The need for measuring the performance of municipalities in Albania
The gap between local governance institutions and citizens in all administrative areas of the country remains significant and constitutes one of the main barriers to impede the much-needed synergy and cooperation among municipalities and citizens. The absence of certain communication and information exchange produces multidimensional negative consequences reflected in poor local governance quality, low efficiency in offering public services, and weak advocacy of citizens’ rights relating to decision-making in local institutions. If we count negative consequences: poor public transparency related to decision-making processes in the local level caused by lack of efficient mechanisms that would grant access to citizens; citizens not represented in policy-making debates related to local public investments; uninformed public, as a consequence disengaged to contribute in improving public services provided by the municipality; poor public funds governance and not a realization of foreseen planned public investments.
Lack of open public and transparent platforms that would make a possible comparative analysis of municipalities’ performance, leaves practically no room for encouraging public debates under the scope of improving the level of service delivery quality in a local governance context in the country. Measuring municipalities’ performance and comparing results of local administrative units on a national scale under an effective research-based methodology creates a solid ground for wide inclusive citizens’ informative system, transparence that would induce continuous improvements in terms of public services quality. Projected in an agenda of Economic Freedom this is what the Institute for Public Policy and Good Governance in close collaboration with the Lithuanian Free Market Institute and with the strategic support of the Atlas Network is aiming to catalyze through the Municipal Performance Index. Being piloted for the first time in Albania, MPI will bring in a comparative perspective the performance of 16 municipalities in the country based on a list of 35 indicators measuring the effectiveness of local governments in delivering results. The Index will help civil society organizations, media, business groups, and the general public obtain a wide inclusive understanding of local public finances management in all its’ complexity.
At the IPPM, we have set an ambitious goal to reframe the discourse in public policy debates by orienting and building credibility for citizens-focused solutions and the MPI will actively contribute to this perspective.