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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Municipality Governance Scorecard


    In order to contribute towards the improvement of good governance at local in Türkiye and the world, Argüden Governance Academy developed out a citizen-centric Municipal Governance Scorecard model. The main objective of the Model is to promote good governance, sustainable development and active citizenship at local level. Mapping and measurement of local governance climate and the sustainability positions of local authorities is the foundation for improvement of both governing processes and achieving the SDGs. The Model was developed in close alignment with the prevailing international principles for local governance and in conformity with the domestic legal context.

    Objective of the practice

    The Model aims to contribute the improvement of local good governance and achieving the SDGs as it:<br />
    • Promotes citizen-centric local good governance <br />
    • Maps and measures local governance climate for improvement<br />
    • Demands openness and transparency at local governance processes<br />
    • Increases trust among the stakeholders for participation and partnerships<br />
    • Promotes inclusive and accountable based decision-making<br />
    • Links sustainability with good governance through measurable indicators<br />
    • Supports vertical and horizontal integrated thinking <br />
    • Brings data, evidence and measurement culture forward for continuous development<br />
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    In terms of sustainability, the principles of good governance provides the perquisite conditions for stakeholders involvement and contribution to the realization of the SDGs. Mobilization of various actors’ information, capacity and resources for the realization of the SDGs require coherent framework of action. Also, integration of global, national and local plans and actions is the key for effective optimization of sustainability efforts. Changes in awareness, motivating with right incentives, defining specific actions for each actor and ensuring coordinated implementation to achieve the SDGs through local actions depend on the formation of coherent action plans and projects. The nature and quality of local good governance can facilitate and enforce such plans and efforts. Therefore the Model would improve local policy processes and partnerships in achieving the SDGs.<br />
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    Furthermore, due to the inclusion of responsibility and responsiveness principle, 12 indicators were defined to assess the sustainability approaches of municipalities. Also, available best practices were explored and promoted for peer learning among the municipalities. The indicators of the Model and each municipality scorecard with the relevant data was put into a web site to allow public access. Also, the municipalities can find out their development points for self-learning and triggering the necessary changes.

    The main beneficiaries are the municipal decision makers who are expected to improve their quality of governance through self-assessment and development actions. Citizens are also the second beneficiaries as their habitat would become more sustainable and liveable through the improvement of governing decisions and sustainable development actions. The central government and NGOs can also use the indicators, findings and recommendations to accelerate their roles in oversight and engagement with the municipalities. In the project, Sabancı University and the Federation of Istanbul Muhktars acted as partners.
    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    It is consisted of 227 measurable indicators along the seven principles of good governance: consistency/coherence, responsibility, accountability, fairness, transparency, effectiveness and deployment/participation (CRAFTED). Evidence for observation of these principles are researchable at each municipal policy stages such as decision-making, resource utilization, service provision and institutional capacity development. Another novice perspective included in the Model: the presence of a continuous learning environment within the organization for each stage of policy process. The Model is citizen-centric and based on online data collection from municipal web sites, online available documents, web search and the data acquirable from the municipalities through the “Right to Information” requests.

    As much as the development of the Model, it was necessary to assess its desired utility though practical application to the real cases. Therefore, the 37 district municipalities of Istanbul were chosen to apply it first time. After data collection and analysis, the Model gave a rich picture of governance and sustainability gaps at the district municipalities. District scorecards were shared along with the overall assessment, a collection good examples for peer-learning, and actionable proposals for different stakeholders in the Guide. According to the results obtained, the best scores were below the threshold of 65% and the lowest were above 30% in the Governance Scorecard Scale for Istanbul district municipalities. Some of the municipalities scored well in certain aspects while lagging in other areas. Generally, a discursive and practical adoption of good governance principles and sustainability exist at varying degrees at the municipalities. However, the results indicated an uneven development and patchy implementation, suggesting an ample area for development and learning from self-assessment and others through benchmarking.

    The Model, its methodology, findings and improvement recommendations were later compiled in a Guide and also shared out with the participants at 5 events in 4 different cities. The project web site is online and the Guide, all data and also relevant information is put at the service of interested actors. English version of the Guide and web site is also available for international stakeholders.

    In the following years, a repeat of the exercise will take place again to see any developments and the overall situation in Istanbul.

    After the completion of the project following outputs were achieved:
    -37 Municipal Governance Scorecard for each district
    -A Guide and web site in both Turkish and English languages.
    -One international conference
    -2 trainings for Mukhtars (Neighborhood Chiefs)
    -5 workshops at 4 different cities
    -Presentation to the Central Government Institutions (Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Court of Accounts, Province Bank, the Union of Turkish Municipalities)
    -A generic model with 227 indicators for international lesson drawing and benchmarking
    -OECD Korean Policy Center Forum presentation as best practice
    -UN Public Service Forum 2018 presentation as best practice
    -Presentations to the EU Commission Directorates
    -A webinar for the World Bank
    -Various appearances at the press

    Upon the completion of the project and after the Conference held, the leading municipalities started to use their scorecards for public communication. Also, currently the Academy is undertaking two different scorecard projects with two different NGOs, one on women-friendly municipality scorecard and another one for green municipality scorecard upon their own requests. This wan unplanned spill-over effect of the project and an indication of the success of the project as well.
    Enabling factors and constraints
    The current Turkish legislation on municipalities and public finance enabled the formation of the Model. The legislative framework incorporate most of the good governance elements. Also, Turkish national sustainable development plan requires the municipalities to be coherent with the policy in their strategic plans. Furthermore, all the stakeholders held positive attitude towards the principles of good governance and sustainable development agenda. The membership to the Council of Europe also gave international reference point as well.

    The Model is innovate due to:
    -Empirically relevant indicators for mapping and measurement
    -Use of digital space to collect data
    -Pushing as a tool for open government and public information sharing
    -Putting citizens as the main users to benefit from it for civi action
    -Empowering NGOs to take local actions for good governance and sustainable development
    Sustainability and replicability
    The Model is an innovative governance tool for sustainability as it measures the current sustainability approaches but also pushes the improvement of right culture for participatory and partnered local actions for the SDGs.

    It is cost-efficient as any concerned individual or institution can use to research their respective municipality. Hence, its implementation only requires time allocation and do not require any financial means. The Municipality Governance Scorecard is a generic model which can be modified and applicable for other countries as well.

    The Model put the good governance agenda as a priority for the municipalities, central government institutions, NGOs, academia but most importantly for citizens. Its transparent and practical usage does not leave any scepticism. As a reliable and user-friendly tool, it will help all the stakeholders to improve their quality of governing, partnership and coherent action efforts for sustainable quality of life. It is first of its kind and give a good benchmark for further developments in the future. Due to its generic model, any NGO or institution can replicate it according to their own context.

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    Name Description
    17.14 Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development
    Action Network
    SDG Good Practices First Call
    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 May 2017 (start date)
    16 April 2018 (date of completion)
    Argüden Governance Academy
    1. Europe
    Geographical coverage
    City wide
    Website/More information
    Contact Information

    Inan Izci, Local Governance Researcher