State of Local Democracy Assessment Framework

State of Local Democracy
The local level assessment network

The State of Local Democracy (SoLD) Assessment Framework is designed to facilitate a citizen-led and -owned approach to assessing the quality of democracy at the local level.

State of Local Democracy Assessment Framework

The SoLD Assessment Framework is a practical resource for citizens to conduct self-assessments of democratic life in their locality, identify democratic strengths and weaknesses, and translate these into reform agendas for further broadening and deepening of their local democracies.

The framework is available in six languages: English, Spanish, French, Mongolian, Russian and Ukrainian.

The local level is often the entry point for people’s political participation and representation. The State of Local Democracy Assessment Framework enables citizens to periodically monitor the health of their local democracy using a universal framework. A democracy is healthy to the extent that its local institutions, processes and practices in place are based on (and reflect) key democratic principles and values.

It is important to recognize that the quality of democracy within a country may differ from one subnational level to another, and from one municipality to another. The ability of assessments to explore the particularities of democracy at the local level is important, not only for deepening democracy at the local level, but also for informing strategies to broaden and deepen democracy at the national level. To help citizens assess their democracy at the local level, International IDEA released the State of Local Democracy Assessment Framework in 2014.

The State of Local Democracy methodology consists of three main parts: principles and mediating values, the pillars and search questions, and a description of how to develop an assessment.

Principles and Mediating Values

In line with the State of Democracy methodology, the State of Local Democracy Assessment Framework is also based on the combination of two guiding principles and a list of mediating values.

Pillars and search questions

The assessment framework is made up of three thematic pillars and a series of questions that can be customized according to the assessment’s main focus and context. These questions will help capture the particularity of each local unit.

How to do an Assessment

The assessment framework is made up of several phases that can guide users through the process. From the first steps until the final evaluation stage, the following section provides an overview of essential activities that assessors need to consider when conducting a local democracy assessment.

The State of Local Democracy guide is the result of updating the local assessment framework developed in 2002, which was published in the Leadership for Local Democracy: a Local Democracy Assessment Guide, and was based on the International IDEA Handbook Democracy at the Local Level.