Good governance

The 12 principles for good governance at local level, with tools for implementation 



Principle 1 - Fair Conduct of Elections, Representation and Participation 


Local elections are conducted freely and fairly, according to international standards and national legislation, and without any fraud.

Citizens are at the centre of public activity and they are involved in clearly defined ways in public life at local level.

  All men and women can have a voice in decision-making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate bodies that represent their interests. Such broad participation is built on the freedoms of expression, assembly and association.

All voices, including those of the less privileged and most vulnerable, are heard and taken into account in decision-making, including over the allocation of resources.

There is always an honest attempt to mediate between various legitimate interests and to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the whole community and on how this can be achieved.

Decisions are taken according to the will of the many, while the rights and legitimate interests of the few are respected.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

C.L.E.A.R Tool - A self-assessment tool for citizen participation at the local level

Modern Leadership for Modern Local Government



Principle 2 - Responsiveness


Objectives, rules, structures, and procedures are adapted to the legitimate expectations and needs of citizens.

Public services are delivered, and requests and complaints are responded to within a reasonable timeframe.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

Modern Leadership for Modern Local Government

Best practice in Local Government

ELoGE Benchmark



Principle 3 - Efficiency and Effectiveness


Results meet the agreed objectives.

Best possible use is made of the resources available.

Performance management systems make it possible to evaluate and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of services.

Audits are carried out at regular intervals to assess and improve performance.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

Performance management at local level



Principle 4 - Openness and Transparency


Decisions are taken and enforced in accordance with rules and regulations.

There is public access to all information which is not classified for well-specified reasons as provided for by law (such as the protection of privacy or ensuring the fairness of procurement procedures).

Information on decisions, implementation of policies and results is made available to the public in such a way as to enable it to effectively follow and contribute to the work of the local authority.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

Modern Leadership for Modern Local Government

Public ethics benchmark

Best practice in Local Government

ELoGE Benchmark



Principle 5 - Rule of Law


The local authorities abide by the law and judicial decisions.

Rules and regulations are adopted in accordance with procedures provided for by law and are enforced impartially.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

  ELoGE Benchmark



Principle 6 - Ethical Conduct


The public good is placed before individual interests.

There are effective measures to prevent and combat all forms of corruption.

Conflicts of interest are declared in a timely manner and persons involved must abstain from taking part in relevant decisions.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

Public ethics benchmark



Principle 7 - Competence and Capacity


The professional skills of those who deliver governance are continuously maintained and strengthened in order to improve their output and impact.

Public officials are motivated to continuously improve their performance.

Practical methods and procedures are created and used in order to transform skills into capacity and to produce better results.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

Modern and Effective Human Resources Management

 Modern Leadership for Modern Local Government



Principle 8 - Innovation and Openness to Change


New and efficient solutions to problems are sought and advantage is taken of modern methods of service provision.

There is readiness to pilot and experiment new programmes and to learn from the experience of others.

A climate favourable to change is created in the interest of achieving better results.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

Modern Leadership for Modern Local Government

Cross-border co-operation



Principle 9 - Sustainability and Long-term Orientation


The needs of future generations are taken into account in current policies.

The sustainability of the community is constantly taken into account.

Decisions strive to internalise all costs and not to transfer problems and tensions, be they environmental, structural, financial, economic or social, to future generations.

 There is a broad and long-term perspective on the future of the local community along with a sense of what is needed for such development.

There is an understanding of the historical, cultural and social complexities in which this perspective is grounded.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

Towards a modern Local Government Association

Best practice in Local Government



Principle 10 - Sound Financial Management


Charges do not exceed the cost of services provided and do not reduce demand excessively, particularly in the case of important public services.

Prudence is observed in financial management, including in the contracting and use of loans, in the estimation of resources, revenues and reserves, and in the use of exceptional revenue.

Multi-annual budget plans are prepared, with consultation of the public.

Risks are properly estimated and managed, including by the publication of consolidated accounts and, in the case of public-private partnerships, by sharing the risks realistically.

  The local authority takes part in arrangements for inter-municipal solidarity, fair sharing of burdens and benefits and reduction of risks (equalisation systems, inter- municipal co-operation, mutualisation of risks…).


Centre of Expertise Tools:

Local Finance Benchmark



Principle 11 - Human rights, Cultural Diversity and Social Cohesion


Within the local authority’s sphere of influence, human rights are respected, protected and implemented, and discrimination on any grounds is combated.

Cultural diversity is treated as an asset, and continuous efforts are made to ensure that all have a stake in the local community, identify with it and do not feel excluded.

Social cohesion and the integration of disadvantaged areas are promoted.

Access to essential services is preserved, in particular for the most disadvantaged sections of the population.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

  The intercultural index and benchmarking tool



Principle 12 - Accountability


  All decision-makers, collective and individual, take responsibility for their decisions.

  Decisions are reported on, explained and can be sanctioned.

  There are effective remedies against maladministration and against actions of local authorities which infringe civil rights.


Centre of Expertise Tools:

  Modern Leadership for Modern Local Government

  ELoGE Benchmark