UDITE AND COUNCIL OF EUROPE LAUNCH EUROPEAN LABEL OF GOVERNANCE EXCELLENCE WITH PORTUGUESE MUNICIPALITIES
The Mayor of Loulé, Vitor Aleixo, the President of ATAM - the Portuguese Association of Local Administration Workers, Francisco Aveira Correia and the President of UDITE, Paul Gatt were joined by Alina Tatarenko the Head of the Centre of Expertise from the Council of Europe to open the workshop.
Speaking from Malta, Paul Gatt thanked Ronny Frederickx and Dália Paulo, the Director of Loulé Municipality for their support and commitment in taking today’s initiative. He thanked Alina and her colleagues at the Council of Europe Centre for Expertise for placing their trust in UDITE throughout the process so far.
Paul spoke of his experience in taking his municipality in Naxxar in
Malta through the same process a few years earlier. He
said “Through this process you will notice that this is a
process of culture change, it is the way forward in the way we
should be conducting our business. We cannot cut corners and we
must be strict even with our elected representatives. This is not
just an exercise to be awarded the label and continue with the old
habits it is a new way of governance that benefits the communities
Paul underlined that as President of UDITE he was proud to be providing the Portuguese municipalities with this opportunity. He encouraged participants not to be discouraged by the hard work involved and encouraged the municipal colleagues to work together and overcome any difficulties. He underlined the importance of cooperating together through a process of mutual learning and that the process is not a competition between one municipality and another but an opportunity to help each other to achieve this prestigious label.
Participants discussed today how the ELoGE evaluation process would
work. Participants were keen to learn about how the indicators and
scoring would work in practice. They discussed how to conduct the
self-evaluation process against the established ELoGE
benchmarks involving surveys of views of local citizens and
neighbouring local authorities.
Pictured are representatives of the 14 Portuguese Municipalities who met in Loulé with UDITE Executive Director, Ronny Frederickx and Maria Da Glória Sarmento, the Portugese expert who will lead the evaluation with the 14 municipalities.
Paul reminded the participating Portuguese municipalities of how the process can be challenging at times and urged everyone to plan the process well. Most of all, and showing off the Council of ELoGE award given to Naxaar a few years ago, Paul underlined how proud the Naxxar administration was to have secured such an international recognition to its process of continually improving local governance. The award serves as a constant reminder not to deviate from these important principles.
Those awarded the prestigious label of ELoGE Municipalities are those who would have demonstrated compliance with the 12 Principles of Good Democratic Governance
UDITE was delighted by the turn out today which was clear evidence of the commitment our Portuguese colleagues have for achieving these international standards.
The ELoGE process enables all local authorities to raise awareness of good governance, identify main areas for improvement and learn from each other.
The Council of Europe's European Stakeholder Platform for the Strategy on Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level has agreed to accredit UDITE to implement the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) in Portugal up until 30th June 2022.
Back in March 2016, the Centre for Expertise of the Council of
Europe, informed UDiTE of its Strategy on Innovation and Good
Governance at local level.
The European Label of Governance’ Excellence (ELoGE) is awarded to local authorities having achieved a high overall level of good governance measured against the relevant benchmark. ELoGE is symbolised by a crystal dodecahedron engraved with the 12 Principles. The Label is awarded by a national or regional Stakeholders’ Platform to local authorities which demonstrate respect of the 12 Principles. This Platform needs to be accredited by the Stakeholders’ Platform of the Council of Europe.
Local authorities who wish to apply for the Label are evaluated according to the following tools: a benchmark, a survey of citizens, and a survey of local elected representatives.
The evaluation allows local authorities to understand their strengths and their weaknesses when providing public services to the local community and exercising public authority. To improve the quality of local governance, local authorities can use various tools developed by the Centre of Expertise and take inspiration from their colleagues’ best practices.
Since then a first phase of implementation saw local authorities from
Watermael-Boitsfort (Belgium), Fleury-les-Aubrais and Metz (France),
Cork and Limerick (Ireland), Naxxar and Qormi (Malta), Pombal, Agueda,
Valongo, Sintra and Ponte da Barca (Portugal) and Madrid, Barcelona
and Parets del Valles (Spain) join the UDITE accredited scheme.
Now in this new second phase, a new pilot project on "Good Governance" will be launched in 2020/2021 which will involve the focus shifting to Portuguese municipalities. A call to participate in the self-assessment exercise that could eventually lead to the ELoGE (European Label of Governance Excellence) award will be launched in late 2020 by UDITE and ATAM who will lead this project.