The Hague | 8 – 12 July, 2013  

Course introduction

This Summercourse is developed for professionals working at donor and development organisations supporting good governance, democracy, decentralisation, local governance and public service delivery.

It discusses questions like:
– How can local governments be made more accountable to their citizens?
– In what way can a transfer of power and budgetary resources from central to local authorities lead to better services on the local level?
– How can dialogue between national governments and local stakeholders be stimulated?
– How can donor and development organisations support a more effective implementation of decentralisation?

The course provides you with tools for assessing the local contaxt of decentralisation such as the Political Economy Analysis. Attention will be paid to specific country contexts like fragile states or countries with ethnic or religious tensions. Fiscal decentralisation, sources for local income generating and social accountability issues are discussed, as well as aid modalities and the role of the donor community, a.o. by discussing Paul Smoke’s recent publication on this topic. 

Learning objectives

The course will help you:

  • assess decentralisation practices in the countries in which you work;
  • increase your insight into the various factors that influence performance at the local level;
  • judge the impact of decentralisation policies on domestic accountability;
  • design and monitor support strategies for more effective implementation of decentralisation in partner countries;
  • exchange experiences with other professionals in the field.

After successful completion of the course you will receive a certificate of The Hague Academy for Local Governance. 

The experts

Contributions come from renowned experts and practitioners with extensive experience in decentralisation and local governance in various development and (post-)conflict countries around the world. This will be among others: 

Jamie Boex, has over ten years experience in international fiscal policy analysis and reform, with direct experience in over a dozen countries around the world, including in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, Uganda, Indonesia, Georgia and Tanzania. In addition to his real-world policy work, Dr. Boex has engaged in extensive scholarly research in the field. Presently, Jamie is principal research associate at the Centre on International Development and Governance at the Urban Institute in Washington. 

The content

Day 1: Assessing decentralisation practices
The first day of the course will introduce you to various concepts and practices of decentralisation, such as motives for decentralisation; coherence between political, administrative and fiscal decentralisation; conditions for successful decentralisation and special circumstances like fragile states and countries with strong ethnic or regional tensions. At the end of day one, an assignment will help you in assessing the decentralisation practice in your own country.

Day 2: Fiscal decentralisation and local service delivery
A governance game will introduce you to the world of municipal financing, followed by a presentation by Jamie Boex, clarifying expenditure responsibilities, intergovernmental transfers, local taxes and user fees. Jamie will illustrate the theory with practices from various parts of the world and he will give you feedback and suggestions on the questions you may have. In the afternoon, Jamie will zoom in on financing local services such as water, education, health and waste collection and will analyse with you two case studies.

Day 3: Social Accountability
Decentralisation has the potential to make it easier for citizens to express and exercise their views effectively and influence government priorities and processes. But in many cases, this does not translate into practice. On the third day, we will discuss how decentralisation can contribute in making governments more accountable to their citizens. Special attention will be paid to developing partnerships with community groups, NGOs and the private sector.

Day 4: Providing effective support to decentralisation reforms
Day 4 will focus on the role of the donor community. We will talk about questions like: How to design a coherent support strategy for decentralisation? How to integrate decentralisation in sector wide approaches? How to implement (do’s and don’ts) and how to asses outcomes and impact on development goals such as the MDGs? In a final exercise you will prepare an individual action plan that describes the steps you will take for assessing and monitoring intervention strategies related to decentralisation and local service delivery in your partner country.

Day 5: Local governance in practice (half-day optional field visit)
For those who are interested, on day 5 you will have the opportunity to see in practice how a Dutch municipality manages its public services. We will go on a field visit, exchange experiences with municipal staff and discuss how their work relates to decisions made at the central government level. 

Practical information

The course fee is € 2.450,-. This includes all training-related costs as well as drinks and lunches, training materials and travel during the training. The course language is English. 

If you have questions or would like to receive more information you can contact us at  or +31 70 3738695. 

Application procedure

Deadline for the application is 10 June, 2013. Please see the application procedure page for more information and the online application form.