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This website was created by the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI), part of the OECD Public Governance Directorate (GOV).

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Municipal Management Portal

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The Municipal Management Portal is an online platform for local government policy practitioners to learn and share expertise and build collaborative networks across Argentina and internationally. The Portal is innovative not only through new applications of technology but also because it reflects a new conceptual understanding of Argentinian local government as open, professionalised and dynamic.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Argentinian local government is relatively fragmented, stratified and unstructured in comparison with European or North American correlates. As a result, local government practitioners across Argentina are less able to work collaboratively, share resources and skills or develop their respective local government organisations.

It is in this context that the Local Innovation Network’s (Red de Innovación Local / RIL) has developed the Municipal Management Portal (Portal de Gestión Municipal). The Portal is a digital platform designed to encourage, facilitate and shape the development of Argentinian local government through collaboration and shared learning of policy methodologies.

The Municipal Management Portal operates through five functions. Firstly, ‘connect me’ (conectarme), allows practitioners to create professional links between their different local government areas. ‘Share’ (intercambiar) allows practitioners to participate in engagement activities in order to learn, ask questions and discuss their experiences with colleagues from different localities. ‘Inspire me’ (inspirarme) features a world map filled with examples of innovative local government policy solutions to myriad problems across the globe. The purpose of this is to illustrate the breadth of activity, capacity and innovation at the local government level, globally. ‘Teach me’ (capacitarme) allows practitioners to access a bank of policy documents and online learning materials related to their area of work or interest in order to support their development and communicate RIL’s vision for local government organisation. Finally, through ‘evaluate me’ (evaluarme) RIL can collect data on the progress of local governments through questionnaires, self-administered by local government practitioners, that in turn can measure the degree of development of their own strategies. In this way, the Portal can identify strengths and opportunities for policy development in particular local government areas and thereby justify and strengthen RIL’s facilitation work with the locality in question.

The portal also provides access to a system for registering and monitoring social assistance given out in the city, solving a pain point identified throughout many management teams in the country. This "social assistance management dashboard" is the first of many planned additions to this powerful tool. The "environmental management dashboard" and "economic development dashboard" are both in a development phase.

These different functions reflect the different potential applications of the Portal by various actors. Principally, local government practitioners can understand the demands and dimensions of their work more effectively. They can also communicate with colleagues from different localities informally through structured engagement events or make specific contact with practitioners related to a particular policy initiative. These aspects reflect RIL’s human-centred approach to public sector innovation and local government development. The Portal emphasises the need for professional contact and mutual engagement across different policy areas between local government areas such that practitioners can capitalise upon shared expertise, work collaboratively and inspire one another. This is not limited only to Argentina or South America. The Portal’s international reach already covers every continent and improving the quality and quantity of inspirational international examples of policy innovations is a key goal for the development of the Portal in future.

The breadth of the Portal’s functions indicate its ability to provides an important tool for RIL to increase their impact upon the speed and direction of local government development in Argentina. In particular, the Portal invites local government practitioners not only to be policy professionals but also policy entrepreneurs, through international examples of policy innovations and detailed best practices approaches to various policy domains. Practitioners are supported in this through the Portal’s available resources and RIL’s work more widely, which is integrated into the Portal through the ‘evaluate me’ (evaluarme) section. This illustrates how the Portal can function as a social network, resource bank and data collection service in order to make RIL’s work more effective, support the development of local governments and local government practitioners and communicate parallel development internationally. In this way, the Portal contributes to cultural change in the Argentinian policy sector – towards more professionalised and structured local government.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

Innovation in the public sector implies new configurations of resources, offering new tools, opportunities and insights capable of improving outcomes for practitioners and citizens. The Municipal Management Portal achieves this creative destruction across multiple areas of public sector innovation. The Portal employs a new technological application of information translation sharing in the Argentinian policy sector. By operating online, the Portal can reach more people and offer greater capacity and accessibility in the functions it hosts and the resources that it offers. Most significantly, the Portal achieves this innovation in technological and administrative process alongside innovation in conceptual understanding and governance. In particular, the cross-national examples of policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated national lockdown measures illustrate that local government is just as capable of rapid policy responses to urgent problems as central government.

What is the current status of your innovation?

The Portal is fully functioning and therefore capable of fulfilling its role in expanding, connecting and inspiring local government initiative across Argentina. The dynamic nature of the Portal also allows for constant updating and expansion across its wide functionality. In this way, the Portal can continue to evolve and support innovation and policy development across Argentina and internationally.

As examples of this continuous expansion, future developments include a “environmental management dashboard” and an “economic development dashboard” that aim to provide applicable tools that local government policy practitioners can implement to solve common pain points identified in local management, and in this way foster evidence-based decision making.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

RIL, a civil society organisation, translated the opportunity for collaboration into a tool aimed at enhancing and fostering capability building and network building in the local public sector. Local government officials then brought in all the experience and knowledge, that became the core value of the platform when they began sharing. The private sector continuously collaborates in building contend and in funding RIL’s programs, allowing the tool to be developed.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

The Portal is primarily designed to be used by local government practitioners to support their work, inspire and shape new initiatives as well as to connect practitioners across local government areas. Ultimately, the portal benefits citizens through improved public services and more effective municipal management.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

The portal currently has 1,845 users representing more than 200 different cities of Argentina.
The “local solutions” map displays 2,374 policy experiences of more than 300 cities around the world. The portal includes 23 different questionnaires with which local government practitioners can self-evaluate their policy responses in 11 policy topic areas.

Challenges and Failures

The main challenges involve raising funds to develop new features and maintain the portal in correct functioning.

Conditions for Success

In terms of infrastructure, the Portal needs internet coverage and access. Also, the engagement of practitioners is essential, since a human-centred approach requires effective human engagement. In this regard, RIL has managed to gain trust from government practitioners who, regardless of their wide-ranging political backgrounds and personal views, have overcome differences to participate, collaborate and share their strengths and weaknesses with colleagues.

Replication

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Lessons Learned

The main lesson learned is that there is room for collaboration and exchange in the public sector, and that local government practitioners of Argentina are avid for knowledge and training, and willing to apply new skills into practice.

Supporting Videos

Year: 2019
Level of Government: Local government

Status:

  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

Innovation provided by:

Media:

Date Published:

3 September 2021

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