Strategic Planning in Local Public Administration: The Case of Romania
Strategic planning is an excellent tool that local governments can use to increase effectiveness of the governance process. Although Romania experienced more than four decades of national planning under the communist regime, after 1989 local authorities had major difficulties in using planning as an effective managerial tool. Access to the European Union (EU) meant significant changes, including a new approach for community development, where strategic planning has an essential role. Our main objective with this research is twofold: to analyze (1) why local authorities resort to planning and (2) how local authorities use strategic planning (characteristics of the process, results, main challenges, benefits). Our analysis indicates that more than two-thirds of local authorities are motivated by the EU funding possibilities, for which having a strategic plan is a mandatory condition. Results show that authorities have limited planning capacity, with stakeholder engagement and monitoring and evaluation being major challenges. We highlight specific details of the process through two case studies meant to offer a more comprehensive understanding of the particularities of planning in Romania, at local level.
KeywordsCluj-Napoca Baraolt Strategic planning Local governance Administrative reform Public management reform Good practice
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