Empowering our communities

The pivotal role of local councils in fostering development.

The active engagement of residents in decision-making processes that directly impact their lives is paramount for ensuring long-term sustainability. This is especially crucial at the local level, where residents not only live and work but where essential services are provided and businesses thrive. Consequently, residents share a vested interest in setting objectives and collaborating to address challenges, with a focus on enhancing service efficiency, promoting equitable resource allocation, fostering social cohesion, and ensuring transparency and accountability in public governance.

Local Councils possess a distinct advantage due to their proximity to residents, which enables them to grasp local needs and priorities more intimately than any other institution. This proximity is particularly advantageous for improving public administration efficiency, advancing inclusive development, cultivating stronger relationships with community associations, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders, and offering solutions to address pressing local challenges. These challenges include social exclusion, immigration, poverty, inadequate infrastructure, urbanisation, public safety concerns, and problems related to violence and abuse, exacerbated by climate change impacts.

Quality governance is pivotal

Quality governance at the local level is pivotal for achieving sustainable development that benefits all members of the community. This entails fostering an effective and inclusive decision-making process that considers the diverse perspectives and needs of residents. Central to this endeavour is the commitment of the central government to empower local councils through legislative and regulatory frameworks, providing them with adequate autonomy and access to professional resources. Furthermore, quality governance relies on nurturing transparent and collaborative relationships with other public entities, the business community, and residents, who often provide support and resources to local councils.

Efforts to enhance public services at the local level, whether through extending existing services or providing additional ones, must be accompanied by bolstering local governance structures and investing more in administration and human resource capacities.

Similarly, other local entities should be empowered to demand greater transparency and accountability. It is imperative to ensure that local councils have the necessary tools and incentives to provide timely accountability for their work and the utmost transparency to their residents.

Applying the principle of subsidiarity

The principle of subsidiarity suggests that the central government should promote the active role of local councils as governing authorities that significantly contribute to shaping national development policies. Local councils should also be acknowledged as authorities capable of making decisions at the local level with the highest standards of transparency and accountability, thus ensuring the delivery of top-quality services to the community.

Mario Fava is the President of the Local Councils’ Association

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