China

UMC/ICMA organized a training program on ‘Turning Municipal Performance Measurement into an Effective Management Tool’ at the 4th session of the World Urban Forum in 2008 in Nanjing, China. The training workshop's objective was to help participants grasp the basic framework and purpose of municipal performance measurement and develop skills to design, develop and operationalize the system to use it as an effective management tool for local governments and other organizations involved in the forum.

The World Urban Forum was established by the United Nations to peruse urbanization and its overall effect on living conditions. The forum is a biyearly meeting where a variety of organizations, professionals, academicians and local bodies related to urban management assemble on a common platform to discuss urban issues and their solutions.

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Training Event at World Urban Forum IV, Nanjing, China

UMC/ICMA highlighted the importance of municipal performance measurement and its use as an effective management tool during a training workshop at the World Urban Forum IV organized in 2008 in the ancient city of Nanjing, China. The workshop's aim was to train participants develop an understanding of the framework and purpose of municipal performance measurement. The workshop was drafted specifically to help build skills to design, develop and operationalize performance measurement system, identify benchmarks and turn the PM system into an effective management tool for local governments. ICMA showcased its system ‘Center for Performance Measurement’ that has served as a model and been adopted in India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Mexico while UMC served as a regional resource.

Participants were trained to review effective performance measurement models that would activate improvement in public service delivery, transparency and public decision-making in low income countries. Facilitators designed the training event using practical cases to teach the usability of PM systems to empower local governments to effectively respond to real community needs while creating management efficiencies even in financially constrained government systems. The workshop provided a platform for a discussion on the reasons to use municipal performance measurement and the benefits it gives local governments, with emphasis on

  • sound decision making
  • effective resource allocation in both low income and developed countries
  • identification of weak areas
  • improved results
  • engaging citizens
  • building partnerships by uniting diverse stakeholders and developing the potential to mitigate tension within the community

The coordinators used case studies from different urban environments like Pakistan, India and Mexico to demonstrate how PM systems have been instrumental in effective resource allocation decisions and improvement of public services, transparency and overall community development. UMC/ICMA facilitators conducting the workshop highlighted the following points during the workshop:

  • Creating municipal performance standards at the provincial level through a customized performance measurement system that provides guidance through defining specific performance benchmarks in a newly established 4-level local government system.
  • Creating a municipal classification system based on financial performance and overall institutional capacity using weighted indicators, which allows local governments to analyze their performance and progress over time, and donor organizations to identify areas of weakness and effective entry points for targeted technical assistance.
  • Providing a tool for civil society watchdog organizations to assess municipal transparency by applying performance measurement principles focusing on key areas such as public access for information, government communication, and government responsiveness. The results also inform local governments about areas susceptible to corruption and help them incorporate citizen input into decision-making processes.