Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform


Local Finance Benchmarking


The analyse of the impact of changing economic fortunes on local budgets has shown the relevance of the Committee of Ministers Recommendations on Financial and Budgetary Management at Local and Regional Levels (Rec(2004)1) and the Financial Resources of Local and Regional Authorities (Rec(2005)1 + Russian version), prepared with the OECD, IMF, the World Bank and OSF.


The Council of Europe’s Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform developed a Finance Benchmarking Tool, addressed to local and central authorities. The local component of this tool was first piloted, to excellent results, in five municipalities of Bulgaria, in co-operation with the National Association of Municipalities (NAMRB). NAMRB subsequently implemented it in other 48 municipalities, and further on. Later, it was tested in Ukraine in ten pilot cities, as well. The LFB survey tool has been improved in 2012 by adding new items to reflect the impact of the economic downturn, and was used in 2013 in nine municipalities from Greece, Portugal and Spain in cooperation with the partner local government associations, with the support of the Open Society Foundations and CEMR’s support. In 2014-2015 the local finance benchmarking toolkit was adapted and piloted in the Basque Country in cooperation with EUDEL.


The Local Finance Benchmarking for central authorities is currently being implemented in Greece under a joint CoE-EU project and the LFB toolkit was translated into Russian in the context of wider project launched in six European Partnership countries in 2015 (see Project PCF-EaP).


Click on the map to download the reports and the contacts for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Republic of Moldova, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine.



LFB Programme

LFB programme description (+ Russian version)

Powerpoint presentation on LFB



LFB Standard Toolkits

Local finance benchmarking toolkit

Benchmarking Fiscal Decentralisation




Local finance benchmarking: a shared tool for improved financial management

Benchmarking as a management tool is used primarily for diagnostic purposes. For businesses and public service organizations it helps to identify the areas of intervention and to prioritize development actions for better performance and increased effi ciency. In public policy making benchmarking provides evidence for decision makers through scoring and ranking.


Local Government in Critical Times: Policies for Crisis, Recovery and a Sustainable Future

This publication contains the texts on the impact of the economic downturn on local government presented and adopted at the 17th session of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government, held in Kyiv (Ukraine) on 3–4 November 2011: the Kyiv Declaration and Kyiv Guidelines, the report "Local government in critical times: polices for crisis, recovery and sustainable future", as well as the Recommendations Rec(2004)1 on financial and budgetary management at local and regional levels, Rec(2005)1 on the financial resources of local and regional authorities, and the European Charter of Local Self-Government.



Reporting on piloting of the Local Finance Benchmarking (LFB) and introducing the LFB database in Georgia - Tbilisi, 6 April 2017
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Reporting on piloting of the Local Finance Benchmarking (LFB) and introducing the LFB database in Armenia - Yerevan, 17 November 2016
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Launching the Local Finance Benchmarking project in Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia, 18-19 May 2016

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Roundtable on Local finance benchmark in Armenia, Yerevan, 13-14 April 2016

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Kick off LFB activities, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, 15-16 December 2015

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Study visit to Bilbao on improving local financial management, 27-29 October 2015

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Improving financial management through local finance benchmarking - Conference in Chisinau, 8 October 2015

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Meeting on Local Finance Benchmarking (in the Framework of the EaP PCF project), Vienna, Austria, 27-28 May 2015

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Dissemination of the adapted "Local Finance Benchmarking (LFB) toolkit", Bilbao, Basque Country, 27 November 2014

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Meeting on Local Finance Benchmarking, Athens, Greece, 6 March 2014

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Pilot project meeting to finalise the methodology, Valladolid, Spain, 22 July 2013


LFB learning through comparison

List of participants