaluation of its achievements;
c) opportunities for co-operation both within the Council of Europe and with external partners.

The members of the Advisory Board are representatives of the CDLR (Greta Billing, Norway) and the Congress (Keith Whitmore, UK), together with the Secretary General of the Congress and the Director of Democratic Institutions.

The Centre of Expertise was created for an initial trial period of three years, expiring at the end of 2008. In the light of the good results obtained in its first two years of operation, the Centre was confirmed by the decision taken by the Committee of Ministers on 16 May 2008.

The present document constitutes the third Annual Report of the Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform (CELGR). This report is addressed to the Committee of Ministers to serve as the basis for a debate on the activities and outcomes of the Centre.

MESSAGE FROM THE ADVISORY BOARD

The Advisory Board of the Centre of Expertise was set up as a framework for consultation between the Secretariat, CDLR and Congress to provide advice to the Centre on:

a) the development and implementation of its strategic priorities and plans;
b) lessons to be drawn from an evaluation of its achievements;
c) opportunities for co-operation both within the Council of Europe and with external partners.

The members of the Advisory Board are representatives of the CDLR (Ms Greta Billing, Norway) and the Congress (Mr Keith Whitmore, UK), together with the Secretary General of the Congress and the Director of Democratic Institutions.

At its 5th meeting (Strasbourg, 19 June 2009), the Advisory Board examined the third annual activity report of the Centre of Expertise and agreed first of all to express its appreciation for the decision of the Committee of Ministers to prolong the activity of the Centre beyond its initial three year period (2006-2008).

Secondly, looking at the way the Centre has risen to the challenges it had identified as the major ones for its action (Make the most of the resources, Continue to invest in R&D and partnerships, Become relevant for the whole of Europe: see below, under I,1) the Board noted with satisfaction that the Centre has continuously developed new tools, expanded the geographical scope of its interventions to Western European countries and diversified its sources of funding. As a further development, the Centre has also actively contributed to the definition of the Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance and is already providing an active support to its implementation, be it in individual countries or in the framework of the European Label for Innovation and Good Governance.

Against the backdrop of these positive developments, the Board noted that, three years after its establishment, the foundations on which the Centre is built remain fragile, as regards both its human resources – the post of Head of the Centre is to be filled again, after the end of the secondment period of its current post-holder – and its budget – too dependent on voluntary contributions and external financing.

The Board recommended that the Centre (a) work in support of the Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance, (b) continue to propose its tools to all European countries, (c) target its “customers” in a way that enhances both effectiveness of action (by making greater use of local authorities’ associations, for instance, or of training institutions in order to have its tool widely used and disseminated) and attractiveness for providers of financing (ministries of foreign affairs, national agencies for international development, international agencies, etc.). The communication strategy of the Centre – which was established but implemented only to a limited extent – should reflect this approach.

The Board noted that the economic downturn that affects European states places additional strains on local governments, whose role in providing responses to the needs of citizens is enhanced. This highlights once more the role that the Centre could and should play in enhancing the capacities of local authorities across Europe to face the consequences of the crisis.

The Board therefore recommends the Committee of Ministers, when examining the draft for the 2010 budget of the Council of Europe, to vote budgetary and staffing resources at least of the same level as in the past years, in order not to weaken the capacity of the Centre to respond to the challenges it is confronted with.

The Board also recommends that the European ministers responsible for local and regional government, who advocated the establishment of the Centre at their Budapest conference in 2005, be informed on the occasion of their next conference in Utrecht (November 2009) of the achievements of the Centre in the first three years of existence and of the decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to prolong it as from 2008.

I. RISING TO THE CHALLENGES

In the first three years of its existence, the Centre of Expertise had an ambitious agenda to implement: develop new tools, implement numerous capacity-building programmes (between 20 and 26) in a large number of countries (between 12 and 14) and develop relations and networks with other local, national and European stakeholders. Full descriptions of its activity in 2006 and 2007 appear in the annual reports for the first two years [doc. CELGR(2007)1-rev and CELGR(2008)1].

After discussing the second annual report, the Advisory Board concluded that “although it has only been operational for two years, the Centre is working in a very effective way and that it provides genuine and measurable added value to local government in Europe”. Examining the results of the Centre, the Committee of Ministers “agreed that the Centre has fulfilled the expectations that justified its creation in 2006 and that in order to further pursue its overall goals it should continue its activities in co-operation with all partners concerned, in particular the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the CDLR”.

1. Rising to the challenges identified by the Advisory Board

After examining the results of the first year of operation of the Centre and in the light of its experience, the Advisory Board identified three main challenges for the Centre during its first three years of operation. In its activity, the Centre strived to respond to these challenges and to develop its activity along the lines suggested by the Board.


a. Make the most of the resources

The first challenge consists in achieving the desired impact at the current level of resources.

The programmes of the Centre of Expertise have raised interest and have met with significant and increasing demand. However, the current resources of the Centre of Expertise, both in terms of budget and especially of human resources, are very limited and the appropriation in the ordinary budget has not been adapted to take account of this increased demand.

Financial resources. In order to respond to the challenge of increasing its offer in a context of zero nominal growth in budgetary terms, the Centre had to look to additional sources of funding. While the shortage of human resources and the difficulty of hiring project staff in a timely and effective manner prevented it from launching a fully-fledged fund-raising campaign, the Centre of Expertise managed to attract a sizable amount of extra-budgetary funds. These funds came either in the form of voluntary contributions or through contractual arrangements with a number of partners.

In 2007, the Centre spent a total of approximately € 1,130,000 (including € 857,000 operational expenditure and € 273,000 project management staff) derived from extra-budgetary sources (to be compared with € 169,300 operational resources derived from the Council of Europe budget). In 2008, the Centre spent a total of around € 980,000 derived from extra-budgetary sources (compared with € 164,400 for the ordinary budget). However, these amounts do not take account of the sizable contributions made by other donors directly to the local partners or of the contributions made by these partners themselves towards the implementation of the country-specific programmes proposed by the Centre.

Human resources. During its three-year trial period, the appropriations of the Centre in the ordinary budget provided for three positions (programme officer, project manager and administrative assistant). The budgets did not provide for the (senior) position of the Head of the Centre. However, following a call by the Secretary General for expressions of interest, the position of Head of the Centre was filled by secondment between January 2007 and December 2008.

The level of activity peaked in 2008: new tools were produced, new and promising partnerships were created and, first and foremost, 26 programmes were implemented in 13 countries.

The Centre’s reliance on extra-budgetary sources is an incentive for its trying to prepare interesting, innovative and practical programmes. However, it also means that its activity may be impacted by economic cycles and by priorities set by donors.

b. Continue to invest in R&D and partnerships

The second challenge concerns the arbitration between the three strands of work of the Centre of Expertise

The Centre’s work is organised around three types of activities: an operational one (strengthening local authorities and their associations through the implementation of capacity-building programmes) and two more strategic, long-term ones (research and development of new tools on the basis of best European practice, and creating and developing partnerships with national and international stakeholders).

There is increasing pressure from local stakeholders to launch new country-specific capacity-building programmes. These programmes are at the very core of the Centre’s mandate. However, in order to ensure that they continue to lead the field in the medium-to-long term, the Centre of Expertise needs to go on developing new tools and to communicate and foster co-operation and partnerships with other stakeholders.

To respond to this challenge, the Centre of Expertise intensified both its work on developing new tools and its partnership-building initiatives. In order to have more leverage and a better perspective for the implementation of programmes, the development of new tools was carried out in co-operation with various partners. In 2007, a full new Toolkit “Towards a modern local government association” was developed, published and implemented in co-operation with UNDP. In 2008, a new Toolkit including a tool on Benchmarking local finance (developed and road-tested in co-operation with the Open Society Institute) and another one on Benchmarking Public Ethics were finalised but, for budgetary reasons, will only be published in 2009. New tools on Performance Management and Municipal Planning are in an advanced phase of preparation and a new toolkit including these tools should be finalised and published in the second half of 2009. A new Toolkit on Human Resources Management should be prepared in 2009 in co-operation with the French CNFPT.

Detailed descriptions of the current developed tools and the partnerships created or envisaged are presented in Appendices II and IV respectively.

c. Become relevant for the whole of Europe

The third challenge concerns the need to extend the offer of capacity-building programmes to local authorities from a larger number of democracies

The Centre is not a vehicle for West-East know-how transfer. Its programmes are based on the best of European practice and they should become relevant for building or strengthening the capacity of local authorities in all European countries, regardless of their geographical position or their experience in local government. In order to do so, in 2008 the Centre continued to invest in its research and development capacity, to develop tools and programmes and update the existing ones in the light of the most recent experience of local authorities throughout Europe.

After road-testing the Public Ethics Benchmarking Programme in Spain, the Centre extended it programmes to several EU member states. After Bulgaria in 2006 and Romania in 2007, in 2008 the Centre started to work for the first time in Malta and Hungary.

In 2009, the Centre will also start to implement a capacity-building programme in Turkey.

Local authorities from France, Belgium and Germany expressed interest in implementing capacity-building programmes offered by the Centre; the financial implications of this interest needs to be assessed. French local authorities participating in the Serbian programme on performance management took back home knowledge and instruments that they continued to use in their respective municipalities.

The Centre has also continued to develop partnerships with relevant national and international organisations. Moreover, it has initiated contacts with various stakeholders which open up good prospects for developing, testing and implementing programmes in Western and Northern European countries. The Centre offered support to and co-operated with several French institutions in respect of performance management and citizen participation.

It is therefore clear that the Centre can start implementing fully-fledged programmes in Western and Northern European countries as from the second half of 2009.

2. Contribution to the Strategy on Innovation and Good Governance

Over the past few years, the Centre has developed a fair amount of expertise and experience in methodologies involving evaluation and self-assessment, benchmarking, or comparing and learning from each other. In 2007 and 2008, this experience proved very pertinent in devising the proposed Strategy on Innovation and Good Governance.

The Strategy aims at mobilising central authorities (through strategic programmes of action agreed upon between governments and associations of local authorities) as well as local authorities (through the adoption of a commitment and an evaluation and improvement mechanism) – towards implementing the “twelve principles of good democratic governance at local level”. Moreover, the Strategy provides for the development of a European Label of Quality to be granted in a decentralised manner by national panels to be accredited by the Council of Europe. The experience of the Centre in evaluation mechanism should be pivotal in the preparation and implementation of the European Label.

The Strategy was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 25 March 2008. It was officially endorsed by Belgium (in fact, by each of its three regions), Bulgaria, Norway, Spain and Ukraine. Its implementation also started in Italy and in a number of municipalities from countries which have not yet officially joined the Strategy. Other countries have also expressed an interest in joining the Strategy.

The Strategy has a decision-making body named the Stakeholders’ Platform, composed of representatives of the Committee of Ministers, of the Parliamentary Assembly, of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, of the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy and of the Conference of International NGOs.

In 2008, the Centre assisted in the implementation of the Strategy, in particular as regards:
- supporting the countries which have joined the Strategy to progress with its implementation;
- promoting the Strategy among European countries and local authorities;
- ensuring the secretariat of the Stakeholders’ Platform;
- defining the main criteria for granting the Good Governance Quality Label.

II THE CENTRE IN 2008 – SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE ACTIVITY

1. Capacity-building and other tools

One of the main tasks of the Centre is to identify, adapt and develop, when appropriate in co-operation with bodies within the Council of Europe and with external partners, capacity-building tools from the best of European experience.

a. Content of the tools

These tools address various topics and employ various methods. Many of them take advantage of evaluation tools (such as questionnaires, benchmarks, score cards...) and propose various methods to using them (such as self-assessments, assessments by experts or colleagues, comparing to the best or the average, 360° reviews, seminars...). They often also offer guides or solutions to train participants for the maximisation and dissemination of results. Most of the tools are road-tested before publication so the publication also includes real-life examples of results obtained.

Toolkit I included four tools: National Training Strategy, Leadership Development, Best Practice and Citizen Participation. Toolkit II, prepared in co-operation with UNDP, was entirely dedicated to the strengthening of local government associations and included five tools: Performance Benchmark, Organisation Development, Strategic Plan/Financial Strategy, Services Strategy and Leadership and Management Improvement. Toolkit III, finalised in 2008 includes two tools developed exclusively on the basis of the work of the CDLR: Public Ethics Benchmarking and Financial Management Benchmarking.

Three more tools are currently planned or under development. They are presented under section III. 1 b. below.

In between Toolkits, the Centre may publish smaller-scale booklets, aiming at disseminating less ambitious tools or significant results obtained from the implementation of tools after their publication.

A more detailed description of the various tools prepared appears in Appendix II, which also mentions the countries where each of these tools has already been or is being implemented. The actual implementation of these tools is presented in Appendix III.

In 2008, the Centre of Expertise also allocated resources (in particular human) to support the development, promotion and implementation of the Strategy. Based on its experience with evaluation tools, the Centre developed a first draft Matrix of Good Governance at Local Level based on the twelve Principles included in the Strategy.

This evaluation Matrix will be further developed in 2009, in co-operation with a number of municipalities and technical institutions specialised in evaluation mechanisms.

b. The planning and developing of new tools

The planning of new tools is a flexible process. The Centre needs to produce tools which respond to real needs, which are practical and effective, and which can be both developed and implemented with relative ease and cost-efficiency. In order to doing so, the Centre decides to launch the preparation of new tools taking account of several factors:
- real needs found on the ground. For example, the preparation of Toolkit II, dedicated to strengthening local government association, was prompted by specific requests formulated by local authorities from countries where their associations are particularly weak or vulnerable;
- forward-thinking documents produced by the Council of Europe, in particular the Budapest Agenda; for example, the Public Ethics Benchmarking Programme was produced essentially in the light of the importance attached by the Budapest Agenda to raising ethical standards in local government. In the future, it is expected that the results generated by the implementation of the Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level would be among the main drivers of the development function of the Centre of Expertise;
- existing Council of Europe instruments, in particular recommendations of the Committee of Ministers and of the Congress. For example, the decision of developing the Financial Benchmarks was taken in the light of the two recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, but also of the recommendations made by the Congress following its monitoring exercise, in particular in Eastern European countries; the future Toolkit on Human Resources Management will also incorporate results of the current activities on this topic of both the Congress and the CDLR;
- existing practice and expertise. For example, the Best Practice Programme was inspired, to a large extent, by the Beacon Scheme which is being implemented in the UK.

The content of the tools is supposed to be as practical and impact-oriented as possible. The tools are often based on existing knowledge either inside or outside the Council of Europe and they strive to adapt the format in which such knowledge is presented in order to make it both very practical and, subject to a certain degree of national adaptation, applicable to the European context. For example, the Public Ethics Benchmark is based entirely on the work of the CDLR (Handbook on public ethics at local level) and the Congress (Recommendation 60 (1999) on Political integrity of local and regional representatives. The future Municipal Planning tool will take inspiration from the Urban Charter developed by the Congress. The Leadership Benchmark is largely inspired from a successful UK programme. Toolkit II incorporates inter alia results of the work of VNG International.

There is no general rule other than flexibility and adaptation to actual circumstances in respect of the methodology to developing new tools. Such development may be performed in various ways, depending on existing expertise and human resources in the Centre of Expertise, but also on budgetary implications and prospects for implementation that each option offers. Having regard to the current level of activity, the trend is to work more often than not in co-operation with other partners and/or experts in order to lower the development time and costs and to open the door to potential future co-operation in the implementation of these tools:

- Toolkit I was developed entirely in-house. No outside experts or organisations were involved;
- Toolkit II, on the contrary, was developed in full co-operation with UNDP, with some assistance from VNG International and with the help of an expert;
- the Public Ethics Benchmark (to be published in Toolkit III) was developed with input from an expert: the Centre had the concept, the content (in the form of the Handbook on Public Ethics and Recommendation 60 (1999) of the Congress) and prepared the model benchmark, as well as the general implementation methodology. The expert actually adapted the content to fill in the model benchmark;
- the Financial Benchmarks were developed in co-operation with OSI: the Centre had again the concept, the content (generated by Recommendations Rec(2004)1 and Rec(2005)1 of the Committee of Ministers), the model benchmark and methodology (inspired, to a large degree by the very successful Public Ethics Benchmark), while OSI ensured, with the help of two experts, most of the actual development and also had a very significant contribution to its road testing in Bulgaria;

- Toolkit III (Performance Management and Municipal Planning) will again be the result of in-house work (no involvement from outside experts and organisations);
- the Toolkit on Human Resources Management will be developed in co-operation with two partner institution (French CNFPT and EUROPA), while the Toolkit on Inter-municipal co-operation will be developed in a broad partnership (with the Division of Programmes for Democratic Stability, UNDP and OSI).

2. Country-specific programmes

After preparing the tools described in Part II, the Centre works with local authorities’ associations, ministries and other key local government stakeholders and assists them to introduce practical capacity-building programmes designed on the basis of its tools.

a. Current level of activity

In 2008, the Centre of Expertise implemented (in full or in part) 26 programmes in 13 countries (counting the four activities implemented in Chechnya as one programme). It is to be noted that the level of activity as compared to 2007 increased. Appendix II to this report presents in more detail the country-specific programmes which are being implemented with the help of the Centre in various countries, as well as the follow-up which is envisaged in the short term.

In 2008, the Centre of Expertise started to work for the first time in Chechnya (a series of four preparatory activities which should lead in 2009 to a fully-fledged programme), Hungary (two programmes) and Malta (one programme).

Country-specific programmes are the most visible part of the work of the Centre of Expertise, and to a certain extent, its very raison d’être: they involve local authorities and provide them with tools and guidance for making actual changes in their day-to-day practice in order to improve their governance and hence the quality of life of their citizens.

Country-specific programmes are also very resource-intensive: they consist of a large number of steps (in general 20 to 30), each of them indispensable for the good continuation of the programme. They require the preparation, adaptation and publication of documents; they call for the organisation of various types of meetings which are part of the methodologies: meetings of Steering Groups created to orient the programmes, training sessions for peer reviewers, award ceremonies, peer reviews…

b. Launching a new programme

All programmes are based on the innovative3 tools developed by the Centre of Expertise itself. The Centre is not designed to implement other ad hoc types of activities such as one-off seminars or training, policy advice and guidance to individual local authorities4, or to provide grants for projects to be implemented by outside beneficiaries. Rather, the Centre of Expertise develops tools, methodologies and programmes and helps local authorities to implement them, with a view to achieving change.

There are three main conditions which need to be met simultaneously for launching a new country-specific programme.

Firstly, there needs to be a specific demand from a potential partner and/or potential beneficiaries. Most often, the potential partner is an association of local authorities. In countries where these associations are weak or are not interested in providing such services to their members, it may be the ministry responsible for local government or even an NGO or training institution which has strong links with local authorities and manages to raise their interest for the practical capacity-building programmes the Centre is offering.

Secondly, there needs to exist a high level of commitment from potential local partners and beneficiaries. This is a sine qua non condition for having good prospects for the success and the sustainability of the programmes. The Centre of Expertise does not deliver the programmes to the local authorities. It merely helps participating local authorities and the local partner(s) to implement the programme themselves, by providing quality assurance, general supervision and management (including financial management) and step-by-step guidance. A large effort still needs to be provided by the beneficiaries and the partner.

Thirdly, the necessary resources have to be available. Given the smallness of its ordinary budget, the Secretariat actively seeks outside sources of financing for well focused programmes. Thus, most financial resources for the implementation of the country-specific programmes are provided by the European Commission and by governments through voluntary contributions.

c. Programme implementation

The preparation of the tools represents the necessary step of transforming information into knowledge. During the implementation of the country-specific programmes, local authorities will transform this knowledge into local skills; but they will also transform skills into institutional capacity by obtaining access to, and making use of, effective methodologies and procedures (benchmarks, self-assessment forms, health-check lists, peer reviews, performance control panels, learning from best practice, practical strategies…); and, last but not least, they will transform capacity into real-life action, as the implementation of most of the tools leads to change during the process of implementation itself and therefore to short-to-medium term impact.

The capacity-building tools the Centre has developed are flexible. While prepared in the light of the best of European experience, they are not necessarily applicable as such in all countries and to all local authorities alike. The Centre of Expertise assists local stakeholders to tailor them to their needs and circumstances. The first step of the implementation of each and every programme consists therefore in the necessary adaptation of the European tools to suit local circumstances with the help of local experts and stakeholders.

Local management (organising events and ensuring that local deliverables are produced as scheduled) is provided by the local partner(s), be it an association of local authorities, a ministry, an NGO or a training institution. The Centre ensures that both local and international expertise is fed into the process. As mentioned above, depending on the programme, most of the concrete work of implementation is usually done by the local authorities participating in the programme.

If a national stakeholder manifests its interest in implementing a programme devised on the basis of a tool developed by the Centre of Expertise, the Centre may grant it the permission to do so. The Centre can also provide training in the effective use of the tools to motivated stakeholders.

The Centre of Expertise welcomes any competent partners to share expertise, work jointly (both on development of new tools and on implementing new programmes) and/or to secure funding for the various projects.

3. Partnerships and communication

The Centre of Expertise develops tools in the light of the best of European experience. Therefore its first strand of work is highly dependent on good quality information and expertise; the implementation of its country-specific programmes relies on partnerships with local, but also often with international stakeholders; and, last but not least, as its operational budget is very small, the Centre’s activity is highly dependent upon the ability to attract additional resources.

The Centre’s privileged partners are obviously the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy. In 2008, efforts have been made to increase the level of co-operation in particular with the Congress, in order to obtain the necessary mutual support and synergies.

a. Relations with other bodies and organisations

The Centre needs to develop partnerships with national and international organisations which can help it understand the needs of local authorities, identify good practice throughout Europe, prepare functional tools and successfully implement practical programmes based on these tools. It needs to develop a comprehensive pool of competent experts. And, of course, in order to have the impact it envisages, it needs to be able to communicate effectively with potential and actual partners, clients and donors.

The Centre has therefore established solid relations with a large array of international partners. In 2008, specific co-operation agreements were signed with the French INET and the Saint Petersburg Academy for Public Administration. A Memorandum of Understanding which includes possible co-operation on capacity building at local level was negotiated with the UNDP – Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS and should become operational in 2009. The Centre has also received a request for establishing formal co-operation from the Moscow City Government. The Centre has brought international input into the French OPPALE and has strengthened its co-operation with NALAS, which should lead in 2009 to a fully-fledged regional programme.

A detailed description of the various forms of co-operation with other bodies and organisations is presented in Appendix IV.

b. Other forms of communication

To a large degree, the success of the Centre depends on its capacity to communicate. The Centre therefore needs to communicate in a way which is timely, effective and non-bureaucratic. However, to date the Centre has received more demand than it can cope with. Communication should therefore be targeted and should not arouse unrealistic expectations from potential partners.

In 2008, a new brochure was prepared and published and the website was improved in order to offer complete and up-to-date information on all the various tools and programmes of the Centre. However, updating the website was stopped in order to allow for the necessary overhaul of the site following integration in the DGDPA site. The efforts in this respect should therefore continue in 2009.

4. Overview of the activity in 2008

The following tables provide a brief overview of the activity of the Centre of Expertise in 2008.

General overview of activities implemented in 2008

Development of tools

Finalisation of Toolkit III including the following tools (based entirely on the work of the CDLR):
- Public Ethics Benchmarking
- Financial Management Benchmarking, developed jointly with OSI

Further development of the Performance Management tool, which should be finalised and published in 2009

Development of a new Public Ethics and Transparency tool (successfully tested in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”)

Development of a new Leadership Academy concept programme, after consultation with a substantial number of national and international stakeholders.

Country-specific programmes

Albania

    - Leadership Programme

Armenia

    - Updating the Training Needs Assessment

Bosnia and Herzegovina

    - 3rd Round of the Beacon Scheme/Best Practice Programme

Bulgaria

    - Follow-up to the Performance Management Programme

Georgia

    - Municipal Councillors Training Programme
    - Strategic Municipal Planning
    - Assistance to Municipal Emergency Planning

Hungary

    - Leadership Benchmarking Programme
    - Best Practice Programme

Malta

    - Local Government Association strengthening programme

Moldova

    - Best Practice Programme: 3rd Round
    - Public Ethics Benchmark – second part

Montenegro

    - Preparation of a National Training Strategy for local government
    - National Programme for Fighting Corruption at Local Level
    - Leadership Benchmark Programme
    - Best Practice Programme

Romania

    - Public Ethics Benchmark

Russian Federation

    - Leadership Academy Programme in NW Russia (Chechnya)
    - Preparatory activities: Workshop on Leadership Benchmark, in-house training,, workshop on Citizen Participation and study visit to Austria for Chechen Administrators .

Serbia

    - Continuation of the Leadership Programme
    - Best Practice Programme
    - Implementation of a new Performance

    Management Programme involving Serbian, French and German Municipalities

“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

    - Leadership Benchmarking Programme
    - Public Ethics Programme “Transparent Municipality”
    - Best Practice Programme

Ukraine

    - Public Ethics Benchmark

Partnerships and communication

- International Conference “Towards sustainable training systems and effective capacity-development programmes” organised in September in Strasbourg by the Centre of Expertise in close co-operation with UNDP. The Conference was attended by senior officials from the Committee of Regions of the EU, UN-HABITAT, OSI-LGI, OSCE, ENTO, NALAS, national local government associations, local elected representatives, and representatives of relevant ministries in several countries from Europe.

- European Workshop on Effective Local Leadership organised in April in Strasbourg with support from the Academy of Sustainable Communities in the UK. The workshop was attended by senior local government officials and elected representatives from Bulgaria, Hungary, Malta, Russia, as well as from international partner organisations (OSI-LGI, UN-HABITAT, etc).

- Co-operation with the OSCE in the framework of the Albania Leadership Programme and the 2nd and 3rd Rounds of BiH Beacon Scheme/Best Practice Programme

- Support from the OSCE in the implementation of the capacity-building programmes and support from the Centre to the development of model codes of conduct in Montenegro

- Bilateral meeting with UNDP and preparation of a draft MoU

- Trilateral co-operation project between the CoE, UNDP and OSI on intermunicipal co-operation

- Co-operation with NALAS continued – support of the Centre to the organisation of a meeting on National Training Strategies, participation of the Centre in the meetings of the NALAS Task Force on capacity-building. The Peer Review Programme for local government associations in SEE was discussed and agreed by the governing board of NALAS, but postponed for lack of funding.

- Co-operation established with SNV ((Dutch development organisation), on the National Training Strategy (NTS) in Montenegro and on the Toolkit “Towards a Modern LGA” in Albania, Montenegro and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

- Co-operation with VNG International (co-operation branch of the Dutch LGA) – co-ordination meeting in July. Joint evaluation meeting in Montenegro. A co-operation agreement between the Centre and VNG International has been drafted.

- Joint funding application prepared for a capacity-building programme in Moldova and are under preparation in Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey.

- Co-operation with the French National Institute for Local Government Studies (INET) and the French Association of Finance-Management-Evaluation of local authorities (Afigese) in the framework of the Centre’s membership of the French Observatory of Local Authorities’ Performance (OPPALE)

- Co-operation with the French Centre National de la Fonction Publique Territoriale (CNFPT) France Coopération Internationale (FCI) : joint organisation of a Forum for training in local government in the Balkans (July, Sofia); bilateral meetings; joint development of a Toolkit on Human Resources Management has been launched; a co-operation agreement is being discussed

- Co-operation initiated with the Committee of Regions: information on the activities of the Centre, participation of the CoR in the Conference on sustainable training systems co-organised CoE-UNDP in Strasbourg

- Contacts with the University of Pau, as well as the Cities of Pau, Tarbes and Lille in France with a view to develop in 2009 new co-operation projects

- Organisation of a Workshop on “European Approaches to Performance Management at local level” in the framework of the 8th Edition of the “Entretiens Territoriaux de Strasbourg (ETS)” , organised by the French National Institute for Local Government Studies (INET) and the French National Centre of Local Public Service (CNFPT)

- Participation to a fact finding mission in Belgrade with representative of the Union of German Cities in Cologne (Germany), in order to prepare the likely participation of German municipalities to a joint Performance Management Project, to be implemented in 2009, with French and Serbian municipalities.

- Co-operation with the USAID Local Government Activity and OSCE in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” on the Best Practice Programme.

III. LOOKING AHEAD: PROSPECTS FOR 2009 AND BEYOND

2009 is going to be a challenging year. The Centre is expected to consolidate its capacity to provide effective and qualified assistance to member states and their local authorities: country-specific programmes need to be pursued in response to rising demand. At the same time, new tools need also to be devised in order for the Centre to remain at the forefront of the expertise available. For this to happen, it must develop and further deepen its partnerships and networking, benefiting from the existing know-how and contributing to its development.

More and more interest and requests for support are received by the Centre of Expertise. However, as the Centre depends heavily on external sources of funding, prospects concerning the activity level are not all that optimistic.

On the one hand, the application rules for EC funding have evolved. In most cases, under the new EIPA and IPA programmes, the Centre of Expertise is no longer eligible to direct application for funding and will therefore depend on the success of applications made by its local partners. Moreover, the complexity of application procedures and the limited human resources of the Centre mean that there is relatively little value in investing a lot of time in direct applications.

On the other hand, the current financial crisis and the necessary shift in both national and EU priorities that it may entail means that there is a high probability that the capacity of the Centre to raise funds both from Joint Programmes with the EC and from voluntary contributions by member states might be affected.

1. Future tools

The Centre launches the preparation of new tools (template programmes) according to needs expressed and resources available.

During the implementation of previous and current country-specific programmes, stakeholders have expressed the need for capacity-building programmes in other fields of local government activity. The Centre is currently working to develop specific tools, in particular in the following fields:

- a new Toolkit including a tool on performance management (already implemented in Bulgaria and Serbia) and another one on Municipal Planning (already implemented in Georgia) is being prepared and it should be published in the second half of 2009;
- the preparation of a Toolkit on human resources management should start soon in co-operation with French CNFPT and the association EUROPA;
- another Toolkit on inter-municipal co-operation is being prepared in co-operation with the Division of Programmes for Democratic Stability, Open Society Institute and UNDP.

Development of new tools should also take into account the findings of member states piloting the Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance in Local Government. The Centre is therefore waiting for the first conclusions coming from the needs analysis and programmes of implementation which are being developed by countries which are implementing the Strategy or which will join it shortly.

Both the practicality and the legitimacy of the Centre’s tools are strengthened by road-testing them prior to implementation; it is therefore considered that, whenever possible, such testing could be performed by piloting the draft tools in one or more countries, if possible even before the finalisation and publication of the tool.

It is important that this development work, which makes the country-specific programmes possible, continues and ensures that the Centre’s tools remain at the forefront of innovation in the field of capacity-building for local authorities.

2. Country-specific programmes

a. New initiatives in 2008

The programme of activity of the Centre of Expertise is and needs to remain flexible, in particular in respect of its second strand of work, the implementation of country-specific programmes.

These programmes largely depend on the existence of interest and commitment from local stakeholders and on availability of funding. Long-term planning is therefore difficult, except for the two back-office strands of work, the development of new tools and the setting up of partnerships and communication initiatives, which are normally funded under the ordinary budget of the Council of Europe.

It is, however, very likely at this point that capacity-building programmes will be launched for the first time in two new countries, Turkey (a Leadership Academy inspired by the one already in operation in Saint Petersburg) and Azerbaijan (preparation and launching of the strategic plan of the Local Councils Association using the new Toolkit prepared in co-operation with UNDP).

Moreover, a series of five preparatory activities should be implemented in the Chechen Republic. Subject to resources, they should lead to the implementation of a Best Practice Programme on a regional basis in North Caucasus.

b. Prospects for 2010 and beyond

The demand for capacity-building programmes is increasing, while budgetary resources tend to remain stable (at best) or decrease in real terms. Implementing more such programmes within the available budget means more impact and improved local governance in more local authorities in the short term. There is however a risk that, if country-specific programmes overshadow the other two strands of the work of the Centre (development of new tools, and partnerships and communication), the impact on the sustainable development of the Centre could be negative.

Ideally, country-specific programmes should be funded (both in terms of operational expenses and management) as far as possible from extra-budgetary sources (voluntary contributions, CoE/EC Joint Programmes, contributions by partners), while the Centre’s budgetary resources (both human and operational) should be devoted primarily to the supervision of such programmes and to the other two strands of work. This is currently far from being the case and a rebalancing in the allocation of resources should be a priority for the future.

Other trends are developing which challenge the traditional “country specificity” of the implementation programmes.

On the one hand, more and more local authorities and associations express an interest in implementing programmes in partnership with sister authorities and organisations in other countries. It is already (at least partially) the case for the programme of performance management in Serbia, implemented with the participation of several French and German municipalities. Interest has been expressed by municipalities and associations from several countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Romania) in implementing joint programmes with partners from other countries (in particular in the fields of performance management, citizen participation and leadership development).

On the other hand, another type of networking develops, at the initiative of NALAS (the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe) which is interested in – and actively promoting – capacity-building programmes for its member associations which would involve several of them. Such a programme was planned to start in 2008 but, because of limited resources, should normally start in 2009.

Trans-national capacity-building programmes may be more expensive (they usually involve translation and interpretation; travel costs may be higher) and they may require that the tools be “unsharpened” during the process of their adaptation in order to accommodate the situation in several countries. However, the potential of such programmes in terms of learning from different practices is very important. In 2009, after examination of feasibility on a case-by-case basis, the Centre of Expertise could contribute to their implementation.

3. Partnerships and communication

As the Report shows, contacts and partnerships with international, national and local stakeholders have greatly increased in 2008. These contacts are very important for the Centre; they provide it with information concerning existing initiatives and needs, with input and leverage in its programmes and with feed-back which allows it to improve them; and, last but not least, they prove the relevance of the Centre of Expertise and the increasing interest for its tools and programmes.

However, the communication activities of the Centre were not significantly developed during the past year. This was due to the fact that resources were concentrated on country-specific programmes and the development of new tools, where demand was rising and pressure on the Centre high. It is also true that the Centre deliberately chose not to raise expectations it cannot fulfil, by launching large-scale awareness-raising campaigns when the necessary resources – financial and human – may not follow. Moreover, in 2008, in accordance with the opinion of the Advisory Board, the Centre devoted more resources to developing its activity in Western and Northern European states and also to continuing to improve its tools and programmes in the light of the best of European experience.

These are the reasons why, in 2007, the Centre has focused more on developing relations with potential partners who can offer leverage in existing programmes rather than on developing “new markets”.

However, the Centre has prepared a new brochure which should be launched shortly. It is expected that a new and careful communication campaign could strengthen the notoriety of the Centre, already in steep increase, while not necessarily stimulating excessive demand.

Among other important co-operation arrangements, the Centre would continue to offer some technical support for the implementation of the Good Governance Strategy. In particular, it could help to develop the criteria and methodology for granting the European Quality Label of Good Governance at Local Level.

Moreover, the Centre should strive to develop and make available programmes in those fields that the countries participating in the implementation of the Strategy would identify as needing attention and where capacity-building methods are to be privileged.

4. Overview of future activities

The following tables present the current prospects for the activities to be undertaken in 2008.

General overview of activities to be implemented in 2009

These tables present an overview of the activity envisaged for 2009. However, not all these programmes are fully funded. For some, negotiations are still being held but are very advanced and there is reasonable hope that they will be funded and implemented; these programmes are marked “t.b.c.” (to be confirmed). Implementation of programmes marked “p.m.” (pro memoria) depends on funding discussions which are only in an initial phase.

Development of tools

- Preparation of a new tool on municipal planning
- Finalisation and publication of a new Toolkit, including tools on Performance Management, Municipal Planning and possibly the CLEAR tool.
- In co-operation with CNFPT, prepare a first version of a new Toolkit on Human Resources Management
- In co-operation with the Assistance Programmes, OSI and UNDP, preparation of a new Toolkit on Inter-municipal Co-operation.

 

Country-specific programmes

Albania

    - 2nd Round of the Leadership Benchmarking Programme

Armenia

    - Up-date of Training Needs Assessment

Azerbaijan (p.m.)

    - Strengthening the capacity of local government associations

Bosnia and Herzegovina (t.b.c.)

    - Performance management Programme
    - Citizens’ participation programme
    - Public ethics programme

Bulgaria

    - Follow-up to the Performance Management Programme

Georgia

    - Strategic Municipal planning Programme
    - Assistance to Municipal Emergency Planning

Hungary

    - Best Practice programme
    - Leadership Development Programme

Malta

    - Toolkit “Towards a Modern Local Government Association”

Moldova

    - Best Practice Programme: 4th Round
    - Programme for strengthening local government associations (t.b.c.)

Montenegro

    - Practical support in the implementation of anti-corruption plans, and of the municipal codes of conduct
    - Transparent Municipality Programme
    - Follow-up to the National Training Strategy

Romania

    - Extension of the Public Ethics Benchmark (p.m.)

Russian Federation

    - Leadership Academy Programme
    - Performance Management Programme (p.m)

Chechnya

    - Five preparatory activities: workshop to democracy and best practice, seminar on municipal elections, study visit in a European country, workshop on the legal framework, workshop on strategic development
    - Regional Best Practice Programme (t.b.c.)

Serbia

    - 2nd Round of Performance Management Programme
    - Programme of Human Resources Management at Municipal Level

“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

    - Leadership Benchmarking Programme
    - Public Ethics Programme “Transparent Municipality”
    - Best Practice Programme
    - Local Government Association Strengthening Programme (p.m.)
    - Performance Management Programme

Ukraine

    - Follow-up to the Public Ethics Benchmarking Programme (p.m.)

Partnerships and communication

- Technical expertise provided to the Council of Europe Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance

- Memorandum of understanding with the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe

- Programme on public ethics in Montenegro to be implemented jointly with OSCE

- Co-operation with the Division for Democratic Stability, UNDP and OSI on the development of a Toolkit on Inter-municipal co-operation.

- New Memorandum of Understanding with the Norwegian Local Government Association (KS) concerning the implementation of the 2nd Round of Strategic Municipal Planning programme in Georgia

- Joint Publication with NALAS: “Best Practice in Local Government”

- Co-operation with NALAS: Peer Review programme for local government associations in South-Eastern Europe

- Participation in the French Observatory for Public Performance in Local Government (OPPALE)

- Ongoing co-operation with the French National Institute for Local Government Studies (INET) following the co-operation agreement signed in 2008

- Co-operation with the University of Pau in the field of Performance Management at local level

- New participation in the 2009 Edition of the “Entretiens Territoriaux de Strasbourg (ETS)”, organised by the French National Institute for Local Government Studies (INET) and the French National Centre of Local Public Service (CNFPT) - tbc

- Co-operation with CNFPT and Europa on the preparation of a Toolkit on Human Resources Management

- Joint application with VNG International for external funding in Moldova and possibly in other countries

- Memorandum of Understanding with the Moscow City Government

APPENDIX I – 2008 Progress Review Report

PoA Projects (Ordinary Budget)  –  Vote 2 – Programme of Activities
(send link)

Chapter  
III - Democracy and Good Governance
 

Line of Action 
III.1 - Democracy and Good Governance

Programme 
III.1.2 - Local and regional democracy

Project 
III.1.2.1 - 2008/DGDPA/1396   Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform

Linked to
2008
VC Proposed to CM
2008/DGDPA/VC/1385 Best Practice Programme for local government in Moldova

2007
VC Proposed to CM
2007/DG1/VC/1176 Capacity-building programmes for local authorities of Georgia (training, best practice, leadership)

Duration 
01/01/2008 - 31/12/2008 (12 months)
Democracy and Political Affairs 

Origin 
14th session of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government (Budapest, 24-25 February 2005) ; Third Summit Action Plan 

Third Summit Chapter 
1.3 - Strengthening democracy, good governance and the rule of law in member states

Links/Attachments  

Progress Review
2008        2008 

 

Year
2008
    (Show 63 Activities) (Show Statistics)

English
français  

(Logframe)

Logframe Status
Approved (PoA)

Contact   POPESCU Daniel

Progress Review
Last modified: 19/12/2008 
By: TROUSSEVITCH

Budget Status
Approved (PoA)

BudgetHead  3121
Article  3121040
Operational  € 166 800

2008 PoA Programme objectives
The programme objective is to achieve the best possible quality of local and regional governance in member states through the sharing of information, the identification of good practice, the adoption of legal standards, developing tools, providing assistance and reviewing results.

Project Objective
Fully achieved

 Review Published
Not continued in 2010

Local democracy is strengthened by helping local authorities to deliver good governance to their citizens.

The implementation of capacity-building programmes increases.
New programmes attract interest.
4 new tools are finalised and published in a new Toolkit.
New partnerships are developed.
Communication is improved.
The Centre offers support to the implementation of the Strategy on Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level.
 

Criteria Review   (modify) The Centre of expertise has developed further its activities as regards both the programmes developed (Human resources, Municipal emergency planning, Transparent municipality) and the countries concerned (Malta, Hungary, Turkey, in addition to those where the Centre was already active). Significantly, more Western European states have shown an interest in the implementation of the Centre’s programmes or have established contacts with a view to jointly developing programmes or tools. Partnerships with national training institutions in France and the Russian Federation have been concluded and active co-operation has been engaged with international agencies (such as UNDP, OSI, the Dutch Co-operation Agency-SVN). The demand for programmes aimed at enhancing the capacity of local authorities is growing and the Centre is being recognised as a focal point for providing practical solutions in a flexible way, including by the European Commission. The confirmation of the Centre after its three-year inception period enables the Council of Europe to continue to be at the forefront of innovation in capacity building. The Centre has been recognised as one of the main instruments for translating the Strategy for innovation and Good Governance at local level into practice in member states.

Intervention Logic

Performance Indicators

Results

Factors / Organisations / 3rd Summit

Expected Result 1
  Review Published

Fully achieved

Regular exchange of views is promoted via an informal network of institutions and agencies promoting capacity building in member states.

Qualified institutions are selected and invited to at least one thematic exchange of views.
The Centre maintains regular contacts with such institutions. Innovative approaches are adopted by the Centre and gradually introduced in its programmes.
 

Results
19/12/08
ZARDI

3 - Co-operation and Assistance

3.2 - Capacity building


A conference on leadership development was organised in April in co-operation with national training institutions and associations of local authorities from Central and South-eastern European states.
- All Council of Europe member states

A European conference on sustainable training strategies was organised in
September, jointly with UNDP, with a high level of participation (including the Congress and the Committee of the Regions of the European Union). The final declaration gave guidelines for further work in this field.
- All Council of Europe member states


A co-operation agreement was concluded with the French National Institute for Territorial Studies (INET)


Co-operation with UNDP - Bratislava Regional Centre, OSCE and VNG International was strengthened and formal co-operation agreements between these organisations and the Centre are being prepared.


Enhanced dialogue with the Network of associations of local authorities of South-eastern Europe (NALAS), the French training Agency for Local Authorities (CNFPT), Open Society, USAID and SNV led to the identification of topics for joint activity (preparation of tools or capacity-building programmes)

- - -

Expected Result 2
  Review Published

Fully achieved

Country-specific capacity-building programmes based on the tools developed by the Centre are implemented in co-operation with local stakeholders.

Programmes are introduced or their implementation continues: leadership benchmark (5 countries), national training strategy (1 country), best practice (3 countries), performance management (1 country), public ethics benchmark (3 countries), financial management benchmark (1 country), training of elected representatives (1 country).
The implementation of Toolkit II is facilitated/encouraged in at least 4 countries. 

Results
19/12/08
ZARDI

3 - Co-operation and Assistance

3.2 - Capacity building


Leadership Development Programmes were implemented in six countries: Albania, Hungary, Montenegro, Russian Federation (Leadership Academy), Serbia and ''the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia''.


National Training Strategy programmes were implemented in two countries: Armenia and Montenegro.


Best Practice Programmes were implemented in six countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and ''the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia''.


Performance management programmes were implemented in two countries: Bulgaria and Serbia.


Two types of Public Ethics programmes were implemented in four countries: Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and ''the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.


One programme for strengthening the capacity of local government associations has been implemented in Malta. The launching of a similar programme on a regional scale (SEE) in co-operation with NALAS is envisaged for 2009.


Four preparatory activities were conducted in the Chechen Republic (Russian Federation): Workshop on Leadership Benchmarking, In-house Training, Workshop on Citizen Participation and study visit to Austria for Chechen administrators.
- Russian Federation

- - -

Expected Result 3
  Review Published

Fully achieved

Constructive partnerships and networks are developed with national and international organisations.

At least 8 programmes are implemented in the framework of Joint programmes with the European Commission/European Agency for Reconstruction.
At least 2 country-specific programmes are implemented in co-operation with other partners (OSCE, UNDP).
National steering groups are established.
 

Results
18/12/08
ZARDI

3 - Co-operation and Assistance

3.2 - Capacity building


Eleven programmes were implemented in the framework of Joint Programmes of the Council of Europe and the European Commission.


Three activities in Georgia (Municipal Councillors Training, Strategic Municipal Planning and Assistance to Municipal Emergency Planning) were co-funded by KS (Norwegian Association of Local Authorities).
- Georgia


The Best Practice Programme in Moldova was co-funded by Slovakia and Norway.


The Best Practice Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina was co-funded by Switzerland and OSCE.


The Leadership Development Programme in Albania was co-funded by OSCE and OSI.


Two programmes in Hungary (Best Practice and Leadership Development) were co-funded by Dexia Kommunalkredit Bank.

Three programmes in Montenegro (National Training Strategy, Best Practice and Anti-corruption programmes) were co-funded by OSCE

- - -

Expected Result 4
  Review Published

Partially achieved

New capacity-building tools are prepared and the expertise of the Centre is developed.

A revised tool on citizen participation, taking into account the lessons of CLEAR road-testing in a number of countries, is prepared.
Toolkit III, including tools on performance management, public ethics, financial management and citizen participation, as well as the results of their implementation, is finalised.
 

Results
18/12/08
TERRIEN

3 - Co-operation and Assistance

3.2 - Capacity building


Toolkit III, including Public Ethics Benchmarking and Financial Management Benchmarking programmes was finalised (to be published in early 2009).


Work has progressed on the Performance Management tool. The CLEAR tool was finalised by the CDLR only at the end of the year. Both programmes will be published in a new Toolkit (IV) in 2009.

5 - Internal factors affecting progress

5.2 - Steering and Expert Committees


The finalisation of the CLEAR project in the CDLR only occurred at the end of the year.

5.4 - Budgetary constraints


Priority financing went to project implementation. Toolkit III, although finalised, will only be published in early 2009.

Expected Result 5
  Review Published

Partially achieved

The Centre of Expertise communicates effectively with national associations and ministries responsible for local government, international organisations, potential donors, experts.

The website is operational and user-friendly.
A new brochure is prepared and, in co-operation with the Congress, disseminated among national associations.
 

Results
19/12/08
ZARDI

3 - Co-operation and Assistance

3.8 - Publications, translations and Internet sites


The website is operational, user friendly and almost complete.


The brochure was finalised and published in English and French.

5 - Internal factors affecting progress

5.7 - Other


The Centre’s website was transferred to the DGDPA website. However, some adjustments will need to be done in order to make its structure fit into the new environment. Pending revision, the development of the old site was put on hold.

Expected Result 6
  Review Published

Fully achieved

The Centre provides technical support to the implementation of the Strategy on Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level in Europe.

The Centre prepares a benchmarking tool on the 12 Principles of good democratic
governance to be used for the Good Governance label.
Other technical support (e.g. a model methodology for granting the label) is offered upon request by the Stakeholders Platform.
 

Results
18/12/08
TERRIEN

3 - Co-operation and Assistance

3.3 - National and regional plans, policies, strategies and pilot projects


The Centre offered support to countries which are implementing the Strategy. A meeting of these countries was organised in January in Strasbourg. Visits were made to implementing partners (central governments and national associations of local authorities) in Oslo, Brussels, Rome, Namur and Sofia.


The Centre ensured the promotion of the Strategy at national and international level (ANCI national assembly, Trieste; Club de Strasbourg meeting, Strasbourg; SALAR-Congress conference, Stockholm; Visegrad Group meeting at the level of State secretaries for public administration, Warsaw).


The Head of the Centre had contacts with high representatives of several countries: Italy, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Ukraine, Russia. Several of these countries have subsequently either joined or announced their intention to join the Strategy.

The Centre prepared a first version of a Benchmarking tool for the 12 Principles of good democratic governance in view of the future Label on Good Governance and prepared the decision of the Stakeholders' Platform on the methodology and calendar for the label.


The Centre ensured the Secretariat of the Stakeholders' Platform.

- - -

Other Structures
Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform (CELGR) Advisory Board
Platform for the implementation and development of the Strategy on Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level

 

APPENDIX II - Current tools

a. National Training Strategies

In many countries local government training needs further development. National and local training capacity and training budgets are often inadequate. Core training packages may not have been sufficiently developed. Trainers may themselves need more training. There may be insufficient training standards for training programmes or materials. Against this background, the development of a National Training Strategy (NTS) is based on a comprehensive Training Needs Analysis including:

    · Independent and reliable field research to allow training to be developed in response to the needs and expectations of municipal staff and elected representatives . In particular, this includes:

      - A qualitative investigation based on a series of in-depth individual and focus group interviews with municipal representatives;
      - A verifying survey based on questionnaires and conducted with municipalities.

    · A legal analysis that will identify the training necessary for municipalities to fulfil their obligations properly.
    · Bilateral meetings with key local government stakeholders to take account of their experience and perceptions and to build on current and recent initiatives.

The NTS allows organisations with a stake in local government to establish a more professional training environment.

This tool has been or is being implemented with the assistance of the Centre of Expertise in Albania, Armenia, Croatia, Georgia, Moldova and Montenegro.

b. Leadership Development

Strong leadership, i.e. the capacity of local authorities to develop a clear vision for the municipality and to make it come true through strategic management and involvement of the local community, is an essential feature of an effective local authority.

The Council of Europe has therefore developed a model “Benchmark of an Effective Democratic Local Authority” (The Leadership Benchmark) that sets out the expected levels of performance by a local authority in 9 leadership competences. It can be used in several ways, including a practical Peer Review methodology:

- Through local workshops. This introduces mayors, senior officials and elected members to the leadership competences expected of them.

- Through self-assessment. The leadership of the local authority systematically identifies its strengths and areas for improvement against the Benchmark and draws up an Improvement Plan.

- Through Peer Reviews. A national pool of competent senior officials and elected representatives are trained as ‘critical friends’ (external assessors); a team of 4 peers is invited into a local authority to identify its strengths and areas for improvement against the Benchmark by assessing strategic documents, using interview and workshop techniques with key stakeholders and participating in relevant meetings. The recommendations of the Peer Review team provide the basis for the leadership of the local authority to develop an Improvement Plan.

This tool has been or is being implemented in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, the Russian Federation, Serbia and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.


c. Best Practice

There are local authorities in every country that achieve the highest standards in some aspects of their work. This best practice can be identified and shared with other local authorities. Learning from each other, rather than from an external expert, is indeed a best practice methodology.

The Best Practice programme applies a systematic approach, where best practice achievement in selected themes is identified and celebrated, but carries with it an obligation to pass on the best practice to other local authorities through a systematic training programme.

In practical terms, the programme explains very clearly how to launch an awareness-raising campaign through the preparation of a booklet and an application form to be sent to all local governments and through the media. Once applications are received, a Selection Panel will shortlist a number of them and will make fact-finding missions to the respective municipalities. The Selection Panel will select the award-winning municipalities who will receive their awards during an official ceremony.

In the second stage, the dissemination phase includes Open Days and study visits organised in these municipalities, seminars and workshops, dissemination on paper and on CDROM, preparation and broadcasting of short documentary films etc.

Each year, a new Best Practice round with different themes can be launched.

This tool has been or is being implemented in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, the Russian Federation, Serbia and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

d. Fundamental Performance Review

Where a local authority recognises weakness in a service, it can use an internal review team to systematically review the service, identify best practice elsewhere and recommend the way forward. External assistance can provide objectivity and bring expertise. The tool is helpful when used in conjunction with, for example, the Leadership Benchmark or the performance management programme, when areas for development are identified.

This tool has been developed and should be published in connection with the Performance Management tool in Toolkit IV.

e. Guide to Local Democracy

To develop proper accountability for local government, the local population and organisations need to understand the rights, obligations and opportunities of their local authority. Where there is insufficient awareness, this Guide can be adapted and used as a tool in local seminars that bring together local people with the councillors and officials of their local authority. Such seminars can stimulate on-going dialogue between local authorities and the citizens they serve.

This tool has been developed and should be incorporated in Toolkit IV.

f. Public Ethics Benchmark

Democracy depends fundamentally on public trust. Without broad confidence of the public in the integrity of those they elect to represent them, and of those employed to deliver services to them, democratic institutions will falter. Democracies across Europe are increasingly aware that standards of ethical behaviour must be actively nurtured.

To help do so, the Centre of Expertise has developed a tool that helps local authorities to assess and, above all, to improve public ethics.

This tool comprises a European Score Card and a methodology organised around objective self-assessments and reviews by trained peers.

It was developed in 2006 and was road-tested in Spain in the first part of 2007. It was implemented in Moldova, Ukraine and Romania. This tool will be included in Toolkit III.

g. Strengthening the Capacity of Local Government Associations

Local Government Associations (LGAs) are critical institutions in building strong local government. An LGA is about developing “good governance”. A strong and independent LGA can make a difference. It promotes decentralisation, strengthens local authorities and builds up local government institutions, such as training agencies and information centres that can help local authorities to develop their expertise, to build capacity and to drive up performance towards European standards. However, in many countries the LGAs should be much stronger than they are and local authorities could benefit considerably from more comprehensive LGA support.

The Council of Europe and UNDP have brought together tested materials from across Europe in a Toolkit entitled “Towards a Modern Local Government Association”.

The Toolkit is a single collection of modern and practical tools which should help an LGA to play a more significant role as a national advocate for better local government and to provide effective training and capacity-building services to municipalities. It focuses on the performance (self-)assessment of a LGA, its strengths and organisational development. It includes tools which can help local government associations to assess where they are, to improve their relevance and performance and to adapt to the needs of their members.

In 2007, the Toolkit was introduced to local government associations from South-Eastern Europe (SEE), Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey and Central Asia in co-operation with UNDP, SNV (Dutch development organisation), VNG International (Dutch local government Association) and NALAS (Network of Associations of Local Authorities in SEE).

Its implementation has already started in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Malta.

The Centre was invited to prepare and distribute an information paper (brochure) on the Toolkit in order to promote it among local government elected representatives. The brochure could be prepared and disseminated in co-operation with the Congress.

h. Performance Management

Performance management is a key discipline local authorities can use to drive up performance in internal and external services. Local authorities and their associations should identify those critical factors that determine good performance in a service (key performance indicators). Performance indicators can cover, for example, service efficiency and quality, users’ satisfaction, service accessibility, unit cost, etc.

A national Association can use research across local authorities and in other countries to determine what standards should be applied within each key performance indicator. Individual local authorities can agree performance targets with service managers to achieve or exceed the standard. Managers can use performance indicators to improve their own performance. Where performance indicators reveal weakness, action can be taken to initiate improvements.

Regular local authority reports with performance data will show the level of performance against the performance indicators over time and relative to other local authorities. The association (with the government where it has a direct interest) can use performance management to drive up performance across local government.

The Centre has developed a Performance Management Pack of tools and guides which were piloted in Bulgaria in 2006-2007 and implemented in Serbia in co-operation with French local authorities in 2008. The structure of the pack includes simple performance management guides, using elements of the CDLR report on Performance Management at Local Level and other examples supplied in particular from the UK and Norway, and a communication strategy – an approach on how to promote a performance management structure.

This tool should be published in Toolkit IV.

i. Citizen Participation

Local government is accountable to local people. Accountability starts with elections. But it should go beyond that. Local people and organisations want a say in the local authority’s vision and priorities, in how it spend its revenues. Service users can contribute to the design and quality of services so that the service better meets local needs. Local organisations may be able to work in partnership with the local authority to deliver specific services more effectively.

How good is a local authority at engaging local people and organisations in local government? The Community Participation programme will enable a local authority to do a ‘stock take’ of its performance in this field and draw up an Action Plan to drive improvements.

The Steering Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR) is currently piloting a “CLEAR” participation model5 in five member states. The first wave of tests ended with a final conference in June 2006 in Tampere (Finland); a second wave took place in 2007 in another group of countries. Subject to available resources, the results of this activity could be used to update and enrich the current Citizen Participation tool (already published in Toolkit I). The revised and completed version should be published in Toolkit III.

Moreover, a new methodology of implementation (based, inter alia, on a version of the 360° review process) should be developed in order to increase the operability of the Citizen Participation tool included in Toolkit I.

j. Local Finance Benchmarks

Good local government depends fundamentally on the existence of sufficient financial resources, which allow local authorities to offer services that are adapted to their residents’ expectations, and on good financial management procedures, which provide both for the necessary flexibility in local budgetary questions and for clear accountability for financial decisions.

Based on the Council of Europe acquis, the Open Society Institute – Local Government and Public Services Initiative (LGI) and the Centre of Expertise have jointly developed a new tool, composed of two benchmarks, addressed respectively to local and central authorities and dealing both with the income and the expenditure side of local finance.

The Centre of Expertise and OSI successfully piloted this tool in Bulgaria, in co-operation with the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB) and five municipalities.

This tool will be published in early 2009 Toolkit IV.

k. “Leadership Academy” programme

Starting from its tools for leadership development and subject to resources, in 2008 the Centre of Expertise developed a “Leadership Academy” programme. The aim of such a “virtual” Academy is to improve the abilities of local leaders. In practice, the programme provides for a series of national and international activities for senior elected representatives and officials (i.e. Mayors, Heads of Administration and their deputies) to develop their leadership capabilities and to take leadership initiatives in their own local authorities.

This programme is being implemented in North-West Russia in co-operation with the NW Academy of Public Administration.

l. Municipal Urban Planning

Starting from the Leadership Benchmarking Programme, this Programme has for main objectives are to support local authorities to create a vision for their municipality by involving citizens and in the form of the participative development of concrete municipal strategic plans. This tool includes a Guide to Municipal Strategic Planning, template plans as well as tools for ensuring information dissemination and exchange in the form of training and peer reviews.

APPENDIX III - Detailed description of country-specific programmes

1. Albania

a. Previous activities

Best Practice Programme, National Training Strategy (NTS) and Training Agency for Local Government of Albania (TALGA), Manual on Public Ethics and Manual for Mayors

From 2004 to 2006, the Centre’s activities in Albania focused on the implementation of a Best Practice (BP) Programme, the development of a National Training Strategy for Local Government of Albania and the establishment Training Agency for Local Government of Albania (TALGA) to take responsibility for the delivery of the NTS objectives, the publication of a Manual of public ethics at local level as well as of a Manual for Mayors. All these activities were implemented in co-operation with the OSCE Presence in Albania and the Association of Albanian Municipalities (AAM) and for the latter with support of the Open Society Institute (OSI).

b. Activities in 2008

Albanian Leadership Programme

From March 2007, the Council of Europe has been undertaking a Leadership Programme in co-operation with the OSCE, the Open Society Institute (LGI - Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative) and the Association of Albanian Municipalities (AAM). This activity was aimed at driving up the standards of Albanian municipalities, by providing an opportunity for local authorities to take responsibility for their own improvement and giving the AAM the capacity to lead the drive for self-improvement throughout local government. It was implemented in 5 pilot municipalities, Lac, Kamez, Shijak, Berat and Permet, selected after an AAM appeal for candidature to all municipalities of Albania.

A launching round table was held in June 2007 in Durrës to discuss in detail the Albanian Leadership Programme's objectives, methodology and forthcoming timetable; introduce the key elements of so-called effective democratic leadership and municipal planning. This round table was followed by a two-day Training Session for the local experts of the AAM who will support the Municipalities in drafting their respective Development/Community Plans. The first visits to the 5 Pilot Municipalities were held in September 2007 and were followed by the organisation from October till December 2007 of additional workshops with the Mayors and officials as well as Public Meetings in each of the five Pilot Municipalities to discuss the draft Development/Community Plans, the finalisation of these plans and their adoption by the five Municipal Councils concerned.

A Roundtable was then organised in March 2008 to review the conclusions of Phase I of the Programme. In Phase II, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the Open Society Institute (Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative) and the Association of Albanian Municipalities supported the actual implementation of the five Development/Community Plans’ key priory action. The following activities were implemented successfully:

a) A one-day final Workshop in each of the five Pilot Municipalities (Berat, Permet, Kamez, Lac and Shijak) with a view to helping them complete their respective Community Plans and develop specific project fiches;

b) A two-day Training Seminar on the functioning of Citizens’ Information Offices to be opened in the four Pilot Municipalities of Berat, Permet, Kamez and Shijak;

c) Drafting and design of a Municipal Web Page, including the adequate training of staff and maintenance for one year (carried out by a local private company) in the Pilot Municipality of Lac;

d) Implementation of an Accountancy/Finance Support Programme with adequate training of local staff on the related IT tools (carried out by a local company) in the Pilot Municipality of Lac;

e) Drafting of the regulations/rules of functioning and application forms of the Citizens’ Information Offices (carried out by local experts hired by the AAM) to be opened in the Pilot Municipalities of Berat, Permet, Kamez and Shijak;

f) Logistic support to the Citizens’ Information Offices (computer and printer) to be opened in the Pilot Municipalities of Berat, Permet, Kamez and Shijak;

g) Design and layout of the final Pilot Municipalities’ Community Files (including final Community plans, profiles and related project fiches) before printing by the OSCE and distribution to all local authorities in Albania;

h) Design and layout of a National Guide to Community Planning, with the conclusions of the Leadership Programme and case studies from the five Pilot Municipalities.

Each of the five Pilot Municipalities successfully completed their respective files including Community Plans, Community Profiles and Projects fiches. These were presented, together with the National Guide to Community Planning detailing the approach during the whole Programme, at a National Conference held on 9 October in Tirana. This event brought together representatives from all Albanian local authorities and key local and international stakeholders active in the field of local self-government. The Guide was then widely distributed by the AAM.

c. Envisaged activities

i. Launch of a 2nd Round of the Albania Leadership Programme in co-operation with OSCE Presence in Albania, the Association of Albanian Municipalities (AAM) and hopefully with the Open Society Institute (OSI), whose likely renewed funding will be confirmed in March 2009.

2. Armenia

a. Previous activities

National Training Strategy, Leadership and Best Practice programmes

In 2004, a National Training Strategy (NTS) for local government was prepared and adopted by a Steering Group bringing together all stakeholders co-chaired by the deputy Minister of territorial administration and the President of the Association of Communities in Armenia.

Separately, the Leadership and Best practice programmes were introduced to the Armenian partners in late 2005 with a view to their implementation during 2006. In 2006, due to the limited programme management capacity of the Centre of Expertise, the programmes could not be implemented and were postponed.

Good regular working contacts are maintained with the Association of Communities of Armenia. The Association is expecting the Centre’s expertise for the updating of the Training Needs Analysis and the National Training Strategy in 2008, as well as assistance with the implementation of the Toolkit “Towards a Modern Local Government Association”.


b. Activities in 2008

This year the Association of Communities approached the Centre of Expertise asking for support in updating the Training Needs Assessment (TNA). The Association accepted to lead, coordinate and implement the activity, covering all expenses related to the engagement of local experts and conducting the survey (questionnaires and interviews). The Centre of Expertise agreed to cover the costs for Council of Europe expert to design the survey methodology and tools, and to prepare the final document.

The TNA 2008 encompassed two components:

(1) qualitative research was implemented based on a series of in-depth individual interviews with:

        · heads of local government departments in Marzpetarans (rayons); and
        · representatives of the Ministry of Territorial Administration

(2) a representative survey was conducted on a sample of local government units in Armenia:

        · the survey was conducted on a representative, country-wide sample of village and town communities:
        · 328 municipalities were surveyed, out of which 267 villages and 61 town communities.

c. Envisaged activities

In 2009, the Centre will work with the Armenian partners:

Ø to finalise the updated Training Needs Assessment;
Ø to organise conference to present the findings and recommendations of the TNA to the stakeholders.

3. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

a. Previous activities

1st and 2nd rounds of the BiH Beacon Scheme (Best Practice Programme) and implementation of a Capacity Building Programme for the Associations of local authorities of BiH

In January 2005, the Council of Europe and the OSCE Mission to BiH in co-operation with the RS and FBiH Associations of Local Authorities launched the BiH Beacon Scheme (Best Practice Programme), which was financed from voluntary contributions from the Swiss and the British Governments. All awarded municipalities were invited to disseminate their best practice all over BiH with the support of the OSCE and the Entities’ Associations of Local Authorities. This dissemination phase included the printing and distribution of leaflets, the organisation of Open Days for all municipalities of BiH, as well as a study visit of BiH Beacon Municipalities to the United Kingdom and a return visit of UK Beacons to BiH.

In the second half of 2006, the CoE implemented a project aimed at building the capacity of the RS and FBiH Associations of Local Authorities to deliver quality services to their members and partners. The two Associations went through a detailed assessment of their effectiveness which led to the development of distinct and common improvement plans building on strengths, exploiting opportunities and focusing on areas where further development is needed. These have then been successfully implemented.

b. Activities in 2008

Continuation of the 3rd Round of the BiH Beacon Scheme

A 3rd Round of the BiH Beacon Scheme was launched in July 2007 by the RS and FBIH Associations of Local Authorities and the OSCE, but without Council of Europe involvement, the Swiss voluntary contribution having come to an end. The themes opened to competition are improving the agricultural economy in partnership with agricultural producers and the rural population; supporting new businesses; the use of IT to improve the quality of service delivery.

With funding left over from the Swiss government’s voluntary contribution, the RS and FBiH Associations were hired by the Council of Europe to support the implementation of the third Round of the Programme. Apart from the participation of their respective representatives at the Meeting of the Steering Group and visits of the Advisory Panel to the short listed municipalities, each Association implemented a distinct media plan including the followings items:

    - Drafting and publishing of two articles in the FBiH/RS Association’s Magazine;

    - Drafting and publishing of five articles in the FBiH/RS Association’s Newsletter;

    - The organisation of a national television show;

      - The organisation of a national radio show;

    - The organisation of a Press Conference with the participation of a wide range of local and national media.

After a series of visits to the short listed municipalities and a general presentation, the Advisory Panel awarded Beacon Status to the following municipalities:

· Brcko municipality, under the theme; “Implementation of IT technologies in services delivery process aimed at improvement of services quality and decision-making process”.

· Zenica and Mrkonjic Grad municipalities, under the theme: “Support to establishment and development of small and middle sized enterprises”.

· Kozarska Dubica and Laktasi municipalities, under the theme “Improvement of agricultural production through partnership with agricultural producers and citizens in rural areas”.

An Award Ceremony was successfully organised in Brcko in May 2008 and widely covered by the local and national media.

c. Envisaged activities

· Launch of a 4th Round of the Beacon Scheme in January 2009. This Round will be entirely locally owned following the transfer of the responsibilities to the Ministry of Justice of FBiH and the RS Ministry of Public Administration and Local Government, as well as the FBiH and RS Associations of Local Authorities. The four partners have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding and have agreed to financially and logistically support the implementation of the Scheme, each Ministry having agreed to provide 35, 000 euros (70 000 KM) each. The OSCE will continue to support the scheme if necessary, and the Council of Europe will keep a close eye on its development without being directly involved.

· Launching of 3 new capacity-building Programmes dealing with Performance Management, Public Ethics, and Citizens’ participation provided that a voluntary contribution or funding by the European Commission contribution is secured. Necessary steps have been undertaken and confirmation should be given in the course of the 2nd Semester of 2009.

4. Bulgaria

a. Previous activities

Leadership Benchmark, Performance Management, Financial Management Benchmarking

In 2003 - 2006, the Council of Europe worked with the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria (NAMRB) to implement a pilot Leadership Benchmark project based on Peer Reviews and a Self-Assessment process.

In 2006, the NAMRB provided assistance for the implementation of the Peer Review programmes in North-West Russia and Croatia.

In 2006 - 2007, the Centre of Expertise worked with the NAMRB to pilot a performance management programme in Bulgaria, focusing on local economic development and communications. Six pilot municipalities participated in the project: Ruse, Kurdjali, Strumiani, Dobrich, Gabrovo and Pazardjik.

In 2007, the Open Society Institute and the Council of Europe organise a full road test/ first implementation of the new tool on Benchmarking Local Finance.

b. Activities in 2008

To follow-up the Council of Europe’s Performance Management programme in local economic development and communications which was completed in early 2008, the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria (NAMRB) prepared, with the assistance of the Centre, a project on the development of performance indicators in three new areas of local services (social care, libraries and kinder gardens). The project received the approval and funding from the BG Government and is being implemented by the NAMRB. Further assistance from the Centre was requested for the implementation of this project. At present, the limited budget of the Centre of Experts does not allow the extension of the Centre’s support.

The results of the Performance Management Programme in local economic development and communications (2006-2008) were presented by the NAMRB at several national and international events such as: General Assembly of the NAMRB on 9-10 October in Varna, « Premières rencontres régionales de la coopération transfrontalière, du développement durable, des territoires et de la coopération décentralisée dans les Balkans», 3-4 July in Sofia.

In addition
Bulgaria is one of the countries which are piloting the Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance (the Strategy). In 2008, the commitment of both the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW) and the NAMRB were ensured. Since February 2008, the following action was carried out in support to the implementation of the Strategy in Bulgaria:

· The MRDPW and the NAMRB established a joint Working Group on the Strategy including five representatives of the Association and 5 representatives of the Ministry. The tasks of the WG is: a) to prepare a technical analysis of the current situation in all municipalities in Bulgaria, and b) on the basis of the analysis results, to develop a national programme for implementation of the Strategy. Two responsible officials (project managers), one in the Ministry and one in the Association, were appointed to work on the Strategy.

· A meeting for the Centre of Expertise with the Deputy Minister of Regional Development (Ms Paunova), the Chief Executive of the NAMRB and other senior officials from the ministry and the association in March 2008 was organised to consider the implementation of the Strategy. The draft model benchmark on the 12 principles prepared by the Centre of Expertise was shared with the Bulgarian colleagues.

· A technical analysis was implemented by both the Ministry and the NAMRB in all municipalities in Bulgaria. Regular consultations with the Centre of Expertise were carried out. The key objective of the technical analysis was to prepare the implementation of the 12 principles of good governance. It included a review of the current legislation relating to the principles, an analysis of the performance of the municipalities in the light of the principles, review of current programmes (strategies, plans, etc.) in help of the municipalities and a proposal of measures for improvement to be taken. Taking account of the existing experience, the forthcoming technical analysis focused specifically on 6 principles relating to Fair Conduct of Elections, Representation and Participation, Openness and Transparency, Ethical Conduct, Competence and Capacity, Sound Financial Management and Accountability. The technical analysis was completed at the end of September. A national programme for implementation of the Strategy is expected to be ready by the end of the 2008.

· The Centre entered in contact with the Minister of State Administration and Administrative Reform responsible for the Administrative Capacity Operational Programme (OPAC) funded under the European Social Fund.

· The Centre of Expertise assisted the NAMRB in developing a project relating to the implementation of the Strategy for Good Governance and including a range of capacity-building programmes (follow-up to performance management, leadership development and other programmes implemented with the Centre of Expertise until 2007). The project was approved by the Ministry of State Administration and funding was provided for its implementation under the OPAC.

· The Centre met with the Deputy Minister of State Administration, Ms Divizieva, in Oct 2008, to discuss further co-operation on the Strategy and subsequent capacity-building programmes (public ethics, performance management and leadership development). Serious follow-up should be given to the meeting with Ms Divizieva.

c. Envisaged activities

Following the request of the deputy minister of State Administration, the CoE could:

· share of experience and good practice developed in other pilot countries under the Strategy,
· provide assistance to key partners in Bulgaria in the implementation of the Strategy,
· share information (capacity-building tools and programmes).

At the moment, no Council of Europe funding is available to provide assistance for that follow-up.


5. Croatia

a. Previous activities

Leadership Benchmarking, Best Practice and National Training Strategy

In 2003 – 2006, the Union of Associations of Municipalities and Towns in Croatia (“the Union”) implemented the Leadership Benchmark and the Best Practice programmes were successfully piloted in Croatia. The two projects involved more than 40 local authorities as well as international partners (OSCE, UNDP/ILO and Urban Institute/USAID). For more information, please see CELGR (2006)1.

Following the success of the Best Practice programme, in October 2005, the Croatian Parliament adopted amendments to the Law on Local Self-Government including an annual award for Best Practice in local government.

In 2007, the Centre of Expertise provided support to the CARDS programme developing a National Training Strategy for local government in Croatia.

6. Georgia

a. Previous activities:

National Training Strategy (NTS), Training Co-ordination Agency (TCA) and implementation of Municipal Human Resources Programme

From 2004 to 2006, the activities of ex-Directorate of Co-operation for Local and Regional Democracy and then of the Centre of Expertise focused mainly on the drafting of a National Training Strategy (NTS) for local government in Georgia, the creation of a Training Co-ordination Agency (TCA) to take overall responsibility for the implementation of the objectives of the NTS as well as the implementation of two capacity-building programmes dealing with the Training of Trainers Programme in 48 Georgian local governments and the Leadership Programme in 6 local authorities. Both were funded by the Joint Programme with the EC and supported by FALA, a major Czech local government training organisation. The Centre also implemented a capacity-building programme comprising the development of annual training plans and programmes in selected municipalities and improvement of Human Resources (HR) Management as well as the drafting and publication of the Newsletter of the Training Co-ordination Agency (TCA) in co-operation with NALAG.

b. Activities in 2008

Municipal Councillors Training Programme

In early June 2007, the Centre of Expertise started the implementation of a Municipal Councillors’ Training Programme covering 10 pilot municipalities and focusing on 3 key topics:

    - “domestic legislation in the field of local government”;
    - “the local budgeting process and financial management” and;
    - “efficiency of the municipal council and general management of the municipal administration (including communication with citizens)”.

The Programme is developed in co-operation with the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS).

Three training modules on the above mentioned topics have been developed and were completed in December 2007 with the support of 9 trainers recruited by the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia and with contributions by Council of Europe and KS experts.

The actual Training of the Municipal Councillors of 10 Georgian Pilot Municipalities took place during the 1st semester of 2008 and each Councillor was invited to attend a two-day training Session for each module.

These Sessions were be organised by the NALAG Training with the contribution from time to time of COE and KS experts, as well as elected representatives. The training were be co-financed by the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Council of Europe. A mid term evaluation seminar was organised in June 2008, with a view to assessing the conclusions of the training and decisions to review the material as necessary, was taken before further training sessions are carried out in other municipalities of Georgia.

Programme of assistance to emergency planning

However, following the August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia, the CoE, KS and NALAG decided to put on hold till 2009 the Training Programme and to replaced it by a Programme of Assistance to Municipal Emergency Planning to the pilot municipalities of Senaki and Oni, located respectively close to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is financed till March 2009 by the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and is implemented in co-operation and the city of Oslo.

2 series of fields visits by delegation composed of officials and experts of the Council of Europe, the Norwegian and Georgian Associations of Local Authorities, the Norwegian Civil Security and the City of Oslo to Senaki and Oni. They met key local and national stakeholders responsible for civil security in the municipalities of Senaki and Oni (municipality, police, fire brigades, hospitals etc), in case of emergency whether armed conflict or natural disasters. They assessed existing foreseen actions and needs as well as make recommendations with a view to help them reviewing existing municipal emergency plans and achieve better efficiency. They also representatives of the Ministry of Interior shall also be met in Tbilisi. Those revised emergency plans should be finalised in March 2009.

Municipal Strategic Planning Programme

In January 2008, the Centre of Expertise launched a Municipal Planning Programme in two Georgian municipalities: Lanchkhuti and Rustavi. This activity was implemented in co-operation with NALAG and KS. It is financed by the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

This Programme has for main objectives are to support the development of a municipal strategic plan in the two pilot municipalities, the development of a common approach and methodology to municipal strategic planning in Georgia and to build strong local and national political commitment for such a process.

A three day training session for Georgian local programme managers (LPMs) of NALAG and municipal planners of the two pilot municipalities was held in January 2008 in Norway, with a view discussing key objectives and expected outcomes of the Programme. The methodology to be applied to organise and conduct Peer Reviews/visits in the two pilot municipalities was also examined. A Guide to Municipal Strategic Planning, with key principles and guidelines was prepared and adopted, and a list of demographic and socio-economic data to be collected in the two pilot municipalities, with a view to developing their respective Community Profiles was agreed upon.

Two first series of field visits in the two pilot municipalities was carried out in March and October 2008. A Team composed of NALAG Local Programme Managers and CoE/KS experts met with mayors and officials of the two pilot municipalities, as well as various local stakeholders from the private, public and community sector, with the aim of identifying the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for each of the five pilot municipalities. Subsequent reports highlighting this information and the key needs of the two municipalities were then drafted and be used as a basis for drafting the future municipal strategic plans. These plans should be finalised and presented to the public early 2009 after official approval by the Municipal Councils of both pilot municipalities. Municipalities’ 2009 budget were also partly developed and approved in relation to those municipal plans.

c. Envisaged activities

i. Completion of the Municipal Councillors’ Training Programme suspended in 2008 ;

ii. Implementation of a 2nd Round of Municipal Planning in two further Georgian pilot municipalities, with the promotion of a regional approach to municipal planning.

iii. Continuation of the Programme of assistance to emergency planning in the Cities of Oni and Senaki (tbc)

7. Hungary

a. Activities in 2008

Two (instead of one initially planned) capacity-building programmes are being implemented by the National Association of Local Authorities in Hungary (TÖOSZ) with assistance from the Centre of Expertise, and in co-operation with the Ministry of Local Government and other associations of local authorities in Hungary.
In 2008, the Centre established a good working relationship with DEXIA Kommunalkredit Bank in Hungary. Dexia appreciated the Council of Europe’s programmes and agreed to co-sponsor, as well as to take active part in, the programmes implemented by  TÖOSZ with the assistance of the Centre.

Several working meetings supported by Council of Europe’s experts were organised in February – April to introduce the CoE’ programmes and tools, adapt them to local circumstances and agree their implementation.

Within the Leadership Benchmark programme:
· a meeting of national local government experts was convened on 20 May to adjust the CoE model “Benchmark of an Effective Democratic Local Authority”.
· The Hungarian Benchmark was prepared, agreed and published in September.
· A training session was organised on 18-19 Sept for selected peers (senior local government officials and elected representatives). Peers were trained in using the standards of the Benchmark through a peer review of a local authority.

Within the Best Practice programme:
· A national Round Table for key local government stakeholders was organised on 21 May to agree the action plan of the programme.
· A Best Practice Prospectus (setting out the themes, criteria, the application and selection procedures for best practice) was developed and published. The Prospectus was presented at the launching of the Local Democracy Week in Hungary in October 2008.
· The application procedure for local authorities was launched and will continue until December 2008. A promotional campaign on the Best Practice programme will take place in November – December 2008 to encourage participation of local authorities.

Both Programmes are welcomed and appreciated by Hungarian local authorities and local government stakeholders. Both Programmes will continue in 2009. The selection, official recognition and dissemination of Best Practice will be carried out in the first half of 2009. Peer Reviews in three local authorities are also planned to be implemented in this period.

Following a good co-operation with the Centre of Expertise in 2008, Dexia Kommunalkredit Bank in Hungary helped establish a contact for the Centre with their Dexia colleagues in Austria who are also keen in supporting the Centre programmes.

b. Envisaged activities

Both programmes will continue in 2009. Dexia will continue to sponsor the project activities in 2009. Hungarian partners have requested and are expecting the support of the Centre of Expertise (in terms of expertise) to continue in 2009

8. Malta

The Association of Local Councils in Malta (LCA) has officially requested the assistance of the Centre of Expertise for the preparation of their Strategic Programme 2009-2011.
According to an agreed co-operation plan, a fact-finding mission of the Centre of Expertise was organised to Malta in April 2008. This first (for the Centre of Expertise) mission to Malta was organised in co-operation with the LCA and with participation of one representative of the Assembly of European Regions.

The mission provided an opportunity to identify objectives for the Strategic Programme of the LCA as well as possible future co-operation between the CoE and the Maltese authorities. Following the mission, a detailed mission report with recommendations was prepared and handed over to the LCA and the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office.
 
Following the recommendations of the report, the LCA is working on the preparation of an organisational and development strategy using the “Toolkit towards a Modern Local Government Association”. The strategy should be completed and presented to all mayors, deputy mayors and political leadership at central level in December 2008.

In 2008, the Centre received the full support of the Prime Minister of Malta who also requested the assistance of the Centre in the preparation of a series of performance indicators in a number of local public services. The assistance of the Centre is expected to continue in 2009.

9. Moldova

(see the website devoted to capacity building in local government in Moldova: www.local.md)

a. Previous activities

i. Best Practice Programme, National Training Strategy, Public Ethics Benchmarking

The first two rounds of the Best Practice Programme were implemented with a significant success in 2006 and 2006.

The National Training Strategy programme was implemented in partnership with the Moldovan Academy for Public Administration. The National Training Strategy, accompanied by a detailed Action Plan, was adopted by the Steering Group in September 2006. The Government adopted a shorter version of the Strategy by Government Decree.

The Public Ethics Benchmarking Programme was a module of a Joint Programme between the Council of Europe and the European Commission concerning fighting corruption in Moldova (MOLICO). It was in part implemented in 2007 (preparation of a draft Moldovan Handbook on Public Ethics at Local Level and a Moldovan Score Card, self-assessment conducted by four municipalities, calculation of the benchmark, training of peer reviewers and organisation of peer reviews.

b. Activities in 2008

i. Third round of the Best Practice Programme

The third round of the programme builds on the success of the first two. It was co-funded by the Slovak government through a voluntary contribution. The programme has become very popular in Moldova; its sustainability, although desired by all stakeholders, is still not secured from domestic sources.

The themes of the second round, the evaluation criteria and the composition of the Selection Panel were decided by the Steering Group at their meeting in May 2008.

A brochure, including an application form, was prepared and sent to all local authorities. The Selection Panel received the applications for the Best Practice status and shortlisted twelve of them. It organised study visits to the shortlisted municipalities and selected the seven best practices to receive the Award and status. The Steering Group examined the procedure and endorsed the proposal of the Selection Panel in September 2008.

An Award Ceremony was organised on 16 October 2008 to celebrate and disseminate the Award-winning practices. According to the decision of the Steering Group, a training of representatives of the short-listed municipalities was organised in November.

Dissemination activities also included the preparation of a documentary film, which was distributed on DVD to all municipalities, a brochure, Open Days in the award-winning municipalities and the updating of the website www.local.md.

ii. Public ethics

The Programme of Benchmarking Public Ethics at Local Level was continued and finalised in 2008.

Peer review reports, which highlight good practice identified during the reviews, but also suggest guidelines for improvement to local authorities under review, were prepared. On this basis, each of the participating municipalities prepared, adopted and started the implementation of improvement plans.

A last meeting of the Steering Group was the occasion to finalise and adopt the Moldovan Guide on Public Ethics at Local Level and to examine the results of the programme. Results were generally assessed as excellent. Moldovan participants were also invited as experts to guide the similar programme implemented in Romania.

c. Envisaged activities

In 2008, a fourth round of the very successful Best Practice programme should be implemented.

Subject to resources, a new round of Public Ethics peer reviews could be organised in order to measure improvement in the participating municipalities.

The Centre of Expertise has applied, together with VNG International, for MATRA funding for a programme aiming at strengthening the capacity of Moldovan local government associations.

The request for capacity-building programmes devoted to local government is very high; however, the launching of other programmes is subject to special funding.

10. Montenegro

a. Previous activities

A Joint Programme (JP) between the Council of Europe and the European Agency for Reconstruction is being implemented in co-operation with the Ministry of the Interior and the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro. The JP includes a module on capacity-building for local government with the following projects: a) the preparation of a National Training Strategy, b) a Best Practice programme, and c) a Leadership Development programme. A complementary project on transparency and preventing corruption at local level was launched in 2007 in parallel to the National Training Strategy development.

The implementation of this programme was conducted started in 2007.

b. Activities in 2008

National Training Strategy

In 2008, the NTS was completed in co-operation with key national and international stakeholders, agreed by the project Steering Committee and approved by the Joint (Central – Local) Government Commission in Montenegro. The project activities initially planned under this project were successfully implemented:

    · A working group, supported by CoE consultants, met on 5-6 February in Podgorica to prepare a second draft of the action plan of the NTS before consultation with the Union of Municipalities, the Human Resource Management Agency and other members of the NTS Steering Group.

    · A subsequent meeting of the NTS Steering Group (co-chaired by the Deputy Minister of Interior and Public Affairs and the Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities) was held on 6 March to consider and agree the second draft of the NTS and the action plan.

    · The NTS and its Action Plan were completed and handed over to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public Administration on 31 March 2008 for consideration by the Joint Central Local Government Commission.

    · Following a series of meetings with the Joint Central Local Government Commission and the Governing Board of the Union of Municipalities, the NTS was improved and agreed by the Commission in July.

    · The NTS and its action plan were published and presented at several national and international meetings and shared with key international partners (UNDP, OSCE).

In addition:

    · An information meeting on the NTS was organised with support from the Centre for development of local NGOs (CRNVO) to help establish links with the NGO sector for the future implementation of the Strategy.

    · Following a trilateral meeting of the key national stakeholders (Ministry of the Internal Affairs and Public Administration, Human Resource Management Agency and the Union of Municipalities), it was proposed to establish a National Training Commission to oversee and ensure coordination. The structure of the proposed Commission was prepared and agreed.

    · Following a suggestion by the Joint Central Local Government Commission and the Governing Board of the Union of Municipalities, a summary of the NTS was prepared to facilitate its promotion.

Public ethics and fight against corruption at local level

In 2008, at the request of the Minister of Interior, the Centre of Expertise helped establish a national Task Force on fighting corruption at local level and supported the preparation of a comprehensive programme and action plan for fighting corruption at local level.

In addition:

    · an analysis of the current situation, treats and risks for corruption at local level was prepared and includes specific actions and models for improving LG legal framework to achieve greater accountability of local administrations, increasing the level of professionalism of staff and elected members, increasing transparency of local service provision, strengthening internal and external control of municipalities, creating public ethics culture, etc. In June 2008, the Joint Central Local Government Commission adopted the models proposed in the anti-corruption programme and action plan.

    · OSCE Montenegro agreed to support the implementation of the anti-corruption action plan and launched a project on ‘drafting a model code of conducts and ethics for municipalities’ to be completed with assistance form the Centre of Expertise before the end of 2008. Four working meetings supported by Council of Europe’s experts are taking place on 22-23 October, on 4 and 17 November and in the first week of December to draft, agree and present to mayors the model code.

The CoE and the OSCE will continue co-operation on strengthening public ethics at local level in Montenegro in 2009.

Best Practice programme

Within the supervision of a Steering Group of key national and international stakeholders (relevant ministries, UoM, EAR, CoE, OSCE, OSI and SNV) a Best Practice programme was implemented in three thematic areas – social inclusion, citizens participation and environment protection. AS planned, the following activities took place in 2008:

    · Following the official ceremony on Best Practice in December 2007, selected municipalities participated in a study visit to a number of selected UK local councils (beacon councils) and the Improvement and Development Agency. The visit was co-organised with the Association of Local Authorities in the UK.

    · A collection of Best Practice case studies was prepared and published.

    · The Union of Municipalities will continue the dissemination of best practice nationwide.


Leadership Peer Review programme

In November 2008, according to the planning, two more Peer Reviews were carried out in the municipalities of Bar and Plav. Following the reviews, peer reports with recommendations for improvement are being prepared and should be used by the reviewed authorities for the preparation and implementation of Improvement Plans.

A series of evaluation meetings were organised in October 2008, with participation of key local government stakeholders, senior local government officials and elected representatives and international partners. The objective of the meetings was to take stock of the results of ongoing capacity-building programmes and consider their further development. During the meetings, the Centre of Expertise was provided with a very positive feedback from the municipalities about the capacity building programmes. In addition:

    · NTS. The Government had already agreed the Action Plan of the National Training Strategy (NTS) which had now been passed by the General Assembly of the Union (3 October 2008). However, it had been a difficult process and municipalities are unwilling to increase their fees to the Union, given the existing pressures on them, particular the transfer of competences without sufficient resources and expertise.

    The UoM is about to complete the budget for the NTS Action Plan and CRNVO is preparing a Logical Framework that should be ready by the end of October.

    The Minister of Interior is very positive in his support for the implementation of the NTS Action Plan and is keen to provide the necessary funding, especially to support the UoM for the employment of the 4 new staff envisaged for their new training and capacity development function.

    · The Mayors, whose municipality were subjected to a Leadership Peer Review, recommend that every municipality in Montenegro should go through this exercise regularly. Some peer recommendations had already been introduced in reviewed municipalities; however it is too early to make a more formal assessment on the genuine impact of the programme.

    · The Best Practice programme stimulated municipalities and encouraged a degree of competitiveness. It needs to continue its focus on the dissemination of training, particularly with the production of manuals on the identified best practices to facilitate dissemination.

    · The Public Ethics programme now needs to focus on helping municipalities develop and implement codes of conducts and ethics. This programme is seen as a particular priority by the EC and OSCE delegations. It should also be tied to the other two programmes.

    The Leadership Benchmark should be expanded to include additional competences (transparency and accountability, political management, community leadership) as was done with the Hungarian Leadership Benchmark. Public Ethics would then be subject to peer review under the transparency and accountability competence; it could also be a theme in the Best Practice programme (this highlights the inter-connectivity of the programmes).

It is not possible to go into further depth in the assessment of the programmes at this stage. The outcomes are to materialise to a large extent, for instance the impact on municipalities of the dissemination stage of the Best Practice exchange and monitoring changes resulting from the Peer Reviews. It is assumed that the UoM will provide an in-depth evaluation in due course. A representative of Podgorica municipality was present, giving the opportunity to encourage the capital city to play a larger role in supporting local government across the country.

c. Activities envisaged

Both the UNDP and the OSCE are looking forward to work with the CoE on the follow-up to current programmes (NTS and Anti-corruption). OSCE is ready to fund a programme on strengthening public ethics in municipalities.

VNG International are preparing a substantial programme of activities (also follow-up to current CoE work) for Montenegro for 2009-2010 and will apply for funding with MATRA. Results will be known in spring 2009.

Separately, a project proposal (follow-up to the JP EAR-CoE) is being discussed with EC delegation in Montenegro; DSP is informed.

11. Romania

a. Previous activities

In 2007 Romania started the implementation of a Public Ethics Benchmarking Programme in co-operation with the Romanian National Agency for Civil Servants. After the preparation of a National Handbook on Public Ethics at Local Level, a draft National Score Card was also prepared. Five administrations were identified to pilot the project: two local authorities, two county authorities and a county prefecture. The five pilot authorities conducted self-assessments based on the National Score Card, which generated the Romanian Benchmark on Public Ethics. Three peer reviewers from each participating authority were trained to the benchmarking methodology and the peer review process.

b. Activities in 2008

The Public Ethics Benchmarking Programme continued and was finalised in 2008.

Five 3-day peer reviews were organised in the five participating authorities. Peer review teams prepared review reports, including remarks concerning good practice identified, but also guidelines for improvement. On this basis, authorities under review prepared improvement plans which they started to implement.

The final meeting of the Steering Group for the programme met in August in order to evaluate the results. It considered the programme as very successful and expressed a wish to see it continued. The Steering Group also finalised and adopted the Romanian National Handbook on Public Ethics at Local Level, which was subsequently published.

c. Possible follow-up in 2009

Romanian partners expressed a strong interest in the continuation and extension of the Public Ethics Benchmarking Programme, as well as in the implementation of a Best Practice Programme. As no funds are currently available from the Council of Europe budget, the implementation of these programmes depends on the capacity of the local partners to identify the necessary financing.

12. Russian Federation (North-West Russia and Kaliningrad)

a. Previous activities

Leadership Benchmark and Best Practice

In 2005-2006, the Council of Europe worked with the Russian Congress of Municipalities and the Academy of Public Administration in NW Russia to pilot a Leadership Benchmark programme within the framework of a joint Council of Europe – European Commission programme for North-West Russia.

A Peer Review project was implemented in the region of Karelia and a Self-Assessment project, based on Council of Europe methodology and the Russian Leadership Benchmark, was piloted in the Kaliningrad region within the framework of the joint Council of Europe – EC programme for NW Russia.

A Best Practice programme in transfrontier co-operation was implemented in NW Russia in co-operation with the Academy of Public Administration in St Petersburg, the Congress of Municipalities of Russia, and the regional local authority associations from the Regions of Kaliningrad and Pskov and the Republic of Karelia

b. Activities in 2008

In 2008, the North-Western Academy of Public Administration launched the implementation, in 2008-2009, of a “Leadership Academy Programme” developed by the Centre of Expertise. The Centre is providing advice and expertise. This is the first time when a national training institution starts using the CoE leadership development tools at its own expense. The Academy covers organisational costs of the programme (participation costs of 50 Russian officials, the publication, promotion and distribution of our tools).

A statement of co-operation was signed between the Rector of the NW Academy and the Directorate of Democratic Institutions for the implementation of the Programme in 2008-2009 and with a view to developing sustainable co-operation in training and capacity-building for local and regional government officials in N-W Russia.

Within the Leadership Academy programme, the following activities took place so far:

· A meeting with the Leadership of the N-W Academy (the Rector of the Academy and the Director of the Training Centre) to prepare the ground for the implementation of the programme (29 April, St Petersburg);
· A two-day working meeting on 4-5 September in Strasbourg to prepare the action plan of the programmes and the agenda of its first session (workshop in October);
· Following the meeting in Strasbourg, the training material, tools and handouts were prepared (in English), translated into Russian and published for participants;
· Two CoE experts participated in the official launching and in the first session of the Leadership Academy Programme in St Petersburg (20-25 October 2008).

c. Envisaged activities

The second and third sessions of the programme will take place in February 2009 and May 2009.

If the pilot course in 2008-2009 proves successful, the Academy is ready to replicate the programme in 2009-2010, with the newly acquired expertise and trained trainers. In the medium term, the programme would become one of the permanent training courses of the Academy. The Academy, through its 13 branches, the University of St Petersburg and the network of the National Academy of Public Administration will contribute to promote the Centre’s tools in other training institutions in the Russian Federation.

13. Russian Federation (Chechen Republic)

a. Activities in 2008

Within the programme of co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic, in the area of Democracy and Development of Local Self-Government, the Centre for Expertise in Local Government Reform implemented the following specific activities:

1) Workshop on Leadership Development for Chechen Administrators (13-14 May, Moscow)

    · Participants: 15 representatives from the office of the Commissioner on Human Rights and representatives from executive authorities in the Chechen Republic.

    · Objective: to introduce senior officials from Chechen district on their leadership role once the LG is introduced to the republic, and their district administrations are transformed into local authorities.

    · Workshop was focused on two areas: issues concerned with 1) the specific features of the local government and 2) standards of performance in key functions of a local authority based on the CoE Leadership Benchmark.

2) In-house Training for Chechen Administrators (2-3 July Moscow) was organised in co-operation with the Congress of the Local and Regional Authorities (ENTO)

      · 15 representatives of the Commissioner on Human Rights and administrators participated.

      · Objective: to introduce modern opportunities of in-house training in the local administrations, in order to prepare them to face the human resource management challenges, once the LG is introduced.

      · The learning was focused on issues on 1) the role of training in creation of the learning environment within the local administration; 2) use of information and communication technologies in local administrations to improve the efficiency and to modernise the public services.

3) Workshop on Citizen Participation (held on 6-7 November, Moscow ) was designed with aim of helping Chechen Administrators to improve their communication with citizen groups in order to be more effective partners in local governance.

4) Study visit to Austria for was organised (1-6 December) in co-operation with KDZ for representatives from the local administrations and Parliament of the Chechen Republic.

b. Envisaged activities

In 2009, the Centre of Expertise will continue to support Chechen administrators by organising five supplementary preparatory activities: a seminar on the organisation of the local government in the light of the future elections; a workshop on the legal framework of local government in the Russian Federation; a workshop on strategic development; a study visit and a seminar dedicated to the Best Practice Programme. While these are not an expression of the traditional business model of the Centre of Expertise (they are more training than capacity-building activities), they represent a very useful first step in the work in the Chechen Republic.

Subject to resources, it is expected that these preparatory activities would lead to a regional Best Practice Programme in the Southern District of the Russian Federation.

14. Serbia

a. Previous activities

Best Practice and Leadership Development Programmes

In the autumn of 2006, the Council of Europe and the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) agreed a Joint Programme (JP) on Strengthening Local Democracy in Serbia. The Joint Programme includes a module on capacity-building for local authorities to be implemented in 2006-2008.

The first two capacity-building Programmes (Best Practice and Leadership Programmes) were launched in October 2006 following a joint Conference organised in co-operation with the SCTM and the Ministry of Public Administration and Finance of Serbia. A 3rd capacity building (Performance Management) was launched in October 2007.

b. Activities in 2008

The Leadership Programme

After a 1st Phase of adjustment, by local experts, of the CoE Leadership Benchmark and a Peer Review Manual to local circumstances, the main component of the Programme consisted in the organisation of Peer Reviews in the 10 Pilot Municipalities during which the effectiveness of municipalities of the field of leadership, service delivery and community engagement was assessed by external local experts (for mayors, officials etc).

Early 2008, following the relevant peer review reports, improvement plans were drawn up by the representatives of host municipalities with the support of local and international experts. All ten pilot-municipalities in Serbia prepared their improvement plans with the assistance of a local expert. They were translated and sent to CoE experts for comments and discussed at an evaluation Workshop of the Programme in June 2008 in Palic. Representatives of the ten pilots as well as the eleven peers who conducted the field visits took part in this event.

Overall conclusions of the Programme were presented and discussed during a Final Conference held on 3rd October in Belgrade; On that occasion, a Leadership Manual was officially presented during the Conference and later distributed to all Serbian Municipalities.

The Performance Management programme

A Performance Management programme, which is a systematic approach to identifying, collecting and using performance data to improve standards of service provision, was launched in October 2007 in the framework of the Joint Programme with the participation of ten Serbian (Kragujevac, Pancevo, Novi Beograd, Bor, Vranje, Medijana, Senta, Sremski Karlovci, Sremska Mitrovica, Majdampek) and six French Pilot Local Authorities (Bricquebec, Le Creusot, Nevers, Suresnes, Territoire de Belfort and Boulogne Billancourt) and with the support of the French Embassy in Belgrade.

For over a year, these sixteen local authorities have been working together to improve their respective performance management mechanisms in one or several of the following fields: local economic development, communication with the citizens, internal communication, waste management  and management of staff.

An Information Meeting with the representatives of the French pilot municipalities was initially held on 3 October 2007 in Strasbourg. A questionnaire and a Performance Management Template were developed and sent to all French and Serbian Pilot Municipalities. The Pilot Municipalities’ replies to these documents were discussed at a Joint Seminar with the representatives of French and Serbian local authorities held on 7 and 8 November 2007 in Belgrade. The respective Pilot Municipalities Performance Management Templates/Improvement plans indicating the activities to be implemented in order to meet the general objectives, the specific target, the performance indicator and the method of measurement were revised in the course of November and December

Regional meetings between the representatives of the Serbian Pilot Municipalities and the Council of Europe’s experts were held in January 2008 with a view to completing those plans and preparing the Peer Reviews of the Serbian Local Authorities’ representatives in the French Municipalities which took place the first week of February 2008. The results of those reviews were discussed during a Joint Seminar held in Nevers on Thursday 7 February 2008.

A 2nd series of Regional meetings between the representatives of the Serbian Pilot Municipalities and the Council of Europe’s experts were held in April 2008 to prepare the Peer Reviews by the representatives of the French Pilot Municipalities in Serbian municipalities which took place late April 2008. A Joint Seminar was also held to discuss the conclusions of those exchanges between Serbian and French counterparts. During those Reviews, delegations were composed of representatives of one French pilot and two Serbian pilots, and very concrete visit programmes were prepared in each municipality.

A Joint Final Conference was held on 3 October 2008 in Belgrade. This event which brought together local elected representatives from all over Serbia focused on the conclusions of the Performance Management Programme. A Performance Management Guide was officially presented during the Conference and later distributed to all Serbian Municipalities.

Other than developing joint performance management tools and favouring exchange of knowledge and experience with a view to improve quality of services, the Programme has helped consolidate the existing partnerships between French and Serbian local authorities, 11 out 16 Serbian and French pilot local authorities being already twinned, and foster the establishment of new ones.

c. Envisaged activities

A new JP CoE/EU Programme should be launched in January 2009 and last until 2012. It will include capacity building activities focusing on Performance Management in the field of local budgets and municipal property as well as human resources management at municipal level. The Performance Management Project should be again carried out with the involvement of involving French and Serbian Municipalities, as well as two German Municipalities.

15. “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

a. Previous activities

· From September 2006 to February 2007, the Centre of Expertise implemented a Leadership Benchmark project for local government with the financial support of the Government of Japan. The project was implemented in co-operation with the national Association of Local Self-Government Units (ZELS) and with support from the Ministry of Local Self-Government. As a result of this project and following the consultation workshops, the Leadership Benchmark and its self-assessment tool were amended and published.

In May 2007 the Centre of Expertise secured an agreement on a substantial Joint Programme with the EAR in Skopje on capacity-building for local government. The programme “Leadership Benchmark and Best Practice programme” costs started in June 2007 and will last until February 2009. The Programme includes three modules:

    - a Leadership Development programme including further dissemination of the Leadership Benchmark, Peer Reviews and Self-assessment process;
    - a Programme on public ethics at local level, including the development of standards on public ethics, a national campaign on the “Transparent Municipality”, selection, award and dissemination of good practices;
    - a Best Practice Programme: identification, official recognition and dissemination of best practice in local government leadership, service provision and community participation.

b. Activities in 2008

The Leadership Benchmark Programme

Six pilot municipalities went trough the Peer Review process. Two alternatives were given to the municipalities: to ask a Peer review Team to asses the performance of their municipality according to the Leadership Benchmark, or to do their own self-assessment. Thirteen municipalities applied for the assessment by a trained Peer Review Team. Due to the limited funds, assistance was provided to only 6 municipalities (Berovo, Radovis, Bitola, Chair, Makedonski Brod and Vinica.). The criterion used to select the municipalities was “first come first served”. The pilot municipalities were very satisfied with the results of the Programme. They all approved the Peer Review Reports and developed Leadership Improvement Plans according to the recommendation made in the reports. All peer review reports were made available to the wider public through the ZELS and municipal web page. The benefits were two sided: for the municipalities that went trough the Peer Review process and for the municipalities that had members in the Peer Review Teams. Leadership Improvement Plans were adopted by the municipal councils and made available to the citizens through their municipal WEB page. The last three months were used to monitor the implementation of the LIP and it proved that all six municipalities have put big efforts and commitment to the implementation of the plans. To disseminate the results of the Programme Evaluation Conference will be organized early January 2009.

Public Ethics programme “Transparent Municipality”

This programme was aimed at raising awareness among mayors and local government officials of the principles of a good governance, in order to strengthen ethical conduct in local administrations. The Programme started with the development and adaptation of a national Grid of Standards including definitions, criteria and indicators of 6 principles of a “Transparent Municipality”. The Public Ethics Benchmark was prepared by the expert Working Group in consultation with the local authorities and building inter alia on the European Public Ethics Benchmark developed by the Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform.

A national campaign “Towards Transparent Municipality” was organized to promote “the six principles of good governance" and to encourage municipalities to participate in the Programme. Twelve municipalities applied and all of them went through the whole Programme activities. After the first self-assessment, six obligatory tasks were defined by the Programme, one for each of the standards. All twelve municipalities implemented the tasks, and six municipalities were selected as the best in each of the six standards: Veles - good governance; Strumica - professionalism; Caska - accountability; Stip - zero tolerance for corruption; Bitola - transparency; Centar - citizen participation. All municipalities went through a rigorous assessment made by a Peer Review Teams. The results were more then satisfactory. Municipalities were very engaged and committed to the Programme and the results of the third assessment made the peer Review Team showed a significant increase in the Score card regarding meeting upper levels in some of the standards.

The Best Practice programme

A Round Table for stakeholders was organised to agree the methodology and management of the programme. A project Steering Group and an independent Selection Panel were established to assist in the selection process. Three Best Practice themes were selected for 2008:

      - Theme 1. Service Provision - Increasing the Quality of Services in the Process of Decentralization;
      - Theme 2. Citizen Participation - Promotion of Citizens Participation in the Decision-making Process;
      - Theme 3. Financial Management- Increasing Own-source Revenues by the Municipality

The criteria, the application, selection and awards procedures for best practice were developed and included in a Prospectus. The Prospectus was published and was disseminated to all municipalities in the country. A draft booklet on “Best Practice for Local Government” was prepared and published.

Nineteen municipalities applied with 43 Best Practices. Twelve practices were short listed and recognized. Six of them were the best practices for 2008 and the other six were semi-finalists. A promotional booklet of the 12 best practices for 2008 was published and disseminated on the Best Practice recognition Ceremony. A booklet on “Best Practice for Local Government” was prepared with case studies of all 43 best practices to disseminate the practices throughout the country and to assist municipalities in the replication of the most adequate practice for their municipalities. The web site www.bestpractices.org.mk was designed and created with objectives to make the whole process as transparent as possible and information close to the reach of the municipalities and other relevant public institutions. The functionalities of the web site include review of the whole process including criteria and evaluation; offers possibility for on line application for the next year cycle; and disseminates the information using user friendly menus and search engine that helps the visitor to easily access the required document.  

Programme Newsletter “Info page” was published to inform on the Programme activities and disseminate identified good practices. There were 6 publications of the newsletter. The last one no.7 will be published at the end of the Programme summarizing the results and the impact made by the Programme.

c. Envisaged activities

The Joint Programme implementation will end in February 2009.

Within the Leadership Benchmark programme the Centre of Expertise together with ZELS will finalize the Programme and disseminate its results through an Evaluation Conference envisaged for January 2009. ZELS will encourage the municipalities to continue the Programme by using the tools developed by the Centre and available on the ZELS web page.

Within the Best Practice Programme programme, the dissemination of the Best Practices will be organized. Six municipalities will share their Best Practice through organization a range of dissemination activities such as: seminars and workshops, one-to-one learning events, publications and use of the Internet, development and dissemination of information materials, newsletters, exhibitions, etc. Study Visit to an European country will be organized in January for representatives from the awarded best practices municipalities.

Within The Public Ethics programme the Centre of Expertise will work with ZELS to finalize the Programme. The Handbook with Best Practices in Public Ethics will be developed and disseminated. Evaluation Conference will be organized in January share the experiences and disseminate the results of the Programme throughout the country.

16. Ukraine

a. Previous activities

In the context of a Joint Programme between the Council of Europe and the European Commission concerning fighting corruption in Ukraine, the Centre of Expertise has implemented a module of capacity building for local authorities in the field of public ethics at local level, which was organised around the newly created Benchmarking and Improvement Programme on public ethics at local level.

b. Activities in 2008

In 2008, the Public Ethics Benchmarking Programme was finalised. A final meeting of the Steering Group for the programme was convened. The meeting revised and adopted the National Ukrainian Handbook, which includes case studies identified during the project and which was subsequently published.

The Steering Group also endorsed the model Ukrainian Code of Conduct for local elected and appointed officials, developed in co-operation with the Centre of Expertise. This could subsequently either be adopted in the form of a law, or be sent by the Association to all municipalities with an invitation to take inspiration from it.

The Council of Europe also developed model Regulations for the Ethics Committees which are to be created by each local council in order to deal with allegations of violations of the Code.

c. Envisaged activities

There is a high demand for good quality capacity-building programmes for local government in Ukraine. Beyond the continuation and follow-up to the Public Ethics Benchmarking programme, local stakeholders expressed a strong interest in a Best Practice Programme and in a Citizen Participation programme.

An application for a Joint Programme with the European Commission was prepared and is supported by the Ukrainian government.

APPENDIX IV - Relations with other bodies and organisations

a. Relations with other Council of Europe bodies and organisations sponsored by them

The Congress and the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR)

The Centre of Expertise has institutional relations with the two Council of Europe bodies which are also represented on its Advisory Board, the Congress and the CDLR. The Centre of Expertise relies on legal instruments adopted by the Committee of Ministers on the basis of the work of the CDLR and on policy documents and advice given by both the CDLR and the Congress. It also relies on them for information concerning the capacity-building programmes the Centre of Expertise can offer to the attention of central governments and local authorities. The various networks sponsored by these bodies (NALAS, ALDA, ENTO,) also co-operate with the Centre Expertise, which remains open to other concrete proposals for practical and efficient co-operation.

During 2008, the Centre’s staff continued to take part in the meetings of the CDLR and of several of its expert committees, as well as in the plenary session of the Congress. The situation and the prospects of the Centre were discussed by the CDLR during its meetings. Inter-secretariat meetings were held in particular with the Congress in order to examine the best ways to improve co-operation.

NALAS

The good co-operation established with NALAS in 2007 continued in 2008. In the first half of 2008, the Centre of expertise supported a regional meeting for the LG Associations in SEE on National Training Strategies. Following the meeting NALAS launched the preparation of a study on the “Role of Local Government Associations of South East Europe in Training Delivery to Local Authorities”.

The Centre also participated in a number of meetings of the Task Force on capacity-building of NALAS.

The Peer Review Programme for local government associations in SEE was discussed and agreed by the governing board of NALAS. Its implementation was initially planned to start in the second half of 2008 and to continue in 2009. By reason of limited funding of both the Centre of Expertise and NALAS, the programme implementation cannot be launched as planned, in 2008.

In addition, members of NALAS participated in the Workshop on Effective Local Leadership (April 2008, Strasbourg) and provide their opinion on the newly developed by the Centre of Expertise concept of Leadership Academy Programme.

NALAS also contributed to the preparation of, and participated in, the international conference organised by the Centre of expertise in co-operation with UNDP – Regional Bureau of Bratislava.

Following specific request from NALAS, the Centre provided comments and suggestions on their study on the “Role of Local Government Associations of South East Europe in Training Delivery to Local Authorities”.

NALAS also expressed its readiness to assist the Centre in publishing and disseminating the Best Practice Booklet in SEE.

In 2009, the Peer Review programme could start as earl as February. It would include a training of Peers for selected senior officials from NALAS Task Force on capacity-building and a pilot Peer Review in the Union of Municipalities of Marmara Region (Turkey). Two more peer reviews would be implemented with support from the Centre of Expertise in SEE LG Associations in the first half of 2009.

ENTO

Within the specific programme of co-operation with the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic, the Centre organized an in-house training for Chechen Administrators in Moscow on 2-3 July 2008, in co-operation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (ENTO). Council of Europe experts and ENTO members Boris Peril (North-Western Academy of Public Administration, St. Petersburg), and Raffaele Gareri (Innovation and Territory Department, Province of Brescia), successfully carried out the two-day training for the Chechen executive officials.

Moreover, ENTO has an important role in the success of the conference “Towards sustainable training systems and effective capacity-development programmes” (25-26 September, Strasbourg).

b. Relations with the EU and its institutions

The European Commission co-funds a substantial number of the Centre’s country-specific programmes through Joint Programmes with the Council of Europe.

Joint programmes financed the implementation of a Public Ethics Benchmarking Programmes in Moldova and Ukraine.

The Council of Europe has also implemented a Joint Programme on “Strengthening Local Self-Government in Serbia” co-funded by the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) in Serbia, including an institutional framework project and a capacity-building module for local government. A new Joint Programme with the European Commission should be launched in Serbia in January 2009 and last until 2012. It will include both legal assistance and capacity building activities, the latter focusing on Performance Management in the field of local budgets and municipal property as well as human resources management at municipal level.

Within a similar Council of Europe – EAR Joint Programme in Montenegro, the Centre of Expertise has developed a National Training Strategy for local government and has implemented Leadership Benchmark and Best Practice programmes (2006-2008). The Centre has also assisted the Montenegrin authorities with the preparation of their National Programme for Fighting Corruption at Local Level.

In 2007-2008, the Centre of Expertise also implemented a substantial Joint Programme between the Council of Europe and the European Agency for Reconstruction on capacity-building for local government in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", including leadership development, best practice and public ethics components.

c. Relations with the OSCE

The OSCE Skopje contributed to the international conference “Towards sustainable training systems and effective capacity-development programmes” (UNDP-CoE, 25-26 September, Strasbourg). The OSCE prepared and presented at the conference a case study on the training system in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

In 2008, the OSCE Montenegro supported the capacity-building programmes (National Training Strategy, Best Practice and anti-corruption project) of the Centre of Expertise in Montenegro. OSCE participated in the project Steering Committees and meetings.

Separately, to support the implementation of the action plan for fighting corruption at local level in Montenegro, the OSCE is implementing, with assistance from experts of the Centre of Expertise, a project on drafting a model code of conduct and ethics for municipalities in Montenegro (from October to December 2008).

The Centre also established close co-operation with the OSCE Mission in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. The OSCE conducted an external review of the trainings delivered to the Local Self-Governments in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in the period 2004-2007. The overall objective of the assignment was to provide an independent review of the training delivered to municipal staff in the period 2004-2007 by national and international stakeholders with the aim to establish a system for quality assurance for future training. The findings and recommendations of the study were presented at the CoE conference, and the booklet was published.

d. Relations with the UN and its agencies

Following the – so far very successful – co-operation between the Council of Europe and UNDP regional bureau in Bratislava and to explore further joint action as well as a possible co-operation agreement, a high-level bilateral meeting was organised in Bratislava in March 2008. The aim of the meeting was to review the state of existing co-operation, discuss and launch further joint initiatives and generate synergies in the implementation of respective projects.

Following the meeting in Bratislava, a draft Memorandum of Understanding between UNDP regional bureau in Bratislava and the Directorate of Democratic Institutions of the Council of Europe was prepared.
Consultations were carried out with relevant bodies of the Council of Europe (such as the legal and international relations departments). The draft MoU should be presented to the Committee of Ministers (GR-EXT) for approval before signature by the CoE’s Secretary General, Mr Terry Davis and the Director of the UNDP Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Ms Kori Udovicki.

Separately, the Centre of Expertise is participating in a trilateral co-operation project between the CoE, UNDP and OSI on inter-municipal co-operation. The project includes a series of regional workshops and the preparation of a Toolkit on inter-municipal co-operation. The Centre participated in a regional meeting in June in Peccioli (Italy) and in a subsequent meeting in October in Bratislava. The Centre will continue to work on this project and participate in the preparation of a Toolkit in inter-municipal co-operation.

An International Conference “Towards sustainable training systems and effective capacity-development programmes” was organised on 25-26 September in Strasbourg by the Centre of Expertise in close co-operation with UNDP RBEC. The Conference was attended by senior officials from the Committee of Regions of the EU, UN-HABITAT, OSI-LGI, OSCE, ENTO, NALAS, national local government associations, local elected representatives, and representatives of relevant ministries in several countries from Europe. The participants in the Conference adopted a final declaration inviting the Centre of Expertise and UNDP to disseminate the conclusions of the Conference widely and bring them to the attention of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The participants also invited the Council of Europe and UNDP, together with the Committee of the Regions, to step-up co-operation, through decentralised co-operation projects and by making use of EU instruments and programmes such as pre-accession funds IPA and the “Civil Society Dialogue” programme for candidate and pre-candidate countries.

e. Relations with other international partners

VNG International

At the initiative of VNG International, a co-ordination meeting took place in July in Hague to discuss respective ongoing activities and consider possible co-operation in a number of countries in Eastern / South-Eastern Europe. Following this meeting, the project managers of VNG International and of the Centre of Expertise established ongoing communication relating to the countries they are responsible for.

A joint mission (Centre of expertise and VNG International) was organised in October (13-15) to Montenegro. The objective of the mission was to evaluate ongoing capacity-building programmes, consider and plan future development and programmes. Following the mission, VNG International is preparing an assistance programme for Montenegro for 2009 to provide follow-up to the Council of Europe’s capacity-building programmes (being implemented in 2006-2008 under the Joint Programme EAR-CoE).

Co-operation projects with VNG International have been or are being developed (for possible finding by MATRA and other external sources) for Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey. A specific co-operation project for Moldova did not succeed to secure MATRA funding, but it should be improved and submitted again in 2009.

The question of signing a co-operation agreement between the Centre of expertise and VNG International was raised; a draft was prepared for discussion.

Open Society Institute

The Open Society Institute (Budapest) has provided funding for the implementation of a Leadership Benchmark module in Albania. It is hoped that it will renew its contribution for the launch of a 2nd Round of the Programme in 2009.

After the very successful co-operation in the development and implementation of the tool on Financial Management Benchmarking in 2007, in 2008-2009 OSI is associated to the work initiated by the Council of Europe and UNDP on the development of a new Toolkit on Inter-municipal Co-operation.

KS

KS (Norwegian Association of Local Authorities) which financed (from funds contributed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) the development of some training as well as strategic and emergency planning activities in Georgia.

USAID

In January 2008, CoE established close co-operation with the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) mission in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. Namely, the USAID funded the project “Local Government Activity”. ZELS and the Council of Europe mutually agreed to the joint implementation of the Best Practice Programme. The USAID financially reinforced the Programme with the amount of €40.000, and committed to:

      · Contribute to the start up and launching the Best Practices Programme 2008;
      · Provide technical and financial support for two information meetings with the units of the local self-government;
      · Offer technical and financial support for the selection and formal announcement of the best practices – official ceremony;
      · Contribute with technical and financial support for the design and update the Best Practices database on ZELS web page;
      · Participate and contribute to the evaluation conference of the Project.

CNFPT and FCI

The French Centre National de la Fonction Publique Territoriale (CNFPT), France Coopération Internationale (FCI), the French Ministry of Foreign And European Affairs and the Centre of Expertise co-organised the Forum for training local authorities against the background of the “First regional meetings of transfrontier co-operation, sustainable developed and decentralised co-operation in the Balkans (3-4 July, Sofia). A preparatory meeting was held in Strasbourg in June.

A discussion is engaged on a possible partnership between the Council of Europe, FCI and CNFPT in the field of local democracy and in particular on training territorial authorities. Working meetings were held in Paris on 10 September in order to formulate concrete projects of co-operation in the field of capacity building for territorial authorities in 2009-2010.

The joint preparation, publication and implementation of a Toolkit on Human Resources Management was discussed and a general agreement of the three institutions was secured. A preliminary paper including ideas for further development was prepared. The formal development of this Toolkit should be launched in March/April and completed in September/October 2009.

Other co-operation projects, in particular in the framework of the training of elected and appointed representatives, have been discussed. The conclusion of a co-operation agreement between the Council of Europe DDI/DGDPA) and the CNFPT is being considered.

CNFPT and FCI took part in the Conference on “Towards Sustainable Training Systems” (25-26 September, Strasbourg), presented a case study on the situation of France and took part in the preparation of the final declaration.

Dexia Kommunalkredit (Hungary and Austria)

In 2008, the Centre established a good working relationship with Dexia Kommunalkredit Bank in Hungary. Dexia appreciated the Council of Europe’s programmes and is co-sponsoring, as well as taking active part in, the Council of Europe’s programmes implemented by  TÖOSZ.

Following the good co-operation in 2008, Dexia Kommunalkredit Bank in Hungary helped establish a contact for the Centre with their counterparts in Austria who would be willing to co-operate with the Council of Europe’s Centre of expertise in Austria.

The Centre is preparing to establish a similar link with Dexia Kommunalkredit Adriatic in 2009. Dexia Kommunalkredit Adriatic has started up its operations in Zagreb in the first quarter of 2008 and provides consultancy services in association with financing solutions for the public sector in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

In 2009, the Centre of Expertise could organise a meeting with key Dexia agencies in order to discuss co-operation. The meeting could take place in spring 2009 in Vienna.

OPPALE

The Centre of Expertise has also been closely involved in the creation of the French Observatory of Local Authorities’ Performance (OPPALE), set up in June 2007, at the initiative of the French Association of Finance, Management and Evaluation of Local Authorities (Afigese), the National Institute of Local Government Studies (INET) and the National Centre of Local Public Service (CNFPT). The Observatory aims at favouring exchanges of know-how and experience between French local authorities in the field of performance management and wishes to act as a resource centre on key topics of interests. It is composed of local government officials, elected representatives, experts and representatives of training institutes and universities. The Centre of Expertise is a member of the OPPALE Steering Committee and has also joined the Working Group on Definition and global approach to performance and strategic management together with the cities of Nantes, Paris, Grenoble and Bordeaux. In 2008, the Centre took an active part in several working groups and plenary meetings of the Observatory and has contributed to the drafting of a Manifesto on the French Approach to Performance Management. It also presented on those occasion the various existing European approaches to performance management, notably in UK and Norway.

INET

The Centre has developed close ties with the French National Institute of Local Government Studies (INET), based in Strasbourg, which trains the senior officials of French local authorities. A formal co-operation agreement was signed in May 2008. This agreement foresees the inclusion of a specific module on the capacity-building activities of the Centre of Expertise into the training programmes of the INET, regular visits by INET trainees to the Council of Europe, the production of joint publications on key topics of interest, the creation of a common expert database as well as the co-organisation of joint events.

A Joint Seminar on local democracy and Workshop in Strategic Management were respectively held on 14 May as well as on 9, 10, and 11 December at the Council of Europe Headquarters. Several groups of INET Students were also hosted at the Palais de l’Europe in the framework of a Training Programme entitled “Managing in complexity” and were introduced to the Centre’s tools as well as the various European approaches to performance management. 6 of such visits were organised and additional ones to be held in the framework of a programme focusing on citizens’ participation and the respective Centre’s tools are already planned in 2009.

ETS

Finally, representatives of the Centre of Expertise was also selected to organise one of the 26th Workshop on the 8th Edition of the “Entretiens Territoriaux de Strasbourg” (ETS), a National Forum, whose theme was “the enlargement of local authorities’ actions’, which took place on 3 and 4 December 2008 and gathered 1500 participants (elected representatives, state and local government officials, private companies and associations). The Centre’s workshop was entitled ““Performance management in Europe: panel of European experiences and possible synergies” and was co-organised with the Association of Finances, Evaluation and Management of French Local Authorities (Afigese).

AMF

Contacts have also been maintained with the Association of French Mayors (AMF) and the French Ministry of Budget, Public Accounts and Service, and notably its Department for service quality and certification and more especially with the Union of German Cities, whose representatives took part in part in April 2008, in an activity organised in Belgrade, Serbia, in the framework of the Performance Management Project implemented in co-operation with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM).

German cities should be involved in the 2nd Round of such a Project which will be launched in January 2009 in the framework of a new Joint Programme with the European Commission. The active participation of German municipalities to other capacity-building programmes activities of the Centre, notably in the field of citizen participation notably in South Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus, and/or the development of specific capacity-building programmes in Germany should also be discussed.

Within the specific programme of co-operation with the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic, KDZ (Zentrum für Verwaltungsforschung) – Centre for Public Administration Research in Vienna – is collaborating with the Centre of Expertise in organising a Study visit for representatives from the local authorities and Parliament of the Chechen Republic (1-5 December 2008).

Academy of Sustainable communities, UK

A European Workshop on Effective Local Leadership was organised on 24-25 April 2008 in Strasbourg with support from the Academy of Sustainable Communities in the UK. The workshop was attended by senior local government officials and elected representatives from Bulgaria, Hungary, Malta, Russia, as well as from international partner organisations (OSI-LGI, UN-HABITAT, etc). The Conference provided an opportunity to learn lessons from the CoE’s and other capacity-building initiatives in leadership and share best practice in local leadership development. The participants discussed new ‘Leadership’ concepts and programmes such as the “Leadership of place” concept and the “Leadership Academy” programme. The Conference also provided a platform for ideas and negotiations for continuing links with key partners (CoE, ASC, Solace International, OSI, St Petersburg Academy and others).

f. Relations with local stakeholders

All country-specific programmes are implemented with the help of local partners. Most often, these partners are associations of local authorities. In countries where these associations do not have the capacity to implement such programmes or where they have shown no interest but there is clear interest from other organisations, whether governmental or not, the Centre may team up with such partners for the implementation of these programmes. Specific information about the partners is represented within the description provided for each country-specific programme (see Appendix II).

APPENDIX V - List of abbreviations

AAM – Association of Albanian Municipalities: www.aam-al.org
Afigese: French Association of Finance-Management-Evaluation of local authorities (Association finances gestion evaluation des collectivités territoriales): www.afigese.asso.fr
ALDA: Association of Local Democracy Agencies: www.ldaaonline.org
AMF: Association of French Mayors (Association des Maires de France): www.amf.asso.fr
BPP : Best Practice Programme
CARDS : EU programme - Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation : www.cards-ipr.org
CDLR : European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy : www.coe.int/local
CEMR: Council of European Municipalities and Regions: www.ccre.org
CIS: Commonwealth of Independent States
CLEAR: Can do, Like to, Enabled to, Asked to, Responded to
CNFPT – French National Centre for Territorial Public Service (Centre National de la Fonction Publique Territoriale) : http://www.cnfpt.fr
CoE : Council of Europe : www.coe.int
EAR: European Agency for Reconstruction: www.ear.europa.eu
EC: European Commission: www.ec.europa.eu
ENTO: European Network of Training Organisations for local and regional authorities: www.ento.org
ETS – Strasbourg Territorial Debates (Entretiens Territoriaux de Strasbourg): http://inet-ets.net/
EUKN – European Urban Knowledge Network: www.eukn.org
EUROPA – Regular University Discussion for Administration in Europe (Entretiens Universitaires Réguliers pour l’Administration en Europe) : http://www.europaong.org/
FALA: Czech Fund of Assistance to Local Authorities
GTZ: German international co-operation organization for sustainable development: www.gtz.de
HR – Human Resources
INET – French National Institute for Territorial Studies (Institut National des Etudes Territoriales) : http://www.inet.cnfpt.fr
KDZ : Austrian Centre for Public Administration Research: www.kdz.or.at
KS: Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities: www.ks.no
LEED: Local Economic and Employment Development Programme: www.trento.oecd.org
LGA : Local Government Association
LGI: Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative: www.lgi.osi.hu
MOLICO: Project against corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing in the Republic of Moldova
NALAG: National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia
NALAS : Network of Associations of Local Authorities in South-East Europe : www.nalas.eu
NAMRB: National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria: www.namrb.org
NGO: Non-governmental organization
NTS : National Training Strategy
ILO: International Labour Organisation: www.ilo.org
JP: Joint Programme Council of Europe – European Commission
OECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: www.oecd.org
OPPALE: French Observatory of Local Authorities’ Performance (Observatoire de la Performance Publique dans l’Administration Locale)
OSCE –Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe: www.osce.org
OSI – Open Society Institute: www.soros.org
QeC-ERAN –Quartiers en Crise – European Regeneration Areas Network : www.quec-eran.org
SCTM: Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities in Serbia: www.skgo.org
SEE: South-East Europe
SNV: Netherlands Development Organisation: www.snvworld.org
SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
TALGA – Training Agency for Local Government in Albania
TCA : Georgian Training Co-operation Agency
TNA : Training Needs Analysis

TÖOSZ: Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities: www.toosz.hu
ToT : Training of Trainers
UNDP – United Nations Development Programme: www.undp.org
UPAC: Project against Corruption in Ukraine
URBACT: EU programme promoting co-operation between cities involved in URBAN programmes: www.urbact.eu
USAID – United States Agency for International Development: www.usaid.gov
VNG: Association of Netherlands Municipalities: www.vng.nl, www.vng-international.nl
ZELS: Macedonian Association of Local Self-Government Units: www.zels.org.mk

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.
Note 2 Decision taken on the recommendation of the 14th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government.
Note 3 All tools have an innovative element; some are completely new and developed on the basis of the Council of Europe acquis, some other take inspiration from existing practice but bring it to a new level and make it usable in any European context.
Note 4 Policy advice and assistance in drafting legislation is given upon request to member states, in the framework of the activities on democratic stability managed by another division in the same Directorate of Democratic Institutions i.e. the Division of Programmes for Democratic Stability.
Note 5 CLEAR is an acronym for : Can do, Like to, Enabled to, Asked to and Responded to.


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