- Courtesy of The Hunger Project
Local government planning serves as an integral part of ensuring effective government service delivery. In some countries, the inability to adequately plan on the local level has lead to an inability of local governments to carry out beneficial community projects. Whether providing water, electricity, schooling, health care, or more long-term issues of adaptation and disaster preparedness, planning is necessary to ensure that community members receive essential services.
Planning, especially strategic or long-term planning, does not simply mean understanding how to plan. In order to be most effective, adequate planning takes time, effort, and a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand. Local governments must provide a variety of important aspects to ensure the delivery of long-term planning services. A government’s ability to have adequate time to fully plan and complete a project has been identified in consultations around the world as a limiting factor for local governments. Similarly, a lack of decent demographic data further limits the ability of local governments to plan ahead. Whether among local employees or elected officials, a government’s human resources capabilities is another key to long-term planning, an issue repeated discussed in the literature.
Furthermore, government planning is not simply an action local governments take after projects prove effective in the long term. Citizens must be allowed to participate, not simply as a form of placation, but as equal partners in the government’s decision-making planning process. Therefore, we must measure a government’s resources alongside it’s deliberative process with community members.
Additionally, the effectiveness of participatory community meetings exists as another important factor. Good facilitation enables citizens to overcome both the incentive gap (i.e. individuals with fewer resources face greater cost burdens) and the power gaps (i.e. dominating groups use participation to advance their own personal interests).
Whether planning of the budget, implementing service delivery, or developing disaster preparedness techniques, government planning must integrate ideas from both local government officials and community members in order to ensure the most effective results.