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Norway

The Municipal Sector (NO0037)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Norway Action Plan 2013-2015

Action Plan Cycle: 2013

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: KS

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Education, Local Commitments, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Norway End-of-Term Report 2014-2015, Norway Second IRM Progress Report 2013-2014

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

-KS will further develop the Board Appointments Register (Styrevervregisteret) in
order to make it more accessible and easier to use and to ensure greater
registration of the interests and board appointments of elected representatives
and municipal managers.
- KS will make efforts to further develop KOSTRA (Municipality-State Reporting)
to provide better management information, among other ways, by further
developing quality indicators and by identifying and removing data not used
actively as management information.
- KS will work to achieve open and accessible information concerning school
objectives, strategies, plans and results at all levels of the organization.
Transparency is the best driving force for improvement and quality development.
The municipal sector must therefore have access to all relevant data for
development of high quality services.
 - KS will further examine dual role issues in connection with the revision of KS’s
recommendations concerning sound municipal ownership, tentatively in autumn
2013.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

25. The municipal sector

Commitment Text:

[…]The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) is the interest organization and employers’ association of the municipal sector. All municipalities and county authorities are members of KS.

Commitment Description

       KS will further develop the Board Appointments Register (Styrevervregisteret) in order to make it more accessible and easier to use and to ensure greater registration of the interests and board appointments of elected representatives and municipal managers.

       KS will make efforts to further develop KOSTRA (Municipality-State Reporting) to provide better management information, among other ways, by further developing quality indicators and by identifying and removing data not used actively as management information.

       KS will work to achieve open and accessible information concerning school objectives, strategies, plans and results at all levels of the organization. Transparency is the best driving force for improvement and quality development. The municipal sector must therefore have access to all relevant data for development of high quality services.

       KS will further examine dual role issues in connection with the revision of KS’s recommendations concerning sound municipal ownership, tentatively in autumn 2013.

Responsible institution: Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS)

Supporting institution(s): None

Start date: Ongoing           End date: Unclear

Editorial note: The text of the commitments was abridged for formatting reasons. For the full text of the commitment, please see http://bit.ly/1QlVIja.

Policy Aim

This commitment addresses a broad range of issues regarding municipal governance and performance measurement. The commitment includes a number of activities undertaken by a civil society organization (CSO)—the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS)—charged with improving the quality and efficiency of municipal government. Information on municipal governments is partially available on national registry sites and more often on local government websites, but is generally not standardized. The quality also varies significantly from region to region, according to the different policies, infrastructures, and political priorities of different municipal and local governments. This can frustrate coordination and national level programming aimed at the municipal level. This commitment aims to improve access to information on municipal governance generally, and includes a specific focus on board appointments, technical indicators, and strategic plans in the education sector.

Status

Mid-term: Limited
KS created the Board Appointment Register, which provides an overview of board appointments and other important roles and interests for about 39,000 elected leaders. KS reports that the milestone regarding KOSTRA (municipality-state reporting) and schooling data are in progress while no progress has been made on accessible information concerning school objectives, strategies, plans, and results. KS also reports that work on examining dual role issues in connection with the revision of KS’s recommendations has not started. While these milestones are targeted at preventing corruption at the municipal level, KS’s status as a CSO seems to have inhibited progress on fulfillment.

End-of-term:  Substantial
Some progress has been made in almost all of the areas addressed by this commitment, and significant progress has been made on some. The Board Appointments Register (Styrevervregisteret, http://www.styrevervregisteret.no/) has been further developed to include 1) specific information on individuals, 2) automatic updates from Norway’s public register (https://www.brreg.no/), and 3) online editing functionality for users’ own profiles and email alerts for users. The municipal reporting mechanism, KOSTRA, underwent an external evaluation,[Note 138: Marianne Holmesland, Simen Pedersen, and Vibeke Wøien Hansen, “Rapport Forenkling av rapporterings-, dokumentasjons- og rutinekrav i helse- og omsorgssektoren og fysisk planlegging, areal og miljø,” Rambøll (2015), accessed September 9, 2016, http://www.ks.no/contentassets/557a8a1ecd4f40a486fa5f1ddead71b3/rapport-forenkling-av-dokumentasjons--rapporterings--og-rutinekrav_final.pdf?id=24671. ] which led to the inclusion of two additional quality indicators and discussion about the implementation of an Application Program Interface (API) for KOSTRA data. These are now incorporated into the KOSTRA platform.[Note 139: ”KOSTRA - KOmmune-STat-RApportering, 2015, reviderte tall,” Norwegian Bureau of Statistics, accessed September 8, 2016, https://www.ssb.no/kostrahoved/?fane=om#content. ] KS has also produced recommendations on dual role issues concerning municipal ownership, which are available at http://www.ks.no.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Marginal

Easy accessibility of information on municipal governing bodies is an important component of increasing openness at the municipal government level, and the importance of municipal governance has been repeatedly stressed in several consultations the IRM researcher held while preparing this report. It is also clear from the research for this report that implementation of this commitment through a CSO was a challenge, keeping the commitment’s objectives from being realized. This was at least in part due to the complex institutional relationships involved in municipal governance. Non-governmental actors do not always have the legitimacy, authority, or social capital necessary to engage with government counterparts in the ways that other government actors might. Nor do they have direct control over relevant budget lines or administrative processes. The IRM researcher wonders whether this commitment could have achieved greater openness of government if it were implemented and “owned” by a government agency.

Carried forward?

This commitment has not been carried forward in the Norwegian government’s third national action plan, which is available on the OGP website.[Note 140: ”Norway’s third action plan Open Government Partnership (OGP),” Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, accessed September 4, 2016, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Norway_2016-17_NAP.pdf.]


Commitments

Open Government Partnership