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Observatory of local government

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

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The importance of municipalities in our system as well as the lack of comprehensive sources of information bringing together a wide range of aspects related to the municipal sphere, suggested the need to create a flexible, wide-ranging tool that could facilitate research and would become an instrument for improvement within local bodies themselves.

For this reason, in 2003 the Carles Pi i Sunyer Foundation created the Observatory of Local Government, a mechanism to systematically gather information on the municipal situation for the benefit of the municipalities, the supra-municipal authorities, the governments of the autonomous communities and of the state, as well as the scientific community. Its main objectives are to supply information to other levels of government to facilitate the design and evaluation of regulations and public policies, to provide data in order to improve the management of local bodies, and to promote research into local government and administration via empirical methodology based on comparative data.

The implementation process is based on a questionnaire containing more than 6,000 variables that have been subjected to an evaluation and improvement process involving experts specialised in the subjects included, who have also provided their own contributions.

The questionnaire is divided into four blocks: I. Structure and functioning of the Council. II. Instrumental bodies, administrative cooperation, collaboration and coordination. III. Public services. IV. The municipal budget. The survey is carried out twice during each mandate, with an interval of approximately two years between each survey. In order to ensure data quality and to speed up the response process, the questionnaire is given in person to the 611 municipalities. Researchers go to all the municipalities, thereby ensuring that the necessary information is gathered and guaranteeing quality and homogeneity in the answers. Previously, the specialist team from the Observatory carried out a thorough search for the information requested that may have been available from other sources. The aim is to facilitate the work of the councils as much as possible and avoid asking for information that is accessible via other public means.

The data are structured and systemised in a user-friendly database and can therefore be used and analysed in line with the objectives established. In order to ensure the anonymity of the local organisations and avoid any possible improper use of the information, protocols have been established for accessing the information that defines different types of users. The data are provided in such a way that they can be compared, but the councils involved cannot be identified directly. The ways in which the data can be used have been established according to origin, the reason for the query and the purpose of the search. Each of the different profiles established can access a different level of information.

Award info
Award category: leadership and change
Award type: submission
Award year: 2009
Project type
Sector: Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
Type of activity: e-government
Keywords: Local government, public management, information/data management
Short English description: Its main objectives are to supply information to other levels of government to facilitate the design and evaluation of regulations and public policies, to provide data in order to improve the management of local bodies, and to promote research into local government and administration via empirical methodology based on comparative data
Further information
Organisation: Fundació Carles Pi i Sunyer
Other applicants:
Homepage:
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: 1-25
Number of people involved:
Country: Spain
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:


Observatory of local government (41.3806323, 2.1562038)
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