The Thematic Healthy Cities Section devoted to strategic management and quality methods in public administration was held in Prague on May 21, 2015. The main issue addressed at the event, which was attended by almost a hundred participants, was strategic planning and management from the perspective of national institutions, including specific municipalities´ experiences and examples of their practices.
The Section was opened by the speeches of various ministries and viewpoints of national institutions concerning this theme were put forward. David Koppitz, head of regional policy department at the Ministry for Regional Development, brought up the question of integrated approaches. He mentioned the efforts that have been made to establish clear and easily comprehensible rules for drawing subsidies, the absence of a high-quality long-term planning process, and the ever increasing suburbanization and related demands on the quality of public services. He drew attention to the danger of dependence on European subsidies as well as to the necessity of readiness of municipalities to co-finance planned projects. Other prominent representatives from the same department, Vladimir Kvaca and David Skorna, talked about the agreed Strategic framework of public administration, the context of preparation concerning individual operational programs, and the importance of implementation and management of strategies that have been already prepared. They also referred to the intentions to interconnect existing methodologies to draw up strategies both at national and local levels and to create relevant tools such as Database of strategies which can be instrumental in its preparation and management. Roman Vrba, head of the eGovernment department, expressed the viewpoint of the Ministry of the Interior. He described the main projects in progress in this area, and he underlined the importance of these efforts by stating the well-known motto “it is not the citizen who is running around but the data”.
The Level of Cities and municipalities was opened by the speeches of Petr Svec, HCCZ director, and Milan Jan Pucek who presented his new publication called “Sustainable financial management of municipalities and regions”. This publication sums up in a concise but intelligible manner basic principles underlying sound financial management such as transparent interconnection of a budget and a strategic plan, need for approval of principles of indebtedness, focus on local self-sufficiency, and the paramount importance of transparency in the preparation and management of the budget (for more information about the publication, see here).
Examples of excellent strategic planning and management of the city council and the city itself with citizens’ participation, and with a focus on sustainable development in practice were presented by the representatives of the following cities and towns: Koprivnice, Litomerice, Steti and the city district of Prague 8. In Koprivnice, key components of the town council management and urban management – from the goals of strategies and policies to particular processes used by the council (especially those taking place in “real-life situations” and concerning the most frequent affairs addressed by the council) – were interconnected thanks to a special information system and a data reference model. Therefore, citizens can now easily understand what course of action to take and at which stage of processing their application is. Furthermore, there has been a significant improvement in efficiency of procedures and mutual awareness of other institutions such as the Employment office. The above-mentioned reference model also includes the methods of benchmarking and evaluation. The town of Koprivnice won an award from the HCCZ director “Good Practice Stamp” for its systematic approach. The representatives of the town of Litomerice described the preparation process of strategies regarding budgeting, and their unique way of selecting municipal projects intended for further financing. Basic sorting and subsequent detailed evaluation of individual project impacts on economy, environment and social sphere will be reflected in its hierarchization which will make the selection of activities to be financed clearer. The Deputy Mayor of the town of Steti mentioned cooperation with the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague on the preparation of the new zoning plan emphasizing the importance of public involvement. The representatives of Prague 8 talked about launching local Agenda 21 activities and the planned strategy preparation.
The programme, presented papers and a selection of photo documentation of the event can be found HERE.
The event was part of the HCCZ “STRATEG-2”project funded by the European Social Fund trough Operational programme Human Resources and Employment and the state budget of the Czech Republic.