Good governance

Workshop B

B: Doing more with less: promoting efficiency

The Ministerial Conference concluded that the squeeze on local budgets was likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and that local governments would be challenged to find long-term ways of making resources go further in the delivery of public services.

A number of contemporary approaches to increasing efficiency were identified at Utrecht, and experience in their application will be discussed by the workshop. These include:

  Benchmarking, performance audit, value-for-money review, performance budgeting, etc. How widely are such processes used? How sensitive are they to exogenous differences in needs and costs? How and to what extent do they succeed in attracting local officials?

  Outsourcing. Is the crisis leading to an increase in contracting private sector provision of public services? Have cost savings been achieved, and if so, through competition or economies of scale? How can transparency be ensured? Can the advantages of competition for the initial award of contracts be safeguarded against subsequent erosion when service specifications require amendment?

  Territorial reorganisation. Has there been any acceleration of territorial amalgamation or inter-municipal co-operation?

  Are there significant differences between types of local government in the adoption of contemporary approaches? Which types act as leaders of change?

Presentations and accompanying texts

The City of Reyjavik's action plan - presentation by Hanna Birna Krijnsdttir, President of the City Council of Reyjavik

People at the heart of local democracy - presentation by Susanne Caarls, Council of Europe

- Accompanying paper

Cost reduction - the Danish experience - presentation by Peter Gorm Hansen, CEO of Local Government Denmark

Seeking for cost reduction as local government answer for economic downturn - presentation by Pawel Swianiewicz, Chair of the Department of Local Development and Policy, University of Warsaw

The UK experience - mostly England - presentation by Tony Travers, London School of Economics