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Published on 28 de January, 2019 at Ciutats i Regions

The Gironès Strategic Plan for Local Development.

By Francesc Quintana
3 min read

Since its creation in 1987 of the Gironès -a local government level called Consell Comarcal that aggregates municipalities- , it has become a local management tool but perhaps it still lacks a true territorial sense and a certain degree of self-recognition as a geographical area for identifying projects and of collective decision-making. The area of ​​the Gironès is strongly connotated at a territorial level by the presence of the city of Girona, its conurbation and its immediate metropolitan area, which hinders the vision of collective challenges and, therefore, any local approach for defining intervention projects at local scale.

Local development, the backbone of public intervention.

In general terms, Consells Comarcals have developed its functions seeking their opportunity in the bunch of ​​local competencies, supporting municipalities and trying new areas of public government for public value creation. Thus, a significant amount of Consells Comarcals have found their sense in social services provision, either coordinating them or providing it directly when municipalities cannot lend them mainly because of lack of critical mass

Local development is a government area that makes sense to boost from the Consells Comarcals. In general terms, city councils have assumed this competence by focusing – fundamentally – on job search for the socially excluded, urban retailing and entrepreneurship.

The Gironès 2025 Future Plan.

Methodologically, the process of drawing up the Plan has followed the following steps:

  1. Elaboration of the territorial diagnosis, to detect their dynamics and identify local challenges
  2. Obtain qualitative information through in-depth interviews with key informants
  3. Establishment of the Steering Committee, with relevant local personalities, elected representatives, business, public administration and knowledge agents (Quadruple Helix model) to bring more ideas as Plan contents
  4. Validation of Plan first version by the Advisory Council, which brings together the mayors of the region (an entity already existing before the Plan)
  5. Strategic Plan draft, and its validation by the Steering Committee and the Advisory Board
  6. Final version of the Strategic Plan and the Communication Plan

The writing of both documents took place throughout the year 2018

Process evaluation.

Diagnosis is an important milestone, but experience shows that within a strategic plan, it is very important to have a story that gives meaning to the defined territorial area – in terms of past, present and future – that create identity and communicate within and outside the region the local development goals to be achieved. Likewise, it is also important an intuitive Plan structure in terms of strategic axes, objectives, projects and actions to be undertaken.

Projects and actions must first be executed by local development professionals from Consell Comarcal and Gironès municipalities. However, other Plan aspects to highlight are:

  • The strategic guides (inspirational principles) showing how to develop Plan actions, such as trying to create an own working style, a manner for identifying Plan spirit and will and attitudes. In this sense, the Plan establishes the following strategic guides:
    • Context: it is necessary to create a frame in which actors develop their maximum potential collaborating one with each other
    • Trust: collaborate creating a trusted environment and with a facilitating role
    • Partnership: design intervention projects always working with external agents from the very beginning
    • Cross cutting focus: breaking the administrative dynamics of working without a connection among government areas and always seeking external collaboration
  • The actions that define the projects are not exactly described because it is always needed to grant a discretionary margin and responsibility to professionals
  • New actions and projects fall outside the usual task of the Consell Comarcal and, therefore, it will be necessary to raise specific financing through alternative sources
  • The Plan has a complete system of evaluation and accountability, at 4 levels: Advisory Board, Steering Committee, media and financing partner. It is necessary to use attractive and dynamic ways to communicate, highlighting the obtained results by graphics suitable for social networks dissemination. Evaluation and accountability system is based on accomplishment indexes stated by the Plan, and assessment is always a role out of local development professionals
  • The Communication Plan is a fundamental tool because it aims to disseminate and value impact through achieved results

In short, the Gironès 2025 Future Plan is conceived as a starting point and its main objective is twofold:  1. align efforts and 2. generate greater impact to achieve a more robust and sustainable local development.

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