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A Users’ Guide to Measuring Local Governance

By: Alexandra Wilde, Shipra Narang, Marie Laberge, Luisa Moretto, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

This Guide is intended to respond to an increasing demand from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Offices and a wide range of national stakeholders for guidance on the multiplicity of tools and methods that are being used to measure, assess and monitor governance at the local level. The Guide uses the term ‘local governance’ to cover the range of governance issues that exist at the local level, including decentralization of policies and processes, the roles and inter-relationships of different actors and institutions, local democracy and local government performance. The Guide combines a discussion of theoretical/conceptual issues relating to local governance with a review of past and ongoing local governance assessment initiatives. The proliferation of different assessments and indicators has resulted in some confusion about which tools to use, how they should be applied and their weaknesses and strengths.

The Guide is essentially made up of two parts; the first part outlines what is meant by local governance and describes the kinds of issues, concepts and priorities for local governance that existing measurement and assessment tools tend to focus on. This first part also provides guidance on challenges and opportunities for assessing local governance. The guidance is based on direct feedback from users of assessment tools, a distillation of good practices, and four illustrative case study examples. The second part is the Source Guide, which is an inventory of existing assessment tools and methodologies.