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How to do an assessment

The State of Local Democracy Assessment Framework places citizens at the forefront of the democracy assessment process, with the aim of supporting home-grown policy initiatives and internally driven reform agendas. It is therefore a two-dimensional process, which combines research with inclusive dialogue and debate. It is intended to be as much an exercise in assessing the quality of democracy as an opportunity for citizens to further develop and deepen their local democracies.

A State of Local Democracy assessment can be developed by any member of the public with an interest or stake in improving local democracy. In order to be successful (and to maximize the possibility of influencing reform processes at the local level) broad participation is crucial.

To ease implementation, the process has been divided into eight consecutive phases that summarize the steps and the decisions that have to be taken into consideration.

  1. Preparation, timing and partnership building

    • ascertain the added value of a SoLD assessment;
    • agree on benchmarks;
    • plan the timing of the assessment;
    • engage reformers through partnership building;
    • establish the required financial, human and time resources.
  2. Assessment organization

    • set up a core assessment team;
    • establish a consultative team.
  3. Assessment design and work plan

    • contextualize the questionnaire;
    • establish a work plan, budget and duration;
    • public launch.
  4. Data collection and analysis

    • decide on data collection techniques;
    • data interpretation, analysis and developing a narrative.
  5. Report writing and recommendations

    • write the draft report;
    • develop recommendations;
    • identify short-, medium- and long-term options.
  6. Validation workshops and report finalization

    • organize validation workshops;
    • finalize the assessment report.
  7. Publication, dissemination, advocacy for reform

    • choose the publication format;
    • roll out dissemination and advocacy strategy.
  8. Evaluation and next steps

    • look back and evaluate the assessment;
    • consider local indicators and institutionalizing SoLD.

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