» TRANSPARENCY IN MUNICIPAL SERVICE DELIVERY PROGRAM
The overall goal of the EPF’s “Transparency in Municipal Service Delivery” Program (Phase III) was to improve public transparency and strategic planning capability of Azerbaijani municipalities through a systematic process of monitoring and evaluating the performance of municipalities in local service delivery. It was envisaged that by institutionalizing these two objectives, overall municipal service delivery will be measurably improved in the long-term, increasing the effectiveness of local governance and the satisfaction of constituents.
The EPF’s “Transparency in Municipal Service Delivery” Program was supported by STATOIL.
Update of MPMS Indicators:
EPF revised the MPMS indicators and included gender sensitive indicators to ensure that the needs of women are taken into account by the municipalities. In the process of the revision, the total number of the indicators decreased from 113 to 46. The decision to reduce the number of indicators was taken by EPF as the result of its previous field testing with 20 village-type municipalities in the phase II of the Statoil funded program and 10 city-type municipalities in the current phase III of the program. The majority of municipalities participating in the program had repeatedly reported a significant difficulty in filling in the data on a number of indicators. Though this data was supposed to be available at the local level, it de facto existed only in central government ministries.
Expansion of the Pool of Experts:
EPF expanded the pool of experts involved in the program and engaged the most prominent experts in the field of local governance issues. The program consisted of six experts as opposed to the three engaged in the former stages of the program. A larger pool of expert allowed EPF to extend its efforts in promoting MPMS as a viable public service measurement tool at the national level and initiating discussions with the state agencies on setting the benchmarks for the set of indicators and introducing them to all municipalities across the country.
EPF’s program manager succeeded in receiving contact details of all 1,718 municipalities including names and cell phone numbers of the chairpersons and municipal members. Moreover, EPF had an electronic version of the municipal budget (2005 – 2010) and income and expenditure in 58 districts of Azerbaijan. EPF placed these resources on the program website in order to provide public access to this information as it is not available anywhere else and it cost EPF considerable efforts to obtain the information from the Statistical Committee.
Municipal Data Collection/Verification:
In spring 2011, EPF reviewed data collected from the nine partner municipalities and started the process of data verification. The EPF team of experts visited targeted municipalities in order to carry out the process of verification jointly with the representatives of partner municipalities. The verification process revealed that some information was not accurate. The revision of the relevant documents provided accurate data for MPMS. The process of data collection/verification showed that municipalities are still lacking relevant municipal statistics which creates significant impediment for effectiveness of municipal functioning.
Small Grants Competition:
In the framework of the program, EPF issued six grants to its partner municipalities from Zagatala, Gabala, Siyazen, Salyan, Mingechevir and Lenkaran. The total amount of these grants was $24,172. These projects were intended to strengthen the strategic planning capacity of municipalities and to increase their outreach activities and consultation with their citizens. Citizen involvement in budget/strategic plan development and monitoring of expenditures was an important part of this activity. The proposals were selected based on the quality of the proposal design, logic and relevance of proposed actions. The projects’ implementation lasted until December 2011.
The EPF program manager together with hired experts provided technical assistance to partner municipalities on designing their strategic plans. Last year, all ten municipalities were trained by EPF experts on how to develop a strategic plan. Having all the needed data collected and analyzed, EPF and municipalities were intending to work on a strategic plan. EPF anticipated developing at least eight strategic plans in coming three month (July – September). The final version of the strategic plan was publicly discussed in autumn 2011 and approved in December.