Simplification Programme for Municipalities (Simplex Autárquico)

Simplification Programme for Municipalities is the programme for simplification and modernization at the local level. It results from a voluntary decision by the Municipalities managers to participate and implement measures they consider useful for their constituencies.

Policy Context

Simplex Municipalities have already fulfilled a three years commitment.  Launched in July 2008, it started congregating measures proposed by nine municipalities. In the 2009/2010 edition, that number increased six-fold, with 60 municipalities participating.

In 2010/2011, the Simplex Municipality had 125 participating municipalities. The simplification in the local context contributes to the increase in the quality of life of the citizens, also increases economic competitivity of the municipal territory, and finally to improve the transparency of the decisions and the image of the municipalities.

The program is composed by measures that can be:
• Intersectorial: depend on the collaboration between the central and local administration.
• Intermunicipal: when the same commitment is achieved between several municipalities at he same time.
• Municipal: when they are exclusive to a municipality or a sub-municipal organization.
The elevated number of municipalities, its geographical distribution and the different administrative practices are some challenges too the coordination of this initiative. The rational management of the means and advantages associated to the integration of the simplification activities justify the establishment of coordination bases that are available to share ideas and practices.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The success of Simplex Municipality can’t be measured by the number of measures that integrate it, but for the results yielded by them. Above any political aspect, the municipalities adhere to the programme for its impact on qualification and optimization of the internal functioning of the municipal services, in the improvement of the services provided to citizens and enterprises, for the promotion of the interaction between the different public administration levels, and the reinforcement of citizenship and democracy quality.
Each municipality (and each Central Administration organisms, being it the case) responds for its share of responsibility that it had voluntarily assumed to participate in shared measures and assumes the total responsibility for the municipal measures that it integrated on the programme.
The substantial number of municipalities, it’s geographical distribution, the different administrative practices and the rational management of the means, in accordance with the integration of simplification activities, justify the establishment of a mean of coordination.
In its organizational dimension, the coordination works in different ways and levels: a municipal coordination, a intersectorial and intermunicipal coordination and a programme coordination.
In its collaborative dimension, the coordination involves a forum for debate and for sharing experiences, as well as mechanisms for public consultation and the participation of the citizens.
In its evaluation dimension, the coordination provides means for measuring and comparing the simplification actions results, through the application of common frameworks of quality indicators, by following and evaluating the impact of the measures displaced by the programme, as well as guaranteeing its wide dissemination.

Technology solution

Technology choice: Proprietary technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

The execution rate of the program has been, in the two initial editions, higher than 80%, considering that, with the number of municipalities involved and the political and economic constraints at the national level, a degree of change in the execution rate should be expected. Be stressed that the number o municipalities involved has grown more than 50% every year and all the district capitals have implemented the Simplex Municipalities.
Other results of this program are:
• Improvement of the quality of life of the citizens.
• Increase in the municipal territory competiveness.
• Improvement of the transparency of the decisions and image of the municipality.
The programs and balances of the Simplex Municipalities are annually published (in Portuguese) at http://www.simplex.pt/autarquico/02_programa_06Medidas_00index.html.
The official website (in Portuguese), includes all the public information about the program: http://www.simplex.pt/autarquico/00_index.html.

 

Lessons learnt

We stress that the next edition of the Simplex Municipalities programme will be of particular importance, considering the measure 7.30 of the Letter of Agreement on the Conditionalities of Economic Policy, imposing the enlargement of the programme to all municipalities before the end of 2013 third trimester: “Reduce administrative burdens by including municipalities and all levels of public administration within the scope of the Simplex programme [Q1-2013].”

Scope: Local (city or municipality), National
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