The project „Improving access and quality of services to citizens – transparent, responsible and accountable local public administration” ,
Law enforcement and translating policy into practice remains a challenge in Romania. According to the National Strategy for Strengthening Public Administration 2014 – 2020, the main weaknesses / obstacles that hinder both government institutions, and the state as a whole, to fulfil their responsibilities effectively, but also to achieve proposed development objectives are: an inefficient and insufficiently transparent decision-making process, low transparency during the decision making process and, regarding its results, poor management of human resources in administration, excessive bureaucracy and reduced ability to provide public services.
The Association of Communes of Romania - ACoR, the Association of Local and Regional Authorities of Norway - KS and the Association of Municipalities of Romania - AMR implements the project „Improving access and quality of services to citizens – transparent, responsible and accountable local public administration”, code PNP002.
The project benefits from a 3.277.000 € grant from Norway.
The project runs from October 1th, 2019 to September 30, 2022.
The main aim of the project is to strengthen local government capacity in Romania by increasing its accountability and transparency and by raising the awareness regarding incompatibility and conflict of interest through an information center created during the project (e-TIC information center) and different type of guidelines, training and consultancy offered to the local authorities.
The initiative aims to act on four levels:
I. Transparent decision-makingat the local level through public consultation processes regarding the measures taken by the local government that affect them directly, and greater participation of citizens in community life through assimilation of basic concepts of civic culture;
II. Organizational ethicsassumed by decision makers in local government institutions through good practice examples from Norway and other Western European countries;
III. Incompatibilityfrom the legislative concepts to the implementation of the laws so that the number of elected officials and civil servants being subjects of such investigations to be reduced;
IV. Conflict of interestlegislative concepts explained especially given the time to avoid such situations in the early identification of emerging risks in the current activities of commune halls.
The specific objectives of the project:
A specific objective should be to strengthen capacities and understanding of 3300 representatives of local government units (800 from municipalities, 2000 from communes and 500 newly elected officials (mayors, vice-mayors and local councilors) to prevent the incompatibility situations and the conflict of interests, so that the number of elected officials and civil servants being subjects of such investigations to be reduced and the level of integrity is increased. Not last, the project should be also focused on developing the capacity of 2 associations of local authorities from Romania to promote the concept of integrity, accountability and transparency as a must for good governance at local and national level in Romania through setting up e-TIC information center, a team of 138 resource persons and using good practice examples from Norway, 20 trainers in the four areas, new instruments for capacity development identified and knowledge is transferred to CALM (Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova).
The specific objectives of the project are summarizing in the same time all the expected outcomes, being focused on increasing the awareness of local authorities representatives regarding integrity, transparency, conflict of interests, etc., by setting up a e-TIC information center able to provide updated information, but also able to be a warning system and consulting tool for as many ACoR and AMR members as possible.
The project offers a special opportunity to strengthen the bilateral relations between Romania and Norway, by developing exchanges of experience and promoting models of good practice in the fields: transparency, ethics, incompatibility and conflict of interests. Study visits will be organized in Norway.
The initiative will target different groups of people representing local public administration:
138 representatives of communes, municipalities, ACoR and AMR staffs, involved as resource persons (90 representatives of the Association of Communes of Romania and 48 representatives of the Association of Romanian Municipalities).
These persons are civil servants from city halls of communes and municipalities in Romania, local elected officials (mayors, vice-mayors, but also councilors) and staff of the 2 associations which should be in charge with the continuation of the project.
Some of them could be councilors of ethics, if nominated as such at the level of the city hall.
These 138 persons will pass a selection process in order to become trainers of the future training activities of the project.
The 20 selected persons will participate in a TOT and would be trained as trainers in order to be co-trainers or trainers, on the 4 project domains, of future training events of the project, together with the experts involved in the project.
The whole group of 138 persons will become the resource persons of the associations in the territory in this field of activity and should represent all the development regions in Romania.
2,800 representatives of Romanian communes and municipalities, 2,000 from communes (1,000 local elected officials and 1,000 civil servants or other members of the communes executive staff) and 800 from municipalities (executive staff, civil servants, administrative and professional staff at local government level and local elected officials);
2000 communes’ representatives (mayors, vice-mayors, local councilors and civil servants or other kind of employees in city halls) should attend one of the 80 training events organized by ACoR at the level of the county. They should represent all the counties in the country;
800 municipalities’ representatives should participate in one of the 41 events organized by AMR at the local level;
500 newly elected officials (mayors, deputy mayors and local councilors) will also be trained, after the local elections in June 2020;
200 representatives of 5 communes and 3 municipalities - newly elected officials, together with the heads of departments from the city halls - would be part of the 8 pilots organized by ACoR (5) and AMR (3). The pilots would consist of a training session organized in the city hall for all the council as part of the training program for newly elected officials, with representatives of the city council, with the mayor, the vice-mayor and with the heads of the public services. The scope of these pilots is not only to transmit the knowledge, like for the other 300 newly elected officials, but also to try to create an working environment in the city hall, to explain to newly elected officials which are their tasks and to create a climate of trust between the participants;
30 representatives of local authorities from Republic Moldova participants at a workshop for disseminating project guidelines, materials and promote the facilities offered by the e-TIC information center developed in the project (help desk, real time warning system, guidelines, services offered to Romanian local authorities etc.).
Analysis of the difficulties encountered at the local level regarding the application of the legislation in the field of conflicts of interests and incompatibilities.
The process of evaluating the difficulties caused by the legislation in the mentioned fields will be carried out through a questionnaire that will be addressed to the representatives of the municipalities and communes in Romania.
Development of the Team of resource persons and the Team of trainers.
The experts of the two Romanian partners (AcoR and AMR) together with the KS specialists will develop a training material, based on the results of the needs assessment process and the existing legislation.
Organizing 6 training events for these 138 persons.
6 training events for the team of resource persons would be organized in Romania in order to become project promoters in the territory. 4 training events will be organized by ACoR and 2 by AMR for these 138 persons in the 4 initiative aims presented above.
Organizing the 3 study visits in Norway.
The events provide the opportunity for the 70 people to contact the local government in Norway and to benefit from the Norwegian expertise on the four areas covered by the project.
Selection of 20 persons willing to be part of the Team of trainers.
20 people would be selected (based on their involvement in the trainings and the study visits and on their willing to be involved in the series of 121 training events) to attend the TOT and to form the team of trainers.
Development of guidelines to be used as information and support materials by all city halls representatives in their activity.
Following the first series of trainings, the study visits and the TOT and based on Norway experience, there will be developed the guidelines / handbook on: - transparency and ethics – focused on transparency at local level, on ethics of the civil servants and local elected people and on how to promote these concepts at the level of local authorities – communes and municipalities.
A summary of the guidelines should become a brochure called „Protect your municipality, protect yourself!“
Development of trainings for 2,800 representatives from local level from each county with the support of the experts and the resource persons, in the 4 above mentioned domains (2,000 representatives from communes and 800 representatives from municipalities);
Development of the e-TIC information center for local elected officials and civil servants from local authorities.
The e-TIC information center will include all the materials produced in the project and also related to the projects subjects and other services like online Helpdesk, real time warning system, etc), but also will act as consulting tool for as many as possible ACoR and AMR members.
In the same time, on the information center, there will be created an online helpdesk, where all the interested local authorities’ representatives can upload questions about their specific issues. Also, a real time warning system by SMS will be used for announcing the ACoR and AMR members about new law modifications, etc.
Development of trainings for new elected officials (mayors, vice-mayors and elected officials) after June 2020 – around 500 persons;
Implementation of the Guide for the newly elected local;
Organizing 12 training sessions for the newly elected local, 8 by the ACoR and 4 by the AMR;
Organization of the pilot initiative in 5 communes and 3 municipalities.
Develop the new legislation or legislation implementation framework;
ACoR and AMR capacity development and best practices transfer to other non-EU countries (Republic of Moldova).
To increase the transparency of the administrative acts and the integrity and accountability of the local elected officials and public servants
Increasing the awareness of local authorities representatives regarding integrity, transparency, conflict of interests, etc., by setting up a e-TIC information center able to provide updated information, but also able to be a warning system and consulting tool for as many ACoR and AMR members as possible;
Strengthening capacities and understanding of 3300 representatives of local government units (800 from municipalities, 2000 from communes and 500 newly elected officials (mayors, vice-mayors and local councilors from communes) to prevent the incompatibility situations and the conflict of interests, so that the number of elected officials and civil servants being subjects of such investigations to be reduced and the level of integrity is increased;
Developing the capacity of 2 associations of local authorities from Romania to promote the concept of integrity, accountability and transparency as a must for good governance at local and national level in Romania through setting up e-TIC information center, a team of 138 resource persons and using good practice examples from Norway, 20 trainers in the four areas, new instruments for capacity development are identified, knowledge is transferred to CALM.
Association of Communes of Romania - project promoter
The Association of Communes of Romania (ACoR) is a non-governmental organization created in 1997, as an association of local authorities, having as members’ communes from Romania. Nowadays, the association has 1700 communes as members out of the 2861 communes in Romania, from all the Romanian counties. The Association has been recognized as having public utility through Government Decision no. 156 from the 13th of February 2008. The Association has also 40 County Branches that are legally established.
The Association of Communes of Romania seeks to represent in a unitary manner the interests of its members interacting with Romanian central public administration authorities, as well as with European and other international organizations. The association is a full member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR/CCRE), a full member of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and it is also a member of the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS).
Among the objectives stated in the statute of the Association, we can specify the following: harmonizing the interests of member communes for their unbiased social and economic development; promoting means of cooperation and common aid for the member communes in any of the administrative, economical, financial, social, cultural and institutional domains; creating and maintaining an integrated informational system, as well as organizing of several corps of specialists capable of analysing and offering solutions for communes problems solving issues; organizing activities of training for the elected officials, for civil servants, and for contractual based employees from local public administration at member communes level.
The main activities undertaken by ACoR are related to active participation at modifying the legal framework for enlarging the local autonomy, decentralization of competencies and for modernizing local public administration in accordance with standards from other European member states. ACoR is preoccupied to train personnel from local public administration by organizing training courses for locally elected persons and civil servants.
ACoR's structure comprises of 41 county branches (out of which 39 are legal entities) that reunite in a governing body called the Steering Committee. In addition, each year, ACoR organizes an ordinary session of its General Assembly attended by over 500 mayors from across the country.
Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS ) - partner 1
The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities [KS] (Donor Project Partner) is the only employers’ association and interest organization for municipalities, counties and local public enterprises in Norway. The association was founded in 1972 as a result of an amalgamation of The Union of Norwegian Cities (founded in 1903) and the Norwegian Association of Rural Municipalities (founded in 1923). All of the 426 municipalities and 19 counties are members, as well as approximately 500 public enterprises. KS advocates the interests of its members towards central government, the Parliament, labor organizations and other organizations; advises and informs the members about all matters and developments of importance to local government; facilitates exchange of experience between its members; conducts the central collective bargaining on behalf of its members.
The Main objectives of KS are to be a unifying policy and employer organization for local government; strengthen the members as competent and reliable employers; achieve increased freedom of action and better basic conditions for different groups of members; contribute to alternative organization models and working methods which promote quality, efficiency and citizen participation. KS has extensive international cooperation, and is a member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions-CEMR. Under the EEA Grants 2009-14 KS is a Donor Program Partner with 5 beneficiary states, and a Donor Partner in 17 projects.
Romanian Association of Municipalities (AMR) - partner 2
The Romanian Association of Municipalities - AMR has a history of 27 years and it is a private legal entity with no patrimonial, non-governmental and apolitical purpose set up to promote and protect the common interests of the local public administration authorities in solving and managing the public needs in the name and interest of local communities. At present, AMR includes all 103 municipalities in Romania, as well as the 6 sectors of Bucharest Municipality, representing 109 members, about 10.5 million inhabitants.
AMR represents the interests of members at national and international level, stimulates and supports municipal initiatives and actions, provides advice and supports their efforts in the general approach of alignment with the European standards. AMR provides the municipalities with the opportunity to be actively involved in the legislative process, ensuring that the views and needs of the local authorities are respected.