Main Component – Advisory Assistance for Cities and Towns

Over the period of January until October, the Association of Polish Cities advisor team supported 54 cities and towns participating in the second stage of the grant competition, including 38 member cities, in the process of drafting Local Development Plans and Institutional Development Plans.

Assistance measures included support in the area of updating and enhancing the social-and-economic local situation diagnosis (with the use of the Local Development Monitor and data sets from the POLTAX, Social Security Authority (ZUS) and Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (KRUS) systems), extended opinion polls in the young people’s and business communities, assistance in defining urban development directions and priorities for action (the so-called New Development Path), drafting project suites and project conjecture assessment in terms of the state aid component, and financial and risk analyses. The final local urban work outcome involved the drafting of Complete Project Proposals and formal applications.

Cities and towns expressed high appreciation for assistance provided by advisors employed by the Association of Polish Cities as part of the project. The total value of projects described in applications filed as part of the competition exceeded PLN 2.1 billion. The competition will allow selection of projects filed by approximately 15 cities and towns, their value no higher than PLN 450 million.

OECD Component– “Public Governance Review at the Local Authority Level”

The component of co-operation between the Association of Polish Cities and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) titled “Better Governance, Planning and Services in Local Self‑Governments in Poland” has been designed to deliver specific “Local Development” Programme sections: know-how and recommendations by a third-party international organisation in the field of development policy delivery effectiveness, and reinforcing the institutional capacity of Local Government Units in Poland.

Over the period of January until May 2020, four several-day in-depth interviews were held at nine Local Government Units (Katowice, Ziębice, Krotoszyn, Kutno, Międzyrzec Podlaski – town and rural municipality, Płock, Łubianka, Łańcut county, Upper Silesian and Zagłębie Metropolis), representatives of central institutions joining the effort. In the wake of two workshop sessions attended i.a. by representatives of 54 cities and towns taking part in the Local Development Programme, the institutional development Self-Assessment Tool designed by the OECD was presented in its final version in the fourth quarter of 2020. A Local Development Forum seminar with a focus on the newly developed tool was held on 17 December. Over the period of September until December, 2 rounds of consultations were held for the “Better Governance, Planning and Services in Local Self‑Governments in Poland” Report wherein the OECD would present the governance status at Polish Local Government Units coupled with a set of related recommendations.

Bilateral Co-operation

In delivering the component of bilateral co-operation with donor countries, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) (assisted by the Association of Polish Cities) organised 4 study visits to Norway for 69 representatives of cities and towns: two regular and two online visits.

The agenda of each visit included a presentation prepared by the KS, describing the Norwegian local government system. Furthermore, in the course of each visit participants were given an opportunity to explore activities engaged in by host Norwegian municipalities, including the following:

- Development activity implementation methods: idea to consultations and outcomes, including presentations of tools used at every stage,

- Key aspects of development process delivery: problem analysis to procedure approval, funding, implementation and assessment,

- Presentation of mechanisms and tools of co-operation between local governments and municipal units,

- Role of ethics in Local Government Units – preserving high ethical standards, delivering training courses on ethics, and organising activities to counter mobbing – policy drafting and implementation.

Furthermore, the agenda for the second visit included a meeting between a group of mayors and Ms. Iwona Woicka-Żuławska, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to the Kingdom of Norway.

Study visit themes:

Visit No. 1 – Bodo
: local resident outflux; air pollution; strategic development planning; innovation in urban governance; culture-based development; post-industrial area revitalisation; collaboration between local governments.

Visit No. 2 – Fredrikstad and Halden:
municipal development planning; change design with local resident participation; making local residents part of spatial planning efforts; drafting ethical standards for the local authority; Smart City concept; rules of inspections and audits held at local authorities.

Visit No. 3 (online) – Porsgrunn:
Local Development Plan for Porsgrunn – a holistic perspective, spatial and environmental planning; Porsgrunn’s digital transformation strategy; ethical standards and anti-corruption regulations in the municipality.

Visit No. 4 (online) – Arendal
: Local Development Plan for Arendal 2020-2030; Arendal – a good place to live for everyone (universal design); economic development as part of the Local Development Plan; environmental and climate protection plan.

Moreover, Norwegian experts attended the Local Development Forum and DiverCity4 seminar; the KS prepared a bilateral co-operation guidebook for Norwegian and Polish municipalities chosen to assist Local Government Units in the process of fine-tuning co-operation details once the grant competition has been resolved.

Local Development Forum

The Local Development Forum is an integrated package of activities designed to promote sustainable local development attitudes and tools. All activities are held as part of the predefined project delivered by the Association, and forming part of the “Local Development” Programme.

The Local Development Forum concept is based on working directly with cities and towns, delivering seminars, workshops and nationwide conferences, setting up experience exchange networks, and disseminating local development products and tools.

In the spring of 2020, the Local Development Forum launched a series of open online seminars addressing representatives of towns (formally small and medium-sized), titled «THE USE OF ENDOGENOUS POTENTIALS AS A CONDITION FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED TOWN DEVELOPMENT IN POLAND». All seminars explore urban resources which might be launched and used for local development purposes.

Seminar attendance will enable cities and towns to:

• Improve local development resource and factor identification and activation skills,

• Improve urban development policy governance skills,

• Exchange knowledge with other cities and towns facing similar challenges.

Fourteen Local Development Forum editions were held prior to year-end 2020. Seminars are open to all registered participants in ClickMeeting format and streamed on Facebook. In 2020, 3,969 participants attended.

The seminar speaker team included the following: 11 representatives of central institutions, 63 experts and 61 representatives of 53 cities and towns (local government officials, heads of municipal entities and urban authority staff).

We set up a website for the Forum (www.forum-rozwoju-lokalnego.pl). Seminar materials and presentations have been uploaded to the website, alongside multiple other publications and compilations, including 131 presentations, 98 descriptions of good practices followed by our member cities and towns, 7 auteur essays by Association of Polish Cities experts, and 36 third-party publications with a local development focus. We are publishing day-to-day information concerning Forum activities, also on our main portal: www.miasta.pl.

Over 2,300 web users visited the Forum’s website set up on 26 October 2020; users reached over 8,300 subsites.