Governance plan of Cantabria 2008-2011

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

Award nominee

The project consists of a set of programmes that have been designed by the Regional Government of Cantabria to enhance citizen’s participation and transparency in public management. It involves the design of specific Government programmes and projects clearly defined for their implementation. It is structured through strategic guidelines that outline the political priorities of the Government of Cantabria. It organises more than 300 projects that will place the region at the forefront on a national and a European level. Until now, there have been two Governance Plans in Cantabria: the first one started in 2004 and finished in 2007; the second one began in 2008 and will end in 2011.

The current project is building on the Governance Plan 2004-2007, which has been improved and extended in the second Plan. The overall idea to introduce mechanisms for citizens’ participation in strategic economic plans was inspired by the Government Pact for Cantabria established after the 2003 regional elections. This pact is based on a series of priority actions that constitute the essence of Government policy. Transparency, efficiency, equity in public management, strategic plans, equal opportunities, and response to the citizen’s demands were and still are the basic and constant principles of what has been established as a new approach to Government action.

The participation programme applies two methods internally and externally, in order to achieve the targets set in the Government Plan:

  • Internal: a system of leading indicators measures the degree of

efficiency of the regional public sector and the results are reported to the citizens on a quarterly basis. Every governmental action in the Governance Plan contains a previous planning, a budget assigned to it and a set of targets. Therefore, three different types of indicators could be defined: one relates to fulfilment of the action (achievement indicators); a second one relates to the budget used to implement it (budget indicators); and finally a third one relates to the impact of the action (impact indicators).

  • External: on a quarterly basis, a representative sample of citizens

(a total sample of 1800 out of a population of 600 000 inhabitants; including only citizens above 18 years, but from across all societal groups, i.e. elderly, low-high income, disabled etc.) are asked about regional public efficiency issues.

Once the information is available from both sides, the government has several alternatives. It may re-elaborate the Plan and redirect it towards citizen’s demands and/or it redirects both human and financial resources towards those strategic projects that present poor levels of ‘subjective’ achievement. This procedure can be difficult to implement since the Governance Plan needs to be flexible enough to account for citizen’s demands. At the same time, it relies on government’s willingness to take actions. Although this process is not costless, it presents many advantages in terms of transparency and involvement of civil society in the political process.

Award info
Award category: citizen involvement
Award type: nominee
Award year: 2009
Project type
Sector: Education (higher and lower), training and learning
Type of activity: e-government
Keywords: Governance; open government, opinion polling
Short English description: The project consists of a set of programmes that have been designed by the Regional Government of Cantabria to enhance citizen’s participation and transparency in public management
Further information
Organisation: Regional Government of Cantabria
Other applicants:
Level of government: regional level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved:
Country: Spain
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

Governance plan of Cantabria 2008-2011 (43.4580299° N, 3.8191024° W)
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