2017 Summer school: looking at “good governance” from different perspectives

Good governance” was the main topic of the summer school held in Sofia (Bulgaria) on 12-13 July 2017 and organized by the National Association of Municipal Clerks in Bulgaria (www.namcb-org.bg) with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation (www.hss.de). Presentations from participants not only offered the opportunity to better define key-issues such as transparency, local government reforms, leadership styles, change management, but also to suggest new perspectives and critical thinking about what is going on.

John Jackson, introduced the topic with a presentation on the relation between leadership and good governance. John is a long-time friend of summer schools: he took part to many editions and he introduced different aspects dealt in the “Leadership Academy Program” promoted by the Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reforms within the Council of Europe.

Gilberto Marzano, from the Rezekne University of Applied Sciences (Latvia), introduced the topic of social innovation and underlined the importance of ICT literacy as condition for social inclusion in his presentation on “New challenges for social services”. Social innovation was also the main topic in Wojciech Duranowski’s speech, which offered an overlook on how it is declined in Poland.

Luis Cembellin is presently working in the Province of Malaga (Spain) and he is associated professor in the local university. He illustrated how the Province promoted innovation and good governance in local municipalities using a benchmarking tool. Indicators and specific measures were implied in order to asses “good governance” and to influence priority setting in local municipality with regards to internal organization and management. A similar initiative has been also promoted in Bulgaria by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, as Mrs Stanislava Atanasova showed clearly. The methodology used is ELOGE, the European Label of Governance Excellence promoted by the Council of Europe.

Different case studies about local government reforms in many European countries were presented during the summer school: Albania, by Mirsa Titka; Belgium, by Pierre Petit; France, by Jean Paul Plassard; Georgia, by Giorgi Meskhidze and Nino Dolidze; Lithuania, by Ana Krivenokienè; Switzerland, by Paolo Crugnola. All cases showed common trends (e.g. amalgamation of municipalities) and offered the opportunity to discuss cutting-edge issues connected with such trends. As an example: how is the relation between citizens and local governments changing?

A special thank goes to Valentin Lazarov from the National Association of Municipal Clerks in Bulgaria (NAMCB): he has perfectly organized the event and he has assured a very warm welcome to all participants in Sofia.

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