Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform


The Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform is the Council of Europe operational arm in the field of multi-level governance, supporting central, regional and local authorities to improve their regulations, institutions, action and capacity. It was created at the request of European governments[1] to help local authorities throughout Europe to improve their institutional capacity and performance in delivering services and exercising public authority.

The Centre is widely recognised for the quality and modernity of its programmes, for its impact orientation and for the success of its approach. It pioneers an innovative business model for capacity-building in local authorities, which incorporates highly effective and impact-oriented programmes and draws on the very best of European experience in order to develop effective democratic local government.

Through legal assistance programmes, it has supported all central and eastern European countries in their efforts to decentralise and, through capacity-building programmes, to reinforce the institutional capacity of their local authorities thus improving the quality of local and regional governance. It has also offered assistance to local authorities in several Western and Nordic countries. Currently 32 full programmes are being implemented across 20 countries.

The European Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level (the "Strategy") is another important initiative of the Centre. It sets out 12 European Principles of Good Democratic Governance offering guidance to public authorities for a co-ordinated approach to improving the quality of local governance. To date, several countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Norway, and Ukraine) have adopted the Strategy and more (Bulgaria and Norway) have obtained accreditation for delivering the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE). More recently, Austria applied for accreditation, the Veneto Region in Italy is adapting the strategy to the regional context and the associations of local authorities in Spain, Portugal, and Greece expressed their interest in applying.The new capacity-building project in Malta includes implementation of ELoGE.

The Centre has a pool of capacity-building experts and capacity-building tools and programmes which it introduces to member States at their request. It works closely with local government ministries, national associations of local authorities, professional associations and training institutions. For the Council of Europe, the Centre operates in connection with the European Committee on Democracy and Governance (CDDG) and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. (more...)


[1] By European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Authorities, at their Conference in Budapest, February 2005. This decision was subsequently adopted at the Council of Europe's 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government in Warsaw in May 2005.



Towards a modern Local Government Association

Public Ethics Benchmark

Modern and Effective Human Resources Management

Strategic Municipal Planning and Performance Management at Local Level

Best practice in Local Government

Inter-municipal Co-operation: manual, website

Modern Leadership for Modern Local Government

Local Finance Benchmark

Local government capacity building programme

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

Cross-border co-operation




The Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform has carried out, or is currently carrying out, capacity building programmes in many countries (more...)



Local Finance Benchmarking


Advisory board

Role, composition, meetings and annual activity reports