Second Stage of the Predefined Project Closed
Two hundred and seventy workshops held, 1,700 advisory sessions organised, 12 tools implemented – these are but selected statistics summarising our activities as part of the second stage of the predefined project.

The crucial outcome of the second stage of the training-and-advisory project “Endogenic Potential Activation as a Condition of Small and Medium-sized City/Town Development in Poland” in progress since 2019, organised by the Association of Polish Cities to support local governments includes 54 project applications filed with the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy by year-end 2020. The formal appraisal process in now underway.

It is noteworthy that the purpose of the so-called predefined project delivered by the Association of Polish Cities is to support the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy as operator of the “Local Development” Grant Programme. Participant cities and towns will be provided with an opportunity to secure funding for endeavours described in the previously mentioned applications from a pool of EUR 102 million.

With Support from Advisors

The second project stage involved i.a. work by 54 city and town advisors (local government practitioners and professional consultants) employed by the Association of Polish Cities to the explicit purpose of assisting Urban Teams responsible for drafting “Local Development” Grant Programme applications based on a pre-specified New Development Path concept, Local Development Plans and Institutional Development Plans. Teams formed in 54 cities and towns had a membership of 1,532 persons (28 individuals per municipality, on average), including 230 social partners.

City and town advisors participated i.a. in works to draft socio-economic diagnoses and financial profitability analyses for Local Development Plan and Institutional Development Plan projects. They applied 12 tools designed at the first project stage with intent to support integrated territorial governance or local resident participation in Local Government Unit work. The following instruments were applied in over 50 cities and towns: Local Development Monitor, Local Development Monitor-based strategy assessment tool, Stakeholder Mapping Tool, Young People Surveying and Consultation Tool, Logic Project Matrix, GROW Matrices and Local Development Diagnostic Charts.

Workshops, Training Sessions, Studies

Urban advisors organised 270 Local Development Plan preparation workshops attended by 1,423 participants, including 1,053 local government staff. Local administration Institutional Development Plan assistance workshops prepared by urban advisors were attended by 1,322 local government staff. Training sessions with a focus on securing high-quality public participation in the process of New Development Path outlining were held in 46 cities and towns, with an attendance of 995.

A total of 2,734 advisory services were delivered, including 514 on-site advisory sessions in cities and towns, 1,186 online (conference call format) advisory sessions and 520 training workshops, 169 of the latter online. All events were attended by 17,213 persons (313 participants per municipality, on average). The entire advisory process was attended by 3,300 persons (unique users), including 1,129 social partners.

Association of Polish Cities’ advisors played a part in drafting 781 substantive studies, including i.a. 353 analysis and research reports and 249 contributions to planning documents. Advisors were assisted by Horizontal Team representatives and Sectoral Advisors. As part of the structure comprising 12 Horizontal Teams, 272 activities or services supporting urban work were duly evidenced. They included i.a. online meetings with Local Government Units, workshops and training sessions addressing Local Government Units, advisory meetings and analytical works. Twenty Sectoral Advisors – including specialists in areas key to project success – provided assistance in 135 cases, formats comprising analyses and/or reports for Local Government Units, Local Government Unit document and/or record reviews, and tool application guidelines.

High Respondent Scoring

This stage closed in late September 2020 with a questionnaire survey addressing representatives of cities and towns taking part in the project. Two hundred and seventy-one persons (31% of the 884 Urban Team members) responded to the questionnaire.

The predefined project progress to date and Urban Advisor work were highly evaluated by 80% (including 23% “very good” scores) and 86% (including 49% “very good” scores) of respondents, respectively, a mere 5% of all respondents differing in opinion. Workshop-and-training meetings organised by Association of Polish Cities’ advisors across municipalities were highly evaluated by 85% of respondents (including 43% “very good” scores). Three percent of respondents selected the “rather poor” option. Eighty-seven percent of respondents declared that the project let them diagnose their issues and development potentials well, 85% expressing a positive opinion of the diagnosis-based New Development Path.

The predefined project was accompanied by multiple parallel promotional and educational activities (including 12 editions of Local Development Forum seminars). OECD continued working on the “Better Governance, Planning and Services in Local Self-Governments in Poland” report and a self-assessment tool for Local Government Units, as part of a project component designed to provide know-how and recommendations regarding the effectiveness of development policy implementation and strengthening the Local Government Units’ institutional potential across Poland.