Urban Governance: A Sourcebook on Indicators


Participation & Urban Governance

All men and women should have a voice in decision-making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutions that represent their interests. Such broad participation is built on freedom of association and speech, as well as capacities to participate constructively.

The fulcrum of good governance is participation. Wider the civil society involvement in making choices and decisions on matters of municipal interest and public importance, the greater the interface and mutual confidence will be between the government and the governed.

Urban local governments can no longer govern cities all by themselves. In the past few decades, their control over city governance diminished significantly with the creation of statutory special Boards and Corporations.

Globalisation and the attendant return to democratic principle of governance have further changed the conventional role of urban local governments from being ‘city managers in complete control’ to being ‘stewards and managing partners’.

While the stewardship for the city will continue to remain in their care, urban local governments will increasingly witness greater sharing of responsibility with civil organisations and the private sector. They will be directing the city economy and managing the urban services. With the consent and support of the electorate, they will exert greater influence on municipal policies, legislation and services.

Wider public participation and debate are necessary pre-conditions for making mature urban choices. The urban constituency is no longer prepared to accept monofocal action of a few state/municipal officials and some elected municipal councillors as participatory decision making when wider participation is now considered necessary and feasible in a city.

Under the circumstances, it is sensible for local governments to move pro-actively and initiate administrative and structural changes in city governance to promote wider participation by the civil society in urban policy and strategy development and in programme planning and management. Such a move will help develop early a participatory culture in urban governance and prevent stronger partners from manipulating the control over city affairs. The changes must be so designed as to open up and support institutional avenues and mechanisms that encourage and nurture democratic participation of all those who are interested and knowledgeable in municipal level choice-making. Participation is feasible, productive and sustainable when generated through community-based organisations, non-governmental institutions, private corporate systems and the decentralised units of local government.

There are many levels and types of participation, ranging from manipulated involvement, (where the participants have little or no clue of what and why they are doing), through tokenism, (where there is an appearance of participation but the participants have no important decision making role to play in), to shared accomplishments, (where participation is real and productive, mutually satisfying and achieving a high sense of ownership and belonging to the decisions made).

Manipulation and tokenism are considered models of non-participation, which must be avoided in good governance. A good understanding of this hierarchy of participation levels and types is necessary for avoiding pitfalls of participatory nihilism where the civil society offers time and resources only to realise that it had been used by the promoters to give legitimacy to counter-productive urban agendas.

For further understanding of the subject, please refer:

"Care must be taken to help achieve higher levels of participation" by Sherry R. Arnstein, Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 1979

"Children’s Participation – From tokenism to citizenship" by Roger A. Hart, UNICEF INNOCENTI, Italy, 1992

Concept of Participation is not limited only to choice and decision making. While participation in the municipal thinking and action process is important, it must also be understood that participation also means active investments of resources for service as well as for profits. Good governance provides the necessary level playing field for individuals and establishments to enter the urban money and goods market with a sense of social responsibility and make reasonable profits while helping the residents with opportunities for good livelihood. Also, it encourages and supports non-governmental social organisations and civic minded individuals to move in, organise the civil society, and help support good governance and augment municipal support services.

Real and active participation is a mutually satisfying relationships. It enhances consensus building, sharpens accountability, promotes equitable distribution of resources and benefits of democratic processes, supports rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, efficiency and the consensual development of a strategic vision for the city, all of which are major attributes of good governance.

For details on the nine characteristics of good governance, please refer:

'Reconcpetualising Governance', UNDP New York 1997

What follows are some good indicators of participation.

1.        Attitude of municipal administration to civil society participation and availability of municipal mechanisms to ascertain citizen requirements.

Cities where civil society organisations have shown greater commitment to participate in municipal partnership programmes are those where the municipal leadership (i.e. Mayor, Governor, Director, Commissioner, Chief Executive Officer) has been able to influence a change in the mind-set of their bureaucracy and staff. Entrenched in conventional attitudes, methods and systems, most municipal administrations are slow to grasp new adaptations; to seize new opportunities; to devolve power and authority to those institutions and establishments such as academies and NGOs which lie outside their administrative control; and, to overcome their traditional realms of distrust. To achieve good governance, their traditional barriers to motivation must be removed. Trust, transparency, respect and co-operation are cornerstones for active civil society participation.

Urban local governments derive most of their revenue and political breath from its residents. The political survival of the City Council and councillors depend solely on public contentment. Prime purpose of local governance is to meet the needs of the local residents. A government cannot be responsive unless it knows what to respond to. Therefore, it is good politics and good economics for city councils to ensure that they have, at all times, a complete and profound knowledge and understanding of what the residents expect from the administration and what they feel about its performance. Keeping in touch with people’s organisations can help in this regard. Good governance for consultative processes between local governments and the NGOs, CBOs, the private sector and all other partners in urban development.

Periodic consultations, round table, community meetings, can help understand the people’s needs, aspirations; and, obtain their views and recommendations on major public issues. For this purpose, the administration must develop and nurture effective mechanisms to encourage such partnerships that help it feel the pulse of the constituency on a regular basis. These are cities that have institutionalised these mechanisms as part of the governance process. The ideal is to give those partners consultative status or observer status within the city council, of course, without voting rights. It must be a two-way communication mechanism: not only to communicate to residents, but also to be communicated by them. A counter or a box for complaints, views and suggestions is a good conventional start. But, except for grouses, grudges and complaints, it has not proven to be successful in generating ideas, suggestions and recommendations for improvement of municipal effectiveness. In this electronic age, innovative new methods can be found to get the constituency to speak up. An e-mail hotline or a web-site, calling for good ideas with a periodic award for best suggestions, may prove to be a popular and effective mechanism for this.

-          Is the municipal leadership in your city actively promoting greater participation by civil society organisations?


-          Has it built up good working relationships with NGOs?


-          How do you rate your municipality’s capacity to keep in touch with the constituency?


-          Is it making a genuine effort and good progress in effectively learn from the residents what they really need in order to be responsive to the constituency?


-          Is the municipality sufficiently responsive to peoples’ needs? Does it really have a good mechanism to obtain peoples’ views and feedback promptly?


-          Does your city council have and mechanisms to consult the civil society partners and build partnerships on major municipal issues on a regular basis?

-          If it does, how useful and effective are they?


2.        Degree of municipal decentralization

Many nations have devolved power and decentralised the authority and responsibilities through constitutional provisions, there by making local governments autonomous and responsive. The 37th and 38th Amendments to the Indian Constitution is an example. Over the years, by trial and error, local governments have learnt that centralised planning and delivery systems can be somewhat efficient but seldom effective. Democratic processes are the first to suffer under a lack of decentralisation and devolution. It makes ward representatives a bunch of passive onlookers, not active partners. That hinders good democratic governance. The ideal state of governance is when the representatives of the governed have power, resources and control over the development of their constituencies. Decentralisation of responsibility for programme planning and implementation that enables direct participation and involvement of all field level municipal staff and elected representatives is a pre-requisite for effective urban governance. This includes ward-wise desegregation of the municipal budget too so that the ward members/councillors will be aware of the fiscal planning levels within which they could effect development activities in their wards. The Urban Basic Services programme implemented in over 300 cities and towns in India ensures such ward-wise distribution of budget with good results.

-          Has the constitution of your country devolved sufficient powers to the local government bodies to make them responsive to citizen’s local needs?


-          Has your local government fully decentralised the programme development and implementation responsibilities?


-          Do the ward representatives know what part of the municipal budget is available for development of their ward?


-          Is the city council's development budget (i.e. excluding the administrative and other recurrent costs) adequately decentralised and desegregated into ward-wise estimates of expenditure?


-         Does the administrative system provide for and encourage ward development committees under the leadership of the elected councillor?


3.        Quality of participation of the selected members in Council debates.

The main task of a City Council is to make responsible decisions to ensure that administration and development of the city conforms to the needs and aspirations of its constituents. Municipal debates, therefore, are very important tools for good decisions. The quality of member participation in council debate process will determine, to a good extent, the quality of municipal decisions.

-          Do members make a genuine effort to help enhance the quality of municipal decision making?

-          Are at least 40% of the members making useful contributions to city debates on important issues? 

-          Is the quality of city council discussions good?

-          Do they come prepared with relevant information and arguments to back their positions?


-           Is the average attendance at meetings over 60%?


4.        Women’s representation in the City Council

The World Social Summit in Copenhagen recommended that civic organisations must ensure that women represent a minimum of 30% of all elected and recruited decision-making positions. UN system and many non-UN organisations have complied with this guideline. The Government of India, for example, introduced legislation in 1994 to ensure compliance in the election of representatives to local and national legislatures. It is, however, observed that the mere presence of women councillors in the municipal council will not make much of a difference to the quality of decision-making unless they actively engage themselves in the municipal process.

-      Has your local government complied with this norm?


-      To what extent have your nomination processes and selection procedures take this need into account and ensure maximum degree of women’s representation.

-     How effective is the participation of women councillors?


5.        Private sector support to Municipal Human Resources Development activities

The private sector can be and has been an effective tool in municipal human resources development processes. The pre-requisite for such participation is mutual trust and transparency. Private sector guidance and active support can help upgrade the quality of municipal management, through introduction of new management concepts, techniques, work study methods, and management training programmes. Annual auditing of municipal accounts too is another area where the sector has comparative experience and advantage over the municipality.

-          Does the city administration make adequate and satisfactory efforts to use the private sector expertise to upgrade/modernise the city offices’ administrative, fiscal and management systems?

-         How good has been the experience of your city council in collaborating with the private sector in this field?


6.        Voter turn-up in the last municipal election or by-election

Municipal elections are an important indicator of people’s interest in municipal governance, or the lack of it. Voter absentasion often indicates indifference to municipal governance. In some countries, hardly one third of the registered voters turn up and cast their ballot, leading up to negligable citizen participation. In other words, two thirds of the city’s population do not bother about who represents them in the local government. Good governance has a responsibility to educate the citizens on their right to be represented and to involve them fully in the electoral process.

-          Are there municipal mechanisms that conduct periodic vote education programmes in your city?

-          Is the municipal leadership encouraging the mass media with data and information to educate the citizens on their voting and representation rights?

-          Are you happy with the efforts of the municipal council at the last election to encourage maximum voter participation?


7.        Municipal incentives for private sector participation in city economy, environment care and in municipal staff development (HDR) activities

According to a Survey of Mayors conducted by UNDP in 1997, Employment & Job Creation was ranked the first of eight municipal priorities world-wide. Ironically, that is one function over which urban local governments have the least direct control. Yet, several city administrations have been successful in attracting employment - generating high private sector investments. Incentives such as 'no profit - no loss' serviced sites for industrial plants, single-window facilitation counters for granting municipal approvals and municipal tax holidays are capable of attracting substantial new investments. Cities that are confident of their capacity to provide industrial sites and services for private sector investments are able to mount vigorous campaigns to attract private sector capital shifts into the city that will generate jobs and increase the local government revenue base. Urban transport and employment have been traditional areas of private sector participation. Other potential areas include water supply and sewerage, administration of municipal shopping and market complexes.

-          Has your local government adequately exploited the private sector potential for the development of the city economy?

-          Have the private sector and local government drawn up any employment generation plans for the city?

-          Have these incentives helped build the cities economy?

-          Are these incentives managed in a non-partial and corrupt-free environment, politically and administratively?

Globalisation has put cities in greater focus yet, without much authority, resources and good governance experience. Early realisation by urban local governments that due to resource constraints, both financial and human, municipal systems are operating far below the required capacity will be good for city governance. On the other hand, the private sector has the necessary links, access and exposure to global Total Quality Management experiences as well as financial resources needed for urban development. With due checks and balances, their expertise and capacity in planning for and achieving clientele satisfaction can be harnessed for managing urban social development too. Already there are some good experiences in this field. In Bogota, Columbia, two private firms collect over 50,000 tonnes of city waste per month relieving the city government of over 50% of its waste disposal responsibility. Metro-Manila’s Private Sector anti-smoke-belching drive caused the rehabilitation of over 200 vehicles in a relatively short period. The Philippine Business for Environment’s flagship programme of Industrial Waste Exchange among factories minimises the disposable volume of factory wastes considerably. Other cities too have used the private sector in numerous areas such as environment protection, supplementation of municipal services and in urban renewal efforts.

-          Is your City Council actively encouraging the private sector to undertake basic services and environment protection activities in the city?

-          If yes, have the quality and coverage of services increased as a result?


8.        Participation of the city’s poor in planning and implementing activities related to their well being

Poverty in the world is fast becoming urbanised. In the first decade of the 21st Century, more than half of the poor will be living in cities and towns. With large concentrations of the poor living in urban areas they will permit themselves to be marginalised any further. Nor will they allow the planners to by bypass or overlook their presence. Justly so, they will want equal participation for their equal work as city builders and stakeholders. Good municipal governance cannot and will not dare to overlook them and their needs.

Causes and manifestations of poverty are multi-dimensional. Poverty is often described as a lack of choice or voice. Information opens a door to better choice. The least the urban local administrations can do to help the city poor is to keep them fully informed of the procedures to access anti-poverty programmes from which they can benefit. Many public sector poverty-reduction initiatives often miss their intended targets because the non-poor with access to information, plunder and appropriate the benefits before the poor could get to it. Good governance will prevent such miscarriage of justice by being transparent about the ways the uninformed poor can benefit from City Council and other pro-poor initiatives. Sometimes, the mere setting up of an Urban Poor Support and Facilitation Counter, which require very little additional funds, within the municipal office could tremendously enhance the interaction and mutual trust between the poor and the city office. The community education and conscientisation activities of the Kampung Improvement Progamme (KIP), Indonesia, and the UNICEF-assisted Colombo Slum Gardens Project and Million Houses Programme, Sri Lanka, Urban Basic Services (UBS) Programme in India, provide some adaptable insights and experiences.

Municipal systems and processes must provide adequate space for all development processes that affect them directly

-          Does your city council have a decentralised mechanism to obtain the views of the city’s poor on matters affecting them?

-          Does it implement any major  poverty reduction programmes?

-          How often do the municipal officials sit with the poor to review such programmes?

-          Are the poor involved in mid-term review of such programmes?

1.        Civil Society participation in implementing Municipal programmes / projects

The NGOs and community based organisations (CBOs) have a good knowledge of and commitment to the civil society interests and aspirations cannot be over-emphasised. They have proven capacity to organise and mobilise local communities, articulate local issues and help seek sustainable solutions. Being influenced by local needs and aspirations, NGOs/CBOs often enjoy credibility and support from local communities. Many cities have very positive experiences in working with NGOsCBOs. Among them are: the LINIS-GANDA project (San Juan, Metro Manila) which is an NGO-informal sector partnership for city waste collection & disposal; the ORANGI Pilot Project for community sanitation & slum Improvement (Karachi & Sukur); XENORA in community sanitation and solid waste disposal programmes (Chennai and Bangalore); SEVANATHA in Community Action Planning (Colombo); COMMUNITY. SCOUTS in rehabilitation of street children (Surabaya). Main pre-requisites for effective cooperation are careful identification both of the NGO/CBO and the areas of potential collaboration; clearly defined operational areas and responsibility; transparency; mutual trust and respect. It is, however, noted that the absence of NGO/CBO involved in some cities need not necessarily mean that municipal administration has been less than effective. Perhaps, in cities where municipal services are well managed by the City Hall, there may not arise a substantial need for NGO/CBO participation in programmes implementation except in review of progress and evaluation.

-          Is there adequate NGO/CBO participation in municipal social sector project management in your city?

-          Has NGO/CBO involvement help improve the management and effectiveness of municipal programmes?


2.        Participation of academic institutions in municipal strategy search, research and evaluation

Often there is no methodical or scientific analysis of municipal performance. As a result, municipal leaders and bureaucracy become complacent believing that they are on the right track. Support from academic institutions can help municipalities with external technical inputs in the form of consumer reports, programme and budget reviews, strategy evaluations and future strategy search. They can help evaluate municipal programmes and check whether they are really making the desired changes to the lives of the residents.

-          Does your municipality promote external research and evaluations?

-          Does it involve universities and research institutions in strategy development work?

-          How effective have such partnerships been?

Strategic Vision of Urban Governance

Leaders and public have a broad and long-term perspective on good governance and human development, along with a sense of what is needed for such development. There is also an understanding of the historical, cultural and social complexities in which that perspective is grounded.

A Government without a vision is blind. Where there is no vision, there is no progress. There is no way that local governments can aim for progressive change without adopting a long-term vision and appropriate strategies to achieve it. Availability of a clearly defined vision and perspective plan for city development is a sign of good governance. It is often said that cities plan to fail when they fail to plan.

The nine attributes of good governance that UNDP has articulated are inter-linked and inter-dependant. Sustainable human development in urban areas can be achieved only through equilateral promotion of all these attributes to bring about improved urban governance. For this, every city must have a long term vision and strategy for its realization. It must feel accountable to the people and state for translating that vision into action.

What follows are some indicators of the city government’s commitment and performance in this area.

1.        Availability and the quality of  its implementation of a strategic vision for the city

Good urban governance shall always pursue a vision for the city.  For sustainability, it must be a vision that transcends politics and social divisions. It must be a product of a participatory consultation process – a consensual product. It shall address the needs of all main domains of city life and shall have clearly defined goals. Vision is what clarifies the mission of the institution.

The mere availability of a vision will not help unless it is enthusiastically operationalised. Most visions have faded away with time without being realised. Good urban governance will do everything possible to make vision a reality.

-          Does your City Council have a clear vision of what it likes the city to be in ten to fifteen years from now?

-          Is this vision a shared vision of all political parties and major civil society organisations in town?

-          Is the public fully conversant with its purpose, objectives and goals?


-          Is the leadership style in the municipality one that promotes the achievement of the vision?


2.        Availability of a clear strategy for poverty reduction

Poverty being a major challenge for city governance, city administrations must have their own comprehensive strategy for poverty reduction. In the absence a well-defined strategy, municipal interventions will be ad-hoc, piecemeal, disjointed and unfocused. When a good strategy is present, poverty reduction can become a social movement in the city. With the introduction of the Urban Basic Services strategy, in many Indian cities, poverty reduction has gained momentum as a social thrust. IN Phnom Penh, Vietnam, the city administration has formulated a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy and embarked on a comprehensive 5 year programme financed by DFLD/UNCHS to reach out to over 60,000 low-income families.

-          Is there a well-defined poverty reduction strategy in your city?

-          Is it a consensual one with all partners agreeing on its basic thrust and approach?

-         Is the public aware of its purpose, objectives and goals?


3.        Availability of clearly defined strategies for each priority action area

While a well defined vision for the city spell out areas of special attention, major challenges and overall strategic framework city improvement, the city office must have a well-thought and clearly articulated strategy for each of the key action areas of municipal priority. These areas include employment creation, public health, water & sanitation, solid waste disposal, poverty, transport, road safety, crime & violence and environment. The strategy shall spell out the challenges, the city council’s major responses to meet them, and approaches that will be employed to implement the strategy. Over the years, many cities in Asia and the Pacific have been able to formulate development strategies for water supply and sewerage, and not much for the other priority areas.

-          Does your city council have clearly defined strategies for each of its priority action areas?

-         If it does, is it implementing them with due commitment?


4.        Regularity of Future-Search and Strategy-Search efforts in the City Council

Responsive local governments will pay special attention to:

-       the quality and adequacy of its basic services interventions;

-       emerging future needs and trends in city functions; and

-       ways and means of improving the services and facilities.

For this, city governments must encourage consistent search for innovative strategies. It should provide a platform for Future Search discussions among those of the city council, the administration and with those outside it. Search for new modes of public services action in priority municipal areas will help prepare the city office meet emerging challenges of the new millennium.

-          Does the senior staff of the city administration have a tradition of periodically meeting to reflect on emerging new needs and trends in the delivery and management of municipal services?

-          If they do, have they been successful in generating innovative ideas that made substantial improvements to city governance?

-         Does the city leadership promote and encourage future search discussions within it and with outside agencies, academics, and civil society partners?

Rule of Law in Urban Governance

Legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially, particularly the laws on human rights.

The legislative function of urban local governments has been generally confined to the spheres of regulating codes and standards of buildings, public health, land use, municipal revenue, consumer protection and road safety. Good governance insists that municipal legislation is fair and just to all, and evenly applied and enforced without fear or favour. The legislative responsibility is to ensure that norms are available and observed to maintain quality and equity in the distribution and use of urban services.

Ensuring the rule of law does also mean total commitment to enforce the rules and law. Municipal and other democratic institutions and processes in the city must be just and fair in imposing rules and regulations on their constituency. Their enforcement machinery must ensure that every citizen is equal before the law and that delivery of justice will not only be fair but also prompt. Also, it is necessary that the rule of law is effective within the local government institution first with a fair and regular performance appraisal system for its councillors and staff, rewarding the best and punishing the worst.

Rule of law is anchored in human rights and dignity. It is good municipal governance to ensure that the enforcement officials of municipal institutions and the city police are adequately trained to respect the human rights of every single individual in the city and help him/her realise them. This initiative generally rests with the Mayor/Governor.

Protection of the consumer from unfair trade practices too is increasingly becoming a priority need in urban market economies. With the demise of consumer protection safety nets that marked the planned economies of the pre-Eighties, consumer protection has now fallen squarely on the lap of municipal governments despite their lack of control over the market.

In most major cities in Asia and the Pacific, the responsibility of ensuring the rule of law is distributed among many statutory boards, departments and the local government. Consequently, the accountability is dispersed and weak. Municipal leadership must take proactive measures to compensate for this lack of clarity by assuming responsibility of co-ordination of those many agencies.

What follows are some indicators of the city government’s commitment and performance in this area.

1.        Public observance of city codes and standards

  Good governance engenders rule of law. Rule of law must be supreme in all municipal transactions and should not be compromised for administrative or political favour. Safety and security standards must not be sacrificed for municipal exigency or convenience. Violation of city codes and standards reduces revenue, endangers health, safety, and security of the citizens and, in short, stifles the well being of residents which is the primary objective of local government. Promoting respect for rule of law is a primary municipal function and responsibility. For this, the administration and bureaucracy must be disciplined first. If the rule of law is not respected within the precincts of the City Council, it will not have moral power or administrative ability to bring a whole society under the discipline of law. Nor will it be able to get the residents to observe the city codes and standards on zoning, industrial and household waste disposal, pollution, housing and building quality & safety, illegal tapping of water, etc., Continuous public education on municipal laws, codes and standards and their strict enforcement can substantially reduce the incidence of gross violations. NGOs can be enlisted to play a lead role in public education and community vigilance of potential violations. The Asian Coalition on Housing Rights (ACHR) in Bangkok and The Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi are good examples in this regard.

-          Does your city administration effectively popularise information about city codes, regulations and standards and strictly enforce them?

-          Has the incidence of code-violations in your city come down in the past few years?


-         Does the number of municipal litigations against code violations show a downward trend? (Remember lack of enforcement too could reduce municipal litigations)








2.        Adequate measures and enforcement of municipal safety standards for public buildings and roads  

As the city populations grow and more and more learn to spend more time away from home in public places, schooling, working, watching movies, strolling on the malls, negotiating, transacting business or shopping, safety standards of public building should receive special attention. Good local governments, therefore, shall ensure that these public places are safe areas for people; their construction quality is good and will not endanger limbs or lives. Instances have been many when lives and investments have been lost forever because of indifference, inefficiency or corruption overlooking or compromising these safety standards. Injuries, disablement and death due to non-adherence to building and road safety standards and non-observance of traffic rules are a common occurrence in cities. Most of these are avoidable through effective law enforcement, regular monitoring of conformity and compliance, and adequate public information and education. Well designed tri-partite partnerships among the municipality, NGOs and the police department can reduce the risk levels in the city. 

-          Does your city administration diligently ensure public adherence to rules and codes on buildings and road safety, before, during and after their construction? Or, does it consider its responsibility over after the issuance of the Certificate of Completion?

-          Are there mechanisms in place that makes ‘certification of fitness for use’ compulsory for annual licensing of buildings and roads? 

-          Does s your municipality pay adequate attention to road safety measures and proper management of the roads belonging to city government?

-          Are your city roads well protected with adequate preventive measures such as strong railings separating the pavements; evenly paved sidewalks; speed-deterrents; visible zebra crossings; and protected railway-crossings?

-         Are roads properly lit in the night making them safe for night use? Are there regular compulsory checks on their fitness for use?
















3.        Effectiveness of anti-corruption measures in municipal administration  

Corruption always stands in the way of good municipal governance. Seldom can one find a municipal office not accused of malpractice or corruption. Corruption and good governance are incompatible and cannot co-exist. Regular performance evaluation of all staff down the line is one of the many effective mechanisms that can help combat the menace to some extent. It will enable the supervisors to discuss corruption charges, if any, without fear or favour as part of the performance-assessment process and express dissatisfaction and non-readiness to recommend promotions until positive change is discernible in the staff members’ attitude to work.

-          Has your City Administration been relatively free of major corruption charges in the past three to four years?


-          In your assessment, does it make a genuine attempt to ward off corruption among its staff and the elected representatives of the Council through anti-corruption drives and public cooperation?









4.        Vigilance and action against crime and violence in the city

Good governance insures that the city provides a conducive psychological environment for development of sound mental, and physical health and foe full social participation of the residents. Violence and crime, major or petty, create fear, affect mental health and impede social life. Safety for all, particularly children, women and other vulnerable groups such as the aged and disabled, must be a prime concern of city administrators. While maintaining law and order is not a direct municipal function in most countries, mere municipal interest and initiative in some cities have led to a significant reduction in the incidence of lawlessness and violence. A good example of municipal/civil society anti-crime drives come from the chain of municipal partnerships that led to the strengthening of a plethora of Residents’ Associations in major Indian cities, particularly in Delhi & Bangalore. There, the city administrators have given special permission to the Associations to install their own special security systems financed by the residents themselves. The systems include night patrolling, cordoning of the neighbourhood during night hours restricting entry to outsiders, and recording of late night movements of non-residents. A close coordination between the City Council and the Police Department is critical for making cities free of crime & violence. Creating and tradition in the City Council that enables the City Police Commissioner to present a six monthly or annual ‘Report on Status of the ‘Rule of Law in the City’ may help build a more responsible and constructive relationship between the two institutions. It will also help generate greater public interest in and dialogue on the Rule of Law. For sustainability, partnerships must be of this nature and must be institutionalised in the municipal system.

-          Is there any constructive engagement by the City Council in crime prevention in your city?


-          Is there any institutional mechanism that the City Council uses to engage the city police department in joint planning for crime prevention?


-          Is the City Council promoting and supporting neighbourhood, organisations of residents to be locally viligant?

  -         Is the city crime rate decreasing?

5.        Quality of environment care of the city

Responsible local administrations are environmentally conscious. They are committed to preserving the eco-balance of the city, improving air and water quality and ensuring the conservation and expansion of green areas as city lungs. Where governance is good and strong, effective pro-environment legislative measures are taken to promote urban forestry, tree-planting, drainage, protection of low-lying marshes as water catchment areas and to discourage illegal land-fills, unlawful tapping of municipal services, littering, illegal felling of trees and transport of such timber, and other wilful damage to the environment. They aim at ensuring and enhancing the environmental quality of the city.

Keeping the city environmentally safe and clean means promptly disposing solid & liquid wastes, ensuring surface-water drainage systems; minimising the emission of lead and other pollutants into city ambience; promoting environment friendly citizen behaviour, and effective management of water sources. These are some major municipal responsibilities. Cities that have neglected this responsibility over the years have become eco-burners not only affecting their immediate environment but also the global eco-systems. There are cities where dust particles, CFCs, toxins and gases fill the air throughout the day resulting in a permanent haze hanging over the city. City administrations are urged to ensure good governance because of the lessons learnt from such past failures. In addition to effective law enforcement, environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and other regular environmental audits, city governments must ensure that there are sound and effective public education programmes on the subject. In some cities, NGOs and scientific research institutions are urged by the city offices to undertake regular research and public education to ensure that the residents are environment-conscious. Some even have begun to ban the use of some petroleum-based products such as polythene bags that are not biodegradable. Some cities in Bangladesh and Japan are actively promoting recycled paper and jute products as alternatives. Industries are given deadlines in some cities to install their own solid waste incinerators and used water treatment plants before they apply for the extension of their industrial licenses. The Centre for Environmental Education in Ahmedabad, India which began their basic environment education activities in municipal schools in the city of Ahmedabad is now a centre of excellence producing environmental teaching aides, curriculae and training manuals for most of the Indian schools. The GTZ funded Bagmati river cleaning programme in the twin cities of Kathmandu – Lalitpur in Nepal is another example of municipal concern about environmental issues.

In many cities now, all development planning is subject an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Environmental care is an area which requires constant Research & Development (R & D). Environment-conscious city governments encourage R & D efforts. Where governance is weak, environmental protection efforts will either be minimal or totally absent. Singapore and Malaysian cities provide an enviable record in discharging this responsibility through proper planning of environmental care, strict law enforcement & EIA.

-          Is your city administration environment-friendly? Is it genuinely working to make the city environment better? Does it have a long-term perspective plan for environment protection?


-          Does it insist on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to approve new development projects and industrial investments?

-          Is air and water quality reasonably good in the city?


-          Does the city budget allocate adequate funds for environmental care?

-          Are there effective public education programmes by the municipality on environment care?


-          Is your city a pleasant and liveable place that you can be proud of?






















Transparency of Urban Governance

Transparency is built on the free flow of information. Processes, institutions and information are directly accessible to those concerned with them, an enough information is provided to understand and monitor them.

Good governance will encourage and permit public scrutiny of their processes, procedures, decisions, instruments of contracts, agreements, MOUs and personnel decisions except those that may endanger public security and also the credibility of the state. Transparency being the hallmark, a good government will conceal very little from the constituency. It will ensure that its civil society partners have easy and direct access to information on all municipal work except those that impinge on state security and public safety.

Transparency is a by-product of accountability. It generates informed debate; enhances the quality of public participation; reduces avenues for corruption, and opens up potential opportunities for collaborative action. It thrusts on local government a great responsibility to ensure that all staff in the city administration are well trained and well cared for so that they will consider transparency as the single most important link between the administration and residents. Unskilled and disgruntled staff cannot and will not care for image building for their institution.

What follows are some indicators of transparency

1.        Transparency of budget formulation, revenue collection and expenditure

Effective management of financial resources is an important aspect of good governance. The more transparent the municipal financial management, the more effective and user-friendly urban governance will be. Good governance ensures financial integrity. All decision-making processes in regards to financial matters must be transparent and open for public scrutiny. Citizens must have interest in and access to information related to how and why fiscal and financial decisions were taken by the municipal administration. Civil society must be viligant so that the limited municipal funds will not be misused.

-          Do municipal regulations provide for external audit of their revenue and expenditure?

-         Does the City Hall encourage the public to study its annual budget proposal and comment on it before it is adopted?

2.        Transparency of municipal actions such as staff selection & promotion, and the award of contracts

Transparency is an early sign of good governance. The more transparent the local administration becomes in the conduct of its affairs, the lesser will be the opportunity for in-house corruption, and the higher will be the level of public trust and confidence it will enjoy. Local governments, which are not ready to ensure the highest possible level of transparency will always be suspect, vulnerable to vituperative propaganda, and will eventually lack credibility. Good governance, therefore, means keeping the stables clean and visible all the time. Among other things, it includes i.e. making staff performance assessment compulsory; advertising mid and senior level staff vacancies for open competition; basing staff promotion only on merit and ability; micromising favouritism and nepotism; preventing the use of public funds and positions to repay political favours; ensuring fair tender promotion and selection practices; regular assessing of programme results and impacts; and publishing programme/project evaluation reports

Another area where transparency must be the hallmark of action is the system and award of contracts. Most stories of municipal corruption are associated with this area of activity. Good governance will ensure that not only the tender procedures are meticulously followed for award of contracts, but also that they are done as openly as possible and that their documents are available for serious public scrutiy.

-          Does your local government have a reputation of being adequately transparent? Does it advertise all senior vacancies and tenders adequately?


-          Does it publicise evaluation reports for public scrutiny?

-         Are all staff promotions made on merit and ability?

-          Are major tenders properly and widely advertised? Do the tender board comprise persons of integrity? Do they enjoy public trust?

3.        Availability of Information, Education and  Communication (IEC) for public education

Keeping the public adequately informed through IEC activity increases transparency; enhances public appreciation of municipal efforts; promotes greater public participation in municipal endeavours; reduces opportunities for corruption, and earns respect and confidence of the public. IEC makes the public aware of the local government’s strategic vision for the city, the challenges it faces, the programmes with which it responds, (including their costs and development goals), and the ways in which people can participate and supplement the city development initiatives at their own levels. Keeping the city residents informed about all municipal matters is a crucial ingredient for good governance. A lack of public information often leads to disenchantment with the municipal leadership resulting in public alienation from the municipal system.  Many City Councils, which have realised the value of IEC, publish regular newsletters, pays for periodic Radio/TV slots to explain their efforts in addressing the pressing issues; and, often use large bill boards, at vantage points in the city, displaying rules, conditions and procedures that the public need to follow, on housing, land-use, social welfare, grievance redress etc. In every Kampung community centre under the KIP programme in Surayabaya and Semarang (Indonesia), there were large notice boards, updated weekly and maintained by community volunteers themselves, with information received from different units of the city administration, giving basic statistics of the community (births, deaths, population by age & sex); number pregnant; number fully immunised; date of next visit by municipal health, education and other officials; procedures to obtain various types of municipal services; important telephone numbers of city departments etc. In many large cities in India, municipalities, in collaboration with NGOs, organise public hearings on matters of special interest to the city. In Chennai (former Madras), India, the city office has installed huge roadside billboards with attractive messages on health, family planning, low-income housing and land-use issues. In Guntur, India, large signboards at public works sites display the contractors’ name, address, detailed specifications of the job, the amount contracted for and the contact address for complaints.


-          Does your City Council pay adequate attention to IEC?


-          Are the measures effective? Do they use vantage public spaces meaningfully for the purpose?

-          Does the City Office run a web-site/publish a municipal newsletter for public information?

-          Does your city office have a public information counter served by a trained and informed public relations officer?

-          Are residents content with the quantity and quality of information they receive from the city office?

Responsiveness of Urban Governance

Institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders.

Good governance is responsive governance. At its heart is the well being of its constituency. There are three cardinal pre-conditions for responsiveness. They are:

  • Making ‘the best interests of the constituents’ the primary goal of governance.

  • Ensuring that simple and effective mechanisms are institutionalised within the City administration to regularly ascertain the needs and aspirations of the constituents.

  • Making sure that a core team of committed, trained and well-informed municipal officials is available in the city office to interact with the public, provide information, redress grievances, understand their changing needs, and perceptions and initiate, plan and manage appropriate responses.

Responsive governance is good at listening, patient with criticism, slow to anger, quick in compassion and prompt in action.

What follows are some indicators of responsiveness

23.                 Municipal staff training to generate responsiveness and efficiency

Local governments not only should have appropriate mechanisms to ascertain peoples’ needs, aspirations and contentment levels but also should have personnel who are trained and skilled to meet their needs; who can churn the knowledge gained about people into well packaged municipal actions. If the personnel are untrained, they will not be responsive as they can be. That will make local governance ineffective. The saddest part of local governance in most third world countries is its inability or unwillingness to recognise the value of human resources development, particularly staff training. The enthusiasm and interest that municipal leaders often show in people when there is a vacancy to fill wanes out immediately thereafter leaving the person at the mercy of his/her own capacity and initiative. Having done the ‘favour’, seldom do these leaders show any further interest in the person and his professional development. They realise very little that such disinterest in staff development not only harms the person but also the institution. Most of the UNCHS/Habitat ‘Good Practice’ projects teach us a very important practice lesson. Good practice is not an accident. To produce them, staff must receive good training. In the early 1980s, NADI Kampong improvement programme in Kuala Lumpur spent substantial resources to produce training material, train the trainers and ensure that not only all senior and mid managerial staff but also the related senior officials of the Ministry of the Federal Territories, which had overseeing responsibilities for the project, were properly trained to work with the residents rather than work for them.

-          Does your city administration have an effective training strategy and an annual work plan for training?

-          Are the staff adequately consulted when training plans are prepared?


-         Does it have an active staff-training unit?

-         Approximately, what percentage of staff is adequately trained?

-          Are those trained currently handling work for which they are trained?

-         Are there any institutional arrangements that encourage the staff to pursue self-study and learning?


24.     Availability of mechanisms to address public grievances and views and their effectiveness

Good governance also means paying prompt and due attention to residents' views, queries and grievances. Unheard and unheeded voices have the potential to breed public discontent and anger leading to political and administrative discomfort. Responsive city governments adopt different methods and mechanisms to maintain effective public relations. They include the installation of a city Ombudsperson, complaints register, public hearings, open-days for city officials to meet the public, and Meet Your Mayor sessions.

In some cities, periodic meeting are arranged for representative of CBOs/NGOs to meet with the Mayors/President/C.E.O’s of the municipality, where as the residents’ representatives are encouraged to present their problem s, grievances, complaints and views regarding the municipal activities.

The mere availability of such mechanisms will not be enough. They must be well implemented if the citizens are to benefit from them.

-          Are the residents of your city generally satisfied with the mechanisms available to them to channel their grievances, views and suggestions?

-         Do they receive prompt attention from the municipal authorities?

-         Are those mechanisms effective and adequate?

25.     Adequacy of budget for and management of basic services

In many cities, basic services are lacking due to a lack of funds. In some cases, budgetary allocations have dwindled over the years. Good urban governance will ensure that a major portion of the city’s budget is spent on providing basic minimum needs and standards of its residents.

As the city populations grow, many developing countries find the demand for urban basic services in cities outpacing the supply. In some cities, antiquated service systems, particularly water, sanitation and sewerage, built decades ago to service a mere fraction of the present population, are now loaded to the point of burst. They are not only a health hazard.  They are a management hazard too for their repairs are too many and too often, oft times sending the municipal financial projections off the hook. On some occasions, where governance is weak, basic services have become costly and inadequate due to poor management. Studies done in the early 1990s have revealed that nearly half the treated safe drinking water in New Delhi and Hanoi was unbilled due to leakage, wastage and illegal tapping. Therefore, increased budgetary allocations may not necessarily mean responsive governance especially if the management is poor or corrupt, water is permitted to go to waste and the laws are not enforced due to inability or unwillingness to charge the violators. Consequently, Good governance means proper funding and managing. World Bank, UNICEF and DFID supported municipal – NGO – CBO partnership programmes for urban basic services have proved that, given the opportunity, community based organisations can substantially reduce community level leakage, wastage and bad handling of basic services.

-          Does the City allocate sufficient funds for basic services delivery and management?


-          Is delivery and management of basic services in your city satisfactory?

-          Has the city office been able to tackle the issue of unbilled services’?


-          Has it shown courage in enforcing municipal regulations strictly without fear or favour?


-         Does the city office encourage and support NGOs & CBOs to get involved in basic services delivery work in the city?


26.     Quality of municipal roads, and city transport in the city?

The quality of roads and of their use is a pointer to the attitude and ability of an urban administration to serve its residents. It is also a good indicator of the level of discipline, tolerance, aesthetics and sanitary consciousness of the society. Road must be a safe place for the motorist as well as for the pedestrian. It must make travelling between two points a joyful learning experience. Public health research has established a correlation between roads and productivity of city workers. When travelling to workplace is a joyful experience, behaviour, motivation and productivity show a remarkable upswing. Investment in city roads is therefore an investment for greater economic productivity in the city. It is not a mere consumption expenditure. It is an economic input. The ever increasing numbers of people and vehicles in the city call the city governments to provide good roads. Providing good roads is not enough. People expect the city administration to ensure a good intra-city transport system; well maintained roads and a regulated flow with minimum snarls in peak hours. That is why responsive urban administrations pay adequate attention to city roads and transport.

-          Is the city office doing a good job in urban transport development?

-          Is your city transportation system effective? Is the public transport service reliable, clean and adequate?

-          Are the roads well maintained?

-          Is travel within the city fun?

-         Is city traffic well regulated and managed?


27.     Municipal programmes to care for women and children and youth

Responsive city governments will pay special attention to the needs of women, children and youth. Investment in their development is an investment for the city’s future. These groups are vulnerable to social pressures and need special facilities and safety-nets. Early school leaving by children of the poor is becoming more pronounced in urban areas of Asia. So, is the incidence of street children and child labour. Youth too need special protection against substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and sexual promiscuity. Women require special protection against violence; vocational skills; and credit support for self-employment.

In many cities, the city administration has promoted the civil society to provide pre-schools, vocational training, etc. for their poor. In Hyberdabad, India, the municipality has been conducting over 300 pre-schools for the poor since the early 1980’s. Municipalities also provide children’s libraries, parks and play areas. Through the Urban Basic Services programme initially supported by UNICEF, city councils in many countries all over the world provided urban poor women with numerous opportunities to organise themselves into neighbourhood development committees; start micro savings and credit programmes and to follow training programmes to sharpen their community leadership skills.

-         Does the city office provide adequate funds and support for child and youth development programmes for women, children and youth?

Consensus Orientation in Urban Governance

Good governance mediates differing interests to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the group and, where possible, on policies and procedures.

Governance by consensus is a age-old democratic principle. Elected local bodies always struggled to uphold this governance principle. But divided among themselves into political hues and colours, the attempts are seldom successful. Moreover, the consultative process employed through council meetings and committee systems within the City Council is not the best suited for the purpose for they seek consensus among those who are already divided into ruling and opposing parties.

There is a growing fund of new experience in seeking neutral third party views for municipal consensus building. The third party here is the civil society organisations, including eminent persons and the private sector. They are brought into the consensus building exercise through issue-based special consultations, seminars, workshops, community opinion surveys, Gallup polls, public hearings, electronic media talk-shops etc., The city officials and elected councillors too participate in these para-conciliar roundtables and mediations which often help achieve consensus.

All party consultations are another proven method of political consensus building. Keeping all stakeholders informed and involved is key to good governance. Such inter-party consultations convened well before the tabling of major municipal policies, strategies and programmes for Council debate and adoption have helped resolve key conflict areas amicably before the formal debate. Such consensus building will not only help iron out ideological and political clash-points and differences but also will foster mutual trust and confidence among the political factions and build benevolent cooperativeness. They also ensure that economic, social and political priorities of the local government are based on broad consensus. That ensures sustainability too.

23.     Availability of all party consensus on major municipal strategies

It is necessary that city councils have an all-party agreement on any major development thrust for the city i.e., employment & job creation, poverty reduction, housing for the poor, city transport. Such consensus will ensure continuity of programmes and prevent wastage of public funds owing to the dumping of favourite projects of the outgoing administration at every change of government. In democratic governance, even the parties in opposition are partners. They bring in experience and represent the public opinion of a segment of the city population. It is therefore, again a waste of public funds to maintain an opposition and not to use its expertise. Good local governments make every effort to seek all party consensus before major motions are promoted. They take the form of informal consultations, not debates. Where such mechanisms are effectively and consistently used, there is hope for good urban governance.

-          Does your city council use all-party consultations regularly for consensus building?

-          If it does, are those held regularly? Does it have a reputation for working together and for joint policy planning?

-         Does their interest in city development transcend party barriers?

24.     Use of mass media for public consensus building

Consensus building is important not only within the city council but also outside it.  It is necessary that citizens be also taken on board when major changes or development efforts are considered for the city. Their views are useful in sharpening the proposals to be responsive to the real needs of citizens. Their backing and support too are equally important for successful execution of the intended proposals. Mass media are an effective medium for such consensus building. Larger cities have direct and easy access to mass media. Smaller ones too can get mass media attention if the ideas and issues are properly packaged and presented through local correspondents. Larger cities can even negotiate with major newspapers and TV/Radio stations and explore possibilities of their publishing/broadcasting a weekly or fortnightly magazine on city news. Enterprising city governments will even offer to edit/produce the script at own cost. Whatever the form or pattern in the use of mass media, the important thing is to use them to build consensus among city dwellers on important city matters. Some mayors encourage direct-line talk shows, fielding questions from residents live on T.V. and radio. It is the role of good urban governance to ensure that all city dwellers, not only understand municipal strategies and programmes, but also acknowledge that they can effectively address the city’s needs and aspirations.

-          Is your city using the mass media effectively to generate public dialogue and consensus on important issues?

-          How often do you find the city administration making mass-media efforts?

-          Are you satisfied that it is making the best possible effort?

-         Or, are they only a public relations exercise to boost the image of the mayor or some other municipal leaders?


25.     Promotion of issue-based discussions among senior municipal officials before major council debates

Compartmentalised behaviour of city officials merely looks after each one’s own area of work can lead to bureaucratic myopism and turf-protection. Municipal bureaucracy must be urged and helped to have a macro-vision about the work of the city government as a whole and must be encouraged to look at one’s work and responsibility as a composite, integral part of a larger operational thrust to help residents meet their needs and aspirations. One important link in this approach is in-house consensus creation, first among the s/elected councillors and then among the officials who are expected to make such consensus operational. Regular discussion sessions where, on rotation basis, a department is asked to present their major strategies, challenges and constraints and other departments are encouraged to give their comments and ideas and alternatives is a commonly used method of consensus building among officials. Another, though not much in vogue yet, but more effective than the first, is the assigning of an insightful mid-level manager or two from one department to another on a review mission and to get him/her to present a mission report giving a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the studied department’s strategic vision, priorities, challenges, constraints and shortcomings. Good governance means always searching for new ways to get things done and also getting the municipal staff develop broader personal interests beyond their immediate realms of action.

-          Do senior officials of your municipality get together to deliberate on important council matters with a view to finding effective and non-expensive solutions and alternatives to improve city administration and its effectiveness?

-          Are there thematic strategy and study groups for major priority areas of the municipality?

-         Are these groups/meetings productive?

Accountability in Urban Governance

Decision-makers in government, the private sector and civil society organisations are accountable to the public, as well as to institutional stakeholders. This accountability differs depending on the organisation and whether the decision is internal or external to the organisation.

Local Government is accountable to two major superiors. On one hand it is accountable to the people who elect the City Council and expect results. On the other, it is accountable to the state for administrative and fiscal compliance with state norms, audits and political vision.  While the former responsibility is discharged to the people through the council representatives, the latter is done through various state institutions, particularly the Commission/Department of Local Administration/Government Services or Local Administration.

Accountability means ensuring the rule of law, transparency of action, responsiveness to peoples’ needs and wishes, equity in the distribution of the dividends of local governance, and effectiveness in reaching people and improving their well being.

It also means capacity building and upgrading city council skills to help, facilitate and manage urban change to the desired levels. A concern for urban governance today is its serious lack of effective management systems and skills. Lack of target orientation and change-ushering work-plan culture too plagues many of them. Resistance to change-oriented management systems too retards effectiveness. Lack of managerial skills to steer the governance vehicle efficiently towards that change weakens accountability.

Often, the quality of accountability is enhanced through:

§         rationalising human resources,

§         maximising the change-ushering capacity of the municipal system,

§         setting realistic & responsive targets,

§         delegating responsibility and authority,

§         information networking,

§         consistent staff performance assessment, and

§         merit-based promotions.


23.     Degree of decentralisation and delegation of authority

Decentralisation brings about greater democratic participation in the city. It also puts city operations in harmony with peoples’ needs and expectations. Delegation of authority is essential for effective decentralisation. Where delegation is absent, decentralisation will loose teeth and power. Most municipalities mistake out-posting of personnel to ward or district level sub-offices as decentralisation. In actual practice, such out-posting without delegated authority, disaggregated targets and budgets can only be called ‘bottlenecking’ for they in the sub offices will not have the initiative to be proactive, innovative and responsive without going through a time-consuming prior approval process each time they want to respond quickly to new needs, situations and challenges. Good governance ensures that every member in the governance team has sufficient degree of delegated authority and also resources to accomplish the assigned tasks efficiently and effectively.

-          Is your city administration adequately decentralised?

-          Is the city budget sufficiently disaggregated?

-         Are the senior and mid management level staff well trained in devolution of power, decentralised planning and management methods and processes?


24.     Quality of Monitoring the implementation of Delegated Tasks

A critical aspect of decentralisation and delegation is the availability of appropriate and effective management apparatus to periodically ascertain whether delegation has been effective and not abused. Decentralisation and delegation do not mean leading the flock to the woods and letting them lose. A good shepherd will pitch his tent at a vantage point and stay around to oversee and protect the flock. Good governance is like the good shepherd. For it, delegation does not mean relegation or dereliction of responsibility. In fact, the responsibility is grater when a host of others control the operations. Therefore, good governance systems must ensure that effective standards and monitoring tools are available within the city government to measure the progress and impact of implementation of the delegated tasks.

-          Does your city government employ sound tools for measuring progress and impact of projects/programmes?

-          Do the tools of monitoring also measure the capabilities of the manager who carries out assignments?

-          Have these tools been effective?


25.      Quality of Human Resources Management

To keep pace with the ever-growing demands of ever increasing populations, city administrations must be target - oriented and performance conscious. Located in the best of commercial and communication hubs of the country, there is no reason why city governments cannot learn from the corporate management practices and discipline and improve their own human resources management systems. The staff at all levels must be trained and oriented towards customer satisfaction, public participation and poverty reduction. If political and administrative will is there, there will be many institutions to render technical assistance, even voluntarily, to upgrade municipal HRD systems with good practices of target setting, job classification, human resources planning and target-related performance evaluation.

-          Does your city administration have a sound human resources management system?

-          Is it achievement-oriented with periodic target setting exercises?

-          Does it adopt a consultative process with senior staff members to assign special responsibilities and set targets for achievement during the year?

-          Does it use the private sector expertise in upgrading personnel management systems?

-         Are you satisfied with the human resources planning and management quality in your city office?


26.     Consistency between defined hierarchical structure and actual delegation

Public administration is often plagued by the high incidence of inconsistency between the hierarchical structure approved in the Organisation Chart and the actual delegation of tasks. Often, they are incomplete contravention of what the Chart stipulates. Compared to the private sector, the incidence is much higher due to political interference, lack of checks and balances and ineffective grievance redress systems. The net result is staff demoralisation, in-fighting and gross inefficiency. Eradicating this practice may not be possible, yet, good governance must be able to minimise it to levels that it will not affect the overall efficiency and corporate goals of the city administration.

-          Is the inconsistency between the officially approved hierarchical structure and actual delegation of task a big problem in your city administration?

-         If yes, have remedial actions been taken?


27.     Municipal attention on recycling of waste

Recycling of waste, both solid and liquid, is an important urban intervention. It is not only an environmental action but also a sound accountability action. Efficient handling of the increasing volume of city waste indicates a high sense of city office responsiveness and accountability. It also depicts good governance.


-          Does your city government pay sufficient attention to the possibilities of recycling waste?

-         Are there recycling operations already initiated by the city office?


28.     Participation in major governance networks

There are many global and regional networks that urban local governments can participate in and benefit from. They focus on different aspects of urban governance and aim at helping city administrations improve their governance. They promote cross fertilisation of good urban practices; arrange for training of municipal personnel; encourage inter-country and intra-country urban dialogue and inter-city partnerships; facilitate or conduct urban research and comparative analyses of urban systems and services; and disseminate usable information through publications, web-sites and conferences. Where requested, many of these networks are ready to provide short-term consultancy support for review/evaluation missions.  Some of these major networks are The UNDP/UNCHS Urban Management Programme (UMP), MEGA-CITIES Project, UNCHS/Habitat Global Urban Observatory (for urban indicators), CityNet, Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR), Asia Pacific Cities Forum, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), TRISHNET, The Urban Governance Initiative (TUGI). Cities are not born with good governance. They are created through human enterprise.  They must learn from the success of others and these networks provide the best opportunity for that. Good governance cities are generally members of one or more of these networks.


-          Does your city participate in any global or regional urban networks?

-          If it does, is it benefiting from that partnership?

-         What technical support does your city get from these networks?

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Comments and suggestions to - hsrinivas@gdrc.org