Local Governance Assessments

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)’s Decentralization and Local Governance Network (dlgn) published the paper “Local Governance Assessments: A Capitalization of SDC Experience” in February 2011 to offer guidance on conducting Local Government Assessment (LGA)s in the future. The purpose of the paper is part of the broader Learning Project on Local Governance Assessments, and the main findings were discussed at the Face to Face workshop of the dlgn members to be held in Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia, in March 2011.

The paper features five case studies which relate to a particular LGA tool developed by different organizations and institutions.

1. Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

This is a self-assessment tool for local public administrations focusing on the functioning of administration and citizen-oriented public service delivery in line with the 9 pre-defined good governance principles:

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CAF is a standardized and low-cost tool already applied in many European Union and transition countries, so replication potential is high.

2. Local Governance Barometer (LGB)

LGB was developed in 2006 to describe, analyze, and understand local governance situations. The LGB model introduces 22 assessment sub-criteria grouped under five main criteria of good governance: effectiveness, transparency and rule of low, accountability, participation, and equity, then these specific indicators are to be adapted to specific local contexts. The method of assessment consists of separate focus group discussions. The LGB has been applied in more than 10 African countries.

3. Local Governance Self Assessment (LGSA)

The LGSA was first conducted in 2007 and since then has been constantly further developed on bi-annual basis. The assessment is conducted as a public meeting, and questions based on a rating system are discussed in separate groups to decide six priorities for improvements.

LSFA photoThe tool is particularly for rural areas facing extreme poverty and for the lowest government level. Special emphasis is put on participation and involvement of marginalized groups including women, poor people, and ethnic minorities.

The LGSA has high potential for replication and transferability due to the user friendly and low cost methodology. The questions and methodology can easily be adjusted to another context.

4. SIRDEM (Municipal Performance Assessment Tool)

The tool was first developed in 2005 to assess the performance of municipalities in Nicaragua. Its methodology implies the collection of municipal information (self-assessment) and interviews with municipal officials. It proposes a wide spectrum of indicators along 11 thematic clusters: administrative and financial management, municipal services, municipal planning, cadastre, civic participation, local economic development, environment, gender, municipal management, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and municipal investment policy. Municipalities are then ranked according to these criteria.

The tool has for the time being only been applied in Nicaragua. The exercise and its indicators would need to be adapted to the specificities of the target country.

5. Good Governance for Local Government (GOFORGOLD)

The model which has been applied for the first time in 2010 assesses the performance of sub-national governments along governance and context indicators that are organized along seven principles of good governance: Representation, Participation, Accountability, Transparency, Effectiveness, Equity, and Security. The tool is mainly a survey-based exercise aiming at collecting both facts and perceptions. The assessment relies on data collected indirectly through available reports, and data collected directly in the field through interviews and focus group discussions from both local government officials and members of the civil society.

The tool provides a simple method to extract key information about performance of subnational government units, and its methodology is easily replicable to be applied at all levels of governance.

Finally, the paper provides the chart which summarizes a rating how extensive 5 main dimensions of good governance were addressed by each LGA tool. The rating is done by the authors, based on their analysis of the tool and the case.

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You can download the report from here.

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