Nowadays EU member states are experiencing a decline in their common democratic values. This is especially true for the countries in the former Eastern Bloc and the South-Eastern Europe, where the dissatisfaction with the quality of public services is also increasing. Therefore it is crucial for public entities in this region to establish a stronger relationship with the society, and to get capable to quickly adapt to its changing societal needs. The main objective of the COMPETENCE project is to improve the quality of public services provided by municipalities through capacity building of the civil servants. For this purpose the project wishes to improve the communication and intercultural skills of the employees of the municipalities, and thus create better relationship between the local governments and societies. The project aims also to intensify the international cooperation with the Donor States, and promote the transfer of specific knowledge generated and collected in the project in this topic for the internal education within the public sector.
The project target groups are: (1) employees of municipalities providing public services on daily basis; (2) local and regional public authorities wishing to adapt their services to meet the changing needs of the society; (3) NGOs and other bodies providing local public services and interested in capacity building for their employees. In the project implementation 5 transnational study visits and 4 stakeholder conferences with public bodies will be held to share the project results and to encourage the public actors to improve the intercultural and communication skills of their staff, 1 training course for staff delivering public services on daily basis at the beneficiary organisations will be implemented, and 1 action plan will be elaborated to contribute to efforts relating to improving the communication and intercultural skills of civil servants beyond the project partnership.
Åpenhet participates as lead research coordinator, methodological advisor and creator of the interactive online toolkit ensuring the long-term sustainability of the project. Alongside Åpenhet, the project is lead by the Municipality of Ujbuda (District XI of Budapest, Hungary) and embarks 4 other muncipalities as beneficiary partners: Municipality of Prague 6 (Czech Republic), Municipality of Trogir (Croatia), Municipality of Kallithea (Greece) and Social Care Directorate of Arad (Romania).