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Frontpage News 2009 Awards for improved public services in Poland

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Awards for improved public services in Poland

In a festive ceremony in the Polish Senate, 15 cities and municipalities were recently given awards for great improvements in their services to citizens. The awards were part of an EEA and Norway Grants project to share best practices among hundreds of Polish local and regional authorities.

Good cheer was all around the upper house of the Polish Parliament on 23 June, as the best performing cities and municipalities of the competition were celebrated. Representatives from the 70 cities and municipalities taking part in the competition had gathered in Warsaw to attend the ceremony and share their experiences with participating in the project. Held for the second year running, the competition focussed on social, educational and cultural services, rewarding cities and municipalities who have offered particularly innovative and high-quality services to citizens.

Awards were given within four different categories depending on the size of the entity, all with regard to criteria of innovativeness, effectiveness, cost efficiency, reliability and integration into the overall management system. Pictured above is Mayor Marian Buras, who with great enthusiasm accepted the prize on behalf of the municipality of Morawica. The municipality received the prize for its restructuring of local schools and transferring them to parents` organisations.

Improving services for the elderly
Among the winners in the competition was the city of Sochaczew, where the life quality of the elderly has been improved thanks to the coordination of municipal services and voluntary organisations in the project "The elderly are not alone". Other projects receiving plaudits include efforts to improve conditions for socially excluded families in the rural municipality of Zabierzow, and the city of Płonsk for an initiative to collect and present historical documents of the local area.

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In the project, local and regional authorities seek to improve their services to citizens through mutual learning and sharing of best practices. The €3.3 million project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of local government in Poland, in order to facilitate a more effective and transparent form of governance that enjoys a high level of public trust. The project is carried out in partnership with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, and an important element is the transfer of knowledge between Norwegian local authorities and their Polish counterparts. The award winners will go on study trips to Norway, to gain firsthand experience from Norwegian best practice within the fields of social services, culture and education.