Smart governance and performance improvement of Latvian municipalities
Summary of project results
Local governments not always efficiently use their resources, often traditional solutions are used instead of analysis of facts. The aim of the project was to encourage leaders, politicians and staff of local governments to become more creative, to look for new approaches to problem-solving, to use experience of other local governments and support of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments (LALRG) in acquisition and analysis of the facts describing performance of local government. To attain this goal, the benchlearning system model for Latvian local governments was elaborated. The project has promoted qualitative changes in the governance of municipalities – it encouraged local governments to seek for their own specific advantages and select own methods to improve life standard in their territories making use of local circumstances and local human resources. Four thematic cooperation networks of local governments concluded their project work with elaboration of the final documents - 9 marketing strategies of local governments and 72 local sectoral development plans or service improvement plans elaborated by participating local governments themselves. The impact of the developed documents will be better assessed after their implementation, however, the questionnaire conducted in November 2016 in the pilot municipalities of the project showed increase of customers’ satisfaction with the quality of the municipal services already in 2016 compared to 2012. 51.98% of the respondents (762 persons out of 1466) acknowledged that they were satisfied with the service quality and that quality has improved. The satisfaction increase over the given period of time is influenced by a number of factors, including the implemented project which provided for systematic inter-municipal experience exchange and application of benchlearning method in the development of service improvement documents in each individual local government. Equally important result of the project is the developed benchmarking database – benchlearning information system BLIS. As the database was elaborated only in the final stage of the project, it will be more intensively used only after the project implementation period. The database will accumulate data on the performance of local governments, performance indicators, experience descriptions, results of scientific researches pertaining local governments and other information facilitating smarter local governance.
It was important to have continuous cooperation with donor partner the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) in the project as it helped not to invent bicycle anew. It ensured opportunity to get acquainted with tested solution for comparable challenges, to asses them and apply in a modified manner in accordance with our own needs and local situation. KS provided Latvian partners with consultations throughout the elaboration of the Latvian benchlearning model –introduced Norwegian benchlearning methodology, acquainted with the best practice examples in Norway and Poland and supported Latvian municipalities in their efforts introducing benchlearning system in Latvia. The number of planned experience and knowledge exchange events between Latvian and Norwegian organizations were considerably surpassed – instead of three planned events there were eleven events organized on a wide range of issues – efficiency networks of local governments, social care, education, strategic city image building, accommodating and integrating refugees and asylum seekers etc. Bilateral relations developed in synergy of project level and Bilateral Fund activities: 1. A Bilateral fund financed study visit to Oslo and Gjøvik regarding reception, settlement and integration of asylum seekers. Experience and information exchange continued within the project visit of representatives of Gjøvik refugee centre to Latvia. 2. A Bilateral fund financed study visit of Daugavpils delegation to Trondheim to explore potential areas of cooperation between the institutions of both cities. During the visit two letters of intent were signed. Discussions on the implementation of the signed letters of intent continued within the project. Three strategic partnerships were established by signing Letters of Intent on cooperation, experience exchange and transfer of knowledge: - LALRG and KS on development of cooperation after the implementation of the project (intermunicipal cooperation; reception and integration of refugees; development cooperation projects). - Trondheim Museum of Art and Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre (art and culture fields); - Trondheim Science Centre and Science Centre ZINOO Daugavpils (science and education fields).
The information on this page has been provided by the programme operator.