Ministers’ Deputies
Notes on the Agenda

CM/Notes/994/10.1 20 April 20071
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994 Meeting, 2 May 2007
10 Legal questions


10.1 Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform -

1st annual activity report

Reference document
CM(2007)31

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Action

To take note of the 1st annual activity report of the Centre of Expertise, as it appears in document CM(2007)31

1. The Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform was created at the beginning of 2006 following a decision of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government, as one of the measures to “implement the Agenda for delivering good local and regional governance, adopted at the 14th session of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for local and regional government (Budapest, 24-25 February 2005), by promoting standards and good practices and by assisting member states with capacity-building at the local and regional level, in close cooperation with the Congress”.

2. The Deputies expressed the wish to be regularly informed of the activity and progress of this new structure of the Secretariat. Document CM(2007)31 therefore sets out the first annual activity report prepared by the Centre of Expertise.

3. The Centre of Expertise develops template programmes (“tools”) aiming at improving, in the short-to-medium term, the capacity of local authorities to deal with their tasks and helps committed local authorities to adapt these tools to their needs and to implement them. In 2006, the Centre developed a new Toolkit on Reforming a Local Government Association, a new tool on Benchmarking and Improving Public Ethics at Local Level and a first draft of a series of Benchmarks on Local Finance. It assisted local authorities in 12 countries with the implementation of various phases of around 25 programmes. The small operational budget of the Centre of Expertise was supplemented by funds provided by the European Commission and the European Agency for Reconstruction, the Open Society Institute as well as Switzerland, Japan, Liechtenstein and Moldova.

4. At its meeting on 14 February 2007, the Advisory Board of the Centre2 was invited to comment on the annual activity report. It considered that, despite the fact that in 2006 the Centre of Expertise had worked with a very limited budget and with a de facto reduction in its staff, the range of its activity was very impressive and its achievements could be assessed as excellent.

5. The Advisory Board invited the Committee of Ministers to take its views (see pages 3-4 of the Activity Report) into account when discussing and approving the future budgets of the Organisation, with a view to supporting the Centre with an adequate level of appropriations.

6. The examination of the annual activity report of the Centre of Expertise may provide the Deputies with the opportunity to draw conclusions in respect of the results of the Centre in its first year of operation and to orient its activity for the future.

7. It is recalled that this item was on the agenda of the 993rd Deputies meeting on 11 April 2007 and that the item was introduced by the Director of Co-operation for local and regional democracy. Lack of time prevented a decision and the Deputies agreed to resume consideration of the item at their 994th meeting (2 May 2007). One delegation distributed a document containing two proposals for amendments to the draft decisions which have been incorporated into the draft decisions (in bold). The delegation gave the following clarification:
“In the Notes on the agenda, under item 6 the following elements for further reflection are mentioned:
6. The examination of the annual activity report of the Centre of Expertise may provide the Deputies with the opportunity to draw conclusions in respect of the results of the Centre in its first year of operation and to orient its activity for the future.

The Netherlands would welcome such an undertaking. In the light of the Third Summit we suggest that this exercise should not be limited to sessions of the Deputies, as is the result of the proposed action, but that the Deputies should also invite political bodies of the Council of Europe (PACE and Congress) for further reflection and should include mentioning the CDLR as the relevant intergovernmental steering committee. Dependent on what the results are, members of the Advisory Board, then, could benefit from any suggestions that are of use for the work of the Centre.”

Financing assured: YES

DRAFT DECISIONS

994th meeting – 2 May 2007

Item 10.1

Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform –
1st annual activity report
(CM(2007)31)

Decisions

“The Deputies

1 took note of the 1st annual activity report of the Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform, as it appears in document CM(2007)31;

2. agreed to forward the 1st annual activity report to the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in order for them to take note of the results of the Centre and to consider providing the Deputies with suggestions for further orientation of the Centre’s activities for the future;

3. agreed to forward the report to the Steering Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR) for information;

4. agreed to bear in mind the remarks of the Advisory Board when deciding the 2008 budgetary appropriations for the Centre”.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set out in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

2 The Advisory Board of the Centre of Expertise was set up to promote co-operation between the Secretariat, CDLR and Congress and to provide advice to the Centre. The members of the Advisory Board are representatives of the Steering Committee on Legal and Regional Democracy (CDLR) and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (Congress), together with the Director of Co-operation for Local and Regional Democracy and the Chief Executive of the Congress. The Advisory Board met twice in 2006 and once in 2007.



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