On the Role of Information in Managing Development – account and video recording of the Local Development Forum Seminar
How do cities and towns use information sourced in the Local Development Monitor – a tool created by the Association of Polish Cities?

Local government officials shared their experience during a seminar held by the Local Development Forum.

On 27 January 2022, the Association of Polish Cities organised the 26th online seminar as part of the Local Development Forum agenda. This time, local government officials and experts debated the role of information in managing development and collaboration between stakeholders, with a particular focus on the Local Development Monitor tool.

The Local Development Monitor was based on the need to collect, analyse and disseminate (in one-stop-shop format) data indispensable to managing local development in Poland. The Local Development Monitor is a tool allowing synthetic assessment of the municipal socio-economic potential over time and in reference to other municipalities with similar functionalities across the national settlement structure, as well as in-depth analysis in selected municipalities on the basis of detailed data sourced in publicly available statistics and administrative sources (such as the Central Statistics Office, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of National Education). The Monitor’s purpose is to provide information allowing authorities and local partners to engage in public debate, assess the municipality, city, town or area’s circumstances, and draft a development plan basing on actual knowledge of local potential.

As an analysis tool, the Local Development Monitor serves purposes of drafting a diagnosis for the municipality’s condition, and identifying and assessing its strong and weak sides / opportunities and threats (a specialist form of the SWOT analysis). It can thus be used as a diagnostic tool when drafting strategies, plans, programmes and projects. Since the Monitor will be updated by the Association of Polish Cities annually, it can also become a tool for evaluating these strategies, plans, programmes and projects – an assessment of their impact on all basic aspects of local government unit operations. Furthermore, the Local Development Monitor can be used for purposes of drafting Municipal Condition Reports as required by law, with an indication as to how individual development aspects evolve against the reference group.

In the course of the seminar, Janusz Szewczuk, strategic advisor of the Association of Polish Cities, used Monitor-based data as a basis for discussing variations to demographics, the labour market, economic demand and demand for public services, as well as the overall COVID pandemic impact, referring to the following towns as examples: Stalowa Wola, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, Nisko and Busko Zdrój. Classified as centres under threat, all aforesaid towns part in the “Local Development” programme. Their local authorities described the process of using i.a. Local Development Monitor-sourced information to develop new development paths for their towns, working together with local officials, entrepreneurs and local residents. Representatives of the town of Rydułtowy spoke of how the Monitor can be used in practice as well.

Notably, the series of Local Development Forum seminars “Use of Endogenous Potentials as a Condition for Small- and Medium-Sized Towns Development in Poland” has been delivered as part of the “Local Development” Programme implemented by the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy pursuant to the 3rd edition of the European Economic Area and Norway Grants. The Local Development Forum is an open platform for debate between local governments, the central government and experts, and an integrated package of activities serving the purpose of promoting sustainable and endogenous local development attitudes and tools.