of Good Urban
With Special Reference to Asia
and the Pacific
These suggested indicators are aimed at:
Measuring the quality of governance of the political
and administrative regimes of the city viz. a viz. the situations (or
conditions) they are in, the mechanisms, institutions and processes that
they employ to combat the problems that stress them and the effectiveness
of their responses in solving those problems; and
Depict the process and direction the governance systems
are taking in the city.
The purpose of these indicators is to encourage and assist
the urban local government institutions and their civil society and corporate
sector partners in understanding and appreciating:
the need for good governance;
the need for regular assessment of their performance to
determine and address the strengths and weakness of the city’s political
and administrative mechanisms;
the ways and measurement of good urban governance; and
the urgent need to use the methodology and indicators
The expected major outcomes from the use of this set of
A novel urban partnership culture that respects the
need and responsibility of each other to keep an adequate cooperative tab
on the processes of city planning, administration and governance.
A readily available and regularly updated,
comprehensive database to measure the status & trends of the City’s
governance and its impact.
Constantly improving city governance, which is
responsive, responsible and accountable to the governed.
Criteria Used for the Selection of Indicators
In compiling these two sets of indicators of urban good
governance, there were several primary considerations. They were selected
after ascertaining that the data sought by each indicator:
are readily available and easily collectable at the
can really help assess governance and
can, where required, effectively help change governance
are easy to understand and use by the assessors and
do not require the use of survey and studies
The selected indicators are those that can help guide urban
policy directions, participatory governance and greater municipal
responsiveness to needs and aspirations of the residents.
This set of indicators is aimed at stimulating urban local
governments and their partners to undertake a periodic exercise of
participatory self-assessment to ascertain:
the direction their local urban governance is
the impact of such governance in the short rum; and
the vibrancy of democratic participation in local
governance. This will be a participatory joint exercise and therefore, the
following partners will be the users of these indicators:
national, sub-national and urban local governments;
international development agencies;
civil society organizations;
representative organizations of the city’s
citizens, particularly the urban poor groups;
women’s groups; and
children between 15 – 18 years.
Two levels of indicators
Just consider how medical examinations are held to check
the health status of human beings. They are generally done in two stages.
First, the physician does a primary examination with basic instruments like
the stethoscope. She checks the pulse-rate or puts the client on a treadmill.
These are simple tests. Having ascertained the basic condition of health, she
puts the patient through a series of pathological and other advanced hi-tech
tests to complete the checking up process.
Similarly, here in this Source Book, we are recommending a
two-tier approach to determine how healthy the urban governance in your city
is. Consequently, we suggest here for your use, two sets of indicators of Good
Governance. The first is meant to be an instrument of qualitative primary
examination – just a report card. The second is a more advanced quantitative
and somewhat high-tech pathological test.
drive-force indicators. They indicate the performance of the key driving
forces of the governance process in the city. Good governance being an
amalgam of systems, procedures and processes, the indicators included in
this set are basically CSR level indicators. It is a mid-course
pulse-checker. Therefore, its emphasis is on the institutions systems and
processes of governance and not much on delivery of basic services, which
are generally listed for programme reviews. The indicators suggested here
are for periodic performance assessment and, not for outcome evaluations.
They indicate whether the course of governance is on the right track and
which areas of city governance need improvement. By applying this set of
simple and perceptive indicators, the stakeholders will be able to make a
fair assessment of the strength, weaknesses and direction of the city’s
governing process. This set of indicators has an in-built rating system.
It provides for performance rating against each indicator along a rating
range of 1 to 4. For excellent, high, good and moderate performance, the
respondent gives 4, 3, 2, and 1 points respectively. For low performance,
no points are given, for these indicators are to assess good governance
and not low performance.
This report card containing 50 indicators is recommended
for use by municipal institutions if they are keen on doing an internal
assessment using the perceptions and ratings of their own staff members and
councillors. They can use this card as it is as the indicators given are
considered the basic minimum aspects which municipal good governance must
have. It can also be administered outside the municipal system, including
civil society partners.
The Source Book also offers a set of desegregated report
cards, indifferent colours, that gives the users the freedom to create their
own indicators. They can select either from these 50 indicators given in a
standard report card, or develop their own according to the specific needs
of the city. The Report Cards are designed for each of the main critical
areas of municipal work such as, solid waste management, water and
sanitation, poverty, job creation, health care, shelter and public
transport. Each user is free to design and use similar report cards for
other areas of critical action that are not already designed for in this
B. Extended Indicators – The pathological test: This
set is for end-of-term evaluation of the endeavour’s outcome and impact.
While the Primary Drive-Force Indicators, referred to above, will look at
the functioning of municipal systems and processes, the Extended Indicators
will help capture the effectiveness of those systems and processes in terms
of inputs, outputs, outcomes and, where possible, the final impact. Being an
optional exercise, this set of indicators does not have a rating system. It
only provides a standard norm that is achievable through good governance.
Each city can decide which of these 100 indicators are relevant to their
specific needs and conditions and use them for extended assessment in order
to ascertain whether the desired minimum norms have been achieved or not. If
most of the indicator show that norms have not been achieved, then it can be
concluded that the city governance is weak and there is much work for the
municipality to complete.
How to Use the Indicators
Set up an appropriate Task Force to coordinate the use
of these indicators. Endure that it comprises, in the least, a
representative of the mayor, NGOs, Business People and academics of the
town. Limit the number to a maximum of 10 persons.
Identify an impartial research or academic institution
to conduct the assessment.
|To use Primary Indicators – The report
||To Use Extended Indicators - The pathological test
Identify the major stakeholder groups in the city
who are concerned about city governance. E.g. Elected Municipal
Councillors; Senior Municipal Officials, CBOs, NGOs and Citizen
Committees, Private Business Establishments; Religious Leaders;
Media Correspondents; Academics and Experts; Real Estate Developers;
Select a representative sample of respondents
from these groups to administer the report card. Ensure that an
equal number of respondents is selected from each group i.e., 3, 5
or 10 from each group. The Task Force will decide on the sample
Administer the report card to the select sample
Each respondent will give a performance rating
against each of the indicators as excellent, high, good, moderate or
low. For excellent to good performance, the respondent will give 4
and 1 point respectively.
Total up the points given by all respondents.
Divide the total by the total number of
example: 50+34+64+101+82+77+33+69+80+90 = 681
divided by 10 respondents = 308
The maximum points obtainable are 400. Therefore,
calculate the percentage mark.
example: 308 x 100 = 70%
Now, assess the effectiveness of your local
governance systems using the following ratings:
The assigned institutions must convene a Stakeholders’
select from the list of extended indicators those
that the stakeholders consider as relevant to the specific needs and
conditions of your city. You are free to add or delete indicators to
suit your city’s needs.
determine against each of those selected
indicators a realistic norm/standard that is achievable through good
governance, and a 4 to 1 point scheme to rate the progress as in the
case of primary indicators.
Use the select list of indicators and realisable
norms as an instrument for detailed assessment of city governance i.e.
to ascertain whether the desired minimum norms have been achieved or
The assigned institution will then gather the data.
The Municipal administration to provide the necessary linkages and
support the collection of data.
Use the collected data to determine how many points
be given against each indicator. i.e. 4 to 1 points.
Total up the points.
The maximum points obtainable will depend on the
number of indicators used. Maximum points per indicator is 4. If 80
indicators have been used, the total score must be divided by the
maximum possible score of 80 x 4 = 320 and multiplied by100. Now, assess
the effectiveness of your local governance systems and processes using
the following ratings:
75 – 100%
50 – 75%
35 – 50%
Below 35 %
Highly Effective - We salute the Administration
Effective - But, the full potential is not fully tapped.
Good - Can do much better.
Moderate - Needs more commitment & effort.
Action Steps to Initiate the Assessment/Analysis Process
If you are one of those interested in the wellbeing of your
city, its residents and its democratic institutions, the first thing you may
wish to do is to encourage the city government and its partners to take a good
look at the way the city is being managed. The action steps leading therefrom
are easy to understand and support. The major action steps to initiate the
Ø Meet the Mayor/CEO of the city.
Ø Share THE RECOMMENDED sets of indicators of
Ø Ask how does his/her city fare viz. a viz.
Ø Convince that s/he must know the impact of
Ø Explain the political value of using the
Ø Share and explain the indicators with
senior councillors, managers, planners and NGOs.
Ø Educate the public on the assessment
process and train the end-users of the indicators.
3 Indicator modification:
Ø Select from the list the indicators that
are relevant to city’s condition & needs. Modify them to suit the
city’s specific needs.
Ø You may wish to look at some of the
municipal priority areas listed in the indicator list. These are
priority areas that emerged from a UNDP conducted Mayors’ survey in
1997. You are free to add to the list additional areas, which are
priorities for your city.
4 Set up a Task Force:
Ø Identify a research institution or a
non-governmental agency to organise and conduct the assessment. Ensure
impartiality of the organisation.
Ø Set up a Participatory Self-Assessment Task
Force, preferably under the leadership of non-partisan, non-municipal,
and academic persons.
Ø Formalise the Task Force within the
municipal administrative system.
Suggested composition is: Academic
from a university or any other high education institution; A Counsellor
nominee of the Mayor; The Chief Executive Officer or Municipal
Commissioner or Secretary; Two/three nominees each from the CBO/NGO
federations, corporate sector organisations in the city; A nominee from
main religious institutions in the city; Two senior residents co-opted
by the above members at its first meeting.
5 Survey, Analyse and Publish the results:
Ø Follow the guide on ‘How to Use the
indicators’ given on the previous page.
Ø Identify the list of correspondents to
administer the questionnaire. Ensure that each stakeholder group is
represented by an equal number of respondents.
Ø Publish the results of the survey.