Toolkit of GOOD PRACTICES on Citizen Participation!


Local Councils Vejle


Country: Denmark

Context

Definition of Local communities:
 "A geographic area where residents objectively and subjectively feel as a social and functional community" (Sundbo 1972). It is where people live, work and/or spend their leisure time.
For some this concept is associated with kindness and warmth. The ideal western vision of the community consists in a place where all people realize their unique value and contribute to the common benefit. A place that produces a feeling of belonging and connection. Some communities deal mostly with the collective aspect and not with single individuals. And the community may not welcome all individuals.
Why community?
There is some evidence that the communities we live in affect behavior, health and mortality rates.
The community has the power of both promoting or hindering prevention and health promotion.
The Local Councils in Vejle Municipality are working to be strong and active, and it is important for the municipality to support the commitment and cooperation of the local networks.
The Committee for Local Councils helps perform tasks related to community development, local democracy, and urban development. Development work is interdisciplinary and should help make of Vejle an attractive place to live in. The committee supports projects in local communities which are related to democracy and citizen involvement through project management, support and participation.
Objectives:
Strengthen local involvement and interaction between citizens, local business and local government.
A voluntarily organized local network in all communities in the municipality involved in local development.
Dialogue between the city council and the local areas.
Sustainability through good public facilities, nice settings and attractive homes in the villages.
Sustainable development through maintaining and improving the cultural heritage, natural resources and local identity.
Sustainable communities based on innovation in local energy sources and energy-efficient housing.

Measure

The Committee helps to support the citizens, associations and enterprises in projects and activities that maintain strong and viable rural areas of interaction with Vejle city centre as well as the other towns in the municipality.
They want to be in a dialogue with the citizens of the municipality’s communities within the above framework, whether there are urgent local issues to discuss or not. The Committee therefore wishes to attend meetings when deemed necessary by local communities or other committees. In addition, the Committee would like to be in dialogue with citizens in the municipality at the library, because there they can provide citizens with the opportunity to discuss with politicians what concerns them. The Committee’s aim is to have its representatives visit a local community each month.

Target Group

The Committee is engaged in the development, planning and coordination of local activities in villages and rural areas.
They support the citizens, associations and enterprises in projects and activities that maintain strong and viable rural areas of interaction with Vejle city centre as well as the other towns in the municipality.
The Committee is also working on the development and implementation of Vejle Municipality's policies on local democracy and citizen involvement.
Local Councils are not only for the municipality's smaller communities. Local Areas of Vejle such as Vinding and Urhøj may also need to have a common voice. Local Councils are important because they encourage sustainable citizen participation on the topics they are interested in in their specific locality. An active local council is a good starting point for the development of ideas and projects that fit the local area.
Vejle Municipality supports local councils economically, and local councils can apply for funding for minor development of the local area to the Committee for Communities & Local democracy.

Methodology

The Committee of local councils has the responsibility to develop the following areas and integrate them into the municipality's services:
Rural - strong and vibrant communities
Develop and implement policies for local development
Develop and support projects, including administration of rural pool
Dialogue with local communities
Local democracy and citizen participation
Develop and implement strategy for local democracy
Development of local communities and local areas
Method development on the basis of an appreciative and resource-based approach
Contribute to the development of the international dimension of Vejle municipality’s work
It is possible to enter into a cooperation agreement with Vejle Municipality as a local council. The agreement is voluntary and involves responsibility for both the local network and the municipality.
The agreement builds on a series of participatory principles:
A council that dreams and acts
An open network for community
A network that is a locally based on consultation and dialogue with partners
With the conclusion of the agreement, the local council is responsible for:
Contributing to the formulation of plans and policies
Coordinating the formulation of development strategies / goals for the community
Creating an annual plan for its activities
Searching support locally across societies, institutions and corporations to development initiatives
Establishing contact with the municipality
Drawing inspiration from other communities for local development
With the conclusion of the agreement Vejle Municipality is responsible for:
Inviting to discussion and formulation of plans and policies essential for the local area
Inviting to the annual conference on local development and ongoing dialogue meetings on local development
Initiating actions that support the local network and its ability to promote local development
 
Vejle Municipality may only enter one agreement for each community. The agreement for cooperation operates for a three-year period.
A local development council has signed a cooperation agreement with the Municipality of Vejle. The council is thus the first city to make use of a new opportunity to establish a binding partnership between a local network and the municipality, based on dialogue, consultation and development in the area.
The possibility has long been there for the municipality's villages. Until 1st September, the district had 14 local councils with a cooperation agreement, now they are 15 after Egtved joined.
The Committee shall meet at least once a year with local councils to monitor developments.
Over the past few years, the Committee for Communities & Local democracy has developed a model for how the municipality can be in dialogue with a local area. So not just with an individual or a workgroup but with groups of people who will engage in general actions and dialogue on local planning, urban development and other projects. Cooperation increases the knowledge of both citizens and politicians of what it is important to work with on in the local area.

Stakeholders

Vejle wants to support the projects of citizens with funding to create development and attractive living conditions in communities and rural areas in the municipality.
Municipality officials work as the coordinating organ for the committee and the local councils, and operate at the two levels.

Assessment

-

Impact

Examples:
The council in Egtved
The Board of Egtved is made of 7 people + 4 alternates and represents all city funds. This means that all associations and their members in Egtved are in principle members. They hold public meetings, meetings with politicians and officials from Vejle, participate in an interdisciplinary collaboration within and outside the municipality, update the community website, send out newsletters. The concrete results are a greater visibility of Vejle, a better cohesion in relation with local projects, and the involvement of more citizens in municipal projects. The overall framework consists in the collaboration with the Municipality of Vejle (Committee for Communities and Local democracy) and in by-laws adopted in an open meeting.
Examples of a local council activities:
Jerlev supported the renovation of Culture and Gym hall:
On the basis of an application to the Municipality of Vejle Committee for Communities and Local democracy the council has managed to raise money to start the renovation of Culture and Gym hall in the fall of 2014. The project is the first step in implementing a new village program in Jerlev.
A group of enthusiasts in Jerlev has long been working to raise funds for the rebuilding of the old Jerlev cultural and sports centre. Thanks to an application to the Municipality of Vejle Committee for Communities and Local democracy, they have managed to gather the last money needed to get started. The remaining assets come from local and Engineering Foundation, money collected in Jerlev and volunteer labor.
It is a cross-cutting local cooperation we really want to support. I am sure it will be a really good place for associations and citizens", says Niels Clemmensen, Chair of the Committee for Communities and Local democracy.

Swot

1. Strengths (characteristics of the measure that give it an advantage over others):
Support of the municipality and funding from the municipal budget to activities
The local councils run individually, so even if one is not functioning the rest are not affected
Project manager in the municipality
 2. Weaknesses (characteristics that place the measure at a disadvantage relative to others)
It is dependent on municipal support and a project manager
 3. Opportunities (elements that the measure could exploit to its advantage):
Each local council and community gets a voice, and gets aid (by counselling from municipality) to run and find a structure
 4. Threats (elements in the environment that could cause trouble to the measure):
Local councils may be easily affected by disagreements in a local area

Subscribe Newsletter:

Subscribe to ALDA monthly newsletter, available in five languages - English, French, Italian, Serbian, and Russian

Office in Strasbourg

Council of Europe
1, avenue de l'Europe 
F-67075 Strasbourg - France

Phone: +33 3 90 21 45 93
Fax: +33 3 90 21 55 17
Email: aldastrasbourg@aldaintranet.org
General contact: alda@aldaintranet.org

Office in Brussels

Rue Belliard 20
Bruxelles 1040
Belgium
Public transportation: Metro, stop "Arts-Loi", lines 1, 2, 5, 6

Phone: +32 (0)2 430 24 08
Email: aldabrussels@aldaintranet.org

Office in Vicenza

Viale Milano 66
36100 Vicenza - Italy

Phone: +39 04 44 54 01 46
Fax: +39 04 44 23 10 43
Mail : aldavicenza@aldaintranet.org

 

 

Office in Skopje

Bld. Partizanski odredi 43B/1-5
1000 Skopje, Macedonia

Phone: +389 (0) 2 6091 060
Mail: aldaskopje@aldaintranet.org

Office in Subotica

Trg Cara Jovana Nenada 15
SRB-24000 Subotica - Serbia 

Phone: +381 24 554 587
Fax: +381 24 554 587