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Frontpage News 2012 Improving public services

PL0040 Joint efforts.JPG

Joint efforts to improve public services in Poland

  • In Poland, 1500 local government employees participate in a nationwide effort to increase the efficiency and transparency of public services.

    In Poland, public finances are highly decentralised. Local governments account for one third of total public expenditures and carry out 67 percent of all investments in the public sector. Polish local and regional authorities are now seeking to improve their services to citizens through mutual learning and sharing of best practices. The project is carried out in partnership with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS).

    "This is a project for ambitious local government staff", says Tomasz Potkański, Deputy Executive Director of the Association of Polish Cities. He continues: "The project is built on two assumptions: professionals learn best from other professionals and in order to improve the quality of services they have to be carefully measured".

    Learning from one another
    Over the course of four years, local government employees from all over Poland will come together to share experiences and participate in training schemes. So far, 720 civil servants from more than 300 local government units have participated in services management training and efficiency networks or experience sharing groups are in place.

    An important part of the project is the transfer of knowledge between Norwegian local authorities and their Polish counterparts. The new efficiency networks model is based on a model for sharing ideas and information between municipalities, which was developed by the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities in cooperation with more than half of all local authorities in Norway. In addition, more than 1000 Polish local government employees will participate in study visits to or do traineeships in Norway.

    The contacts established in this way can lead to further cooperation in the future, as is the case with the municipalities of Sochaczew, Poland, and Ullensaker, Norway. Deputy Mayor of Sochaczew, Jerzy Żelichowski, says his municipality would like to continue the cooperation: "Among other things we hope to draw on their experiences from the development of Oslo Airport at Gardermoen in Ullensaker. In Sochaczew we have an old disused military airport which we hope to develop into a modern civilian one".

    Transparency and accountability
    The local government project also includes annual competitions among municipalities for the most efficient public services, a good practices database, and a benchmarking system for public services, which will enable local government employees, citizens and media to compare their own local government’s use of resources and quality of services delivery compared to other local governments.

    Photo: Association of Polish Cities (APC).

  • Country:


    Project title:

    Building institutional capacity of local government units for better delivery of public services

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Human resource development


    € 2 853 000



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual project

    Project promoter:

    The Association of Polish Cities

    Project duration:

    51 months

    Project cost:

    € 3,356,481

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    Norway Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    20 March 2007

    The purpose of the Project is to strengthen the institutional capacity of Polish local government units by creating a system that supports management improvements and by delivery of direct training, with the overall objective of making Polish local government more effective and transparent, improving public services delivery, and strengthening the public trust in local government institutions. Reference is made to the application, dated 28 March 2006.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - Creation of a benchmarking system for public services in local government.

    - Implementation of a benchlearning system that utilises benchmarking data, best practices and is supported by focused training.

    - Development of a system to identify and disseminate best practices, building on a culture of innovation in public services management.

    The Project Promoter is the Association of Polish Cities. The Project will be implemented in partnership with the Association of Polish Poviats (Counties), the Association of Rural Municipalities, and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS).

    The Project Promoter shall contribute at least 15 percent of the estimated eligible project cost.