Policy recommendations for enhanced cross-sector cooperation
For the communities of tomorrow to be resilient and to thrive, they need to be developed through cooperation between local stakeholders and decision-makers. Local communities will only be able to thrive if the people that live and work there also have the opportunities to thrive. Young people play an important role in this process as they can be part of setting the foundations for their futures. To strengthen this kind of cooperation, SE Forum has alongside its partners from four European countries, developed policy recommendations that will help to improve the current situation and achieve mutually successful, sustainable cooperation between municipalities and youth community organisations and social enterprises.
This report summarises experiences gained and lessons learnt in working with target groups in five countries – Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Portugal and Cyprus. The results show that a number of mechanisms are in place in local communities to ensure successful cooperation and good relations between local authorities, young people, community organisations and social enterprises.
The policy recommendations developed provide guidance that can be used to strengthen and sustain cooperation despite the challenges faced by each local community:
- An appointed person or group of people within the municipality can oversee all communication with youth organisations and social enterprises and help them prepare necessary information, documentation and other legal obligations in tendering procedures. That person or group of people can also be responsible for clarifying and explaining legal terms and clauses within tendering documents to ensure that all interested parties can fully comprehend the tendering procedures.
- Granting and funding procedures involving youth organisations and social enterprises could be simplified to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy. This might entail less paperwork to be filled, fewer guarantees to be provided, and minimization of information required.
- The participation of youth organisations and social enterprises in local decision bodies and high-level discussions, as well as non formal groups for exchange of ideas and opinions, can be safeguarded and sought after, when the issues under discussion concern the youth or the community’s social welfare. Local authorities can provide a series of incentives to youth organisations and social enterprises for ensuring their participation with one of them being providing them with evidence that their voices are heard and their ideas are taken into consideration.
- Policies can be created to set a number of official Key Performance Indicators to be employed by local authorities in order to account for the impact of projects undertaken by youth organisations and social enterprises. This will lead to the building up of trust to successful projects, services provided by youth organisations and social enterprises and pave the way for future cooperation. These indicators can be the number of young people involved, the overall impact of the project or service, the degree of satisfaction among end users, the number of young people benefiting from the project/service etc. These indicators will also serve for safeguarding the impartiality of the tendering procedures.
- Municipalities can have an allocated budget for capacity building and informal learning workshops for both municipality employees and young people for exchange of knowledge, good practices, and ideas. Other informal learning events and workshops like hackathons, forums etc can be organised with that budget to ensure that numerous young people and potential entrepreneurs can benefit from them.
- Municipalities can dedicate an amount of money in their budget for supporting social enterprises or young people in their effort to start their own entrepreneurial ventures. Municipalities can create a competition where the most innovative ideas will be funded based on the available budget.
- Frequent meetings can be planned between municipalities, youth organizations and/or social enterprises for exchanging ideas, and share their visions for the future, their needs and current problems. This channel of communication could be maintained and scheduled on a regular basis. In this way municipalities will be able to witness the work done by the organizations and have a prove of the quality of their work and understand their real problems and needs.
The report also highlights a number of good practice examples where young people, community organisations and social enterprises are working with local authorities to deliver great initiatives and positive results. These examples for each of the partner countries, as well as a summary of examples, is available in the report.