12 principles of good governance: express evaluation based on European standard

First online program in Russian developed together with the Council of Europe

Student enrollment started on March 25th

You will learn

How to avoid typical mistakes while measuring government efficiency? How to recognize effectively working decision making mechanism in place? What are European standards for good governance? What parameters define weak units in any city administrative structure? And how to offer a reasoned explanation? Answers to the questions can be found in this practical interactive course.

Learn how to carry out express diagnostics for any particular territory based on the system of twelve principles of good governance of the Council of Europe. It is a convenient, accurately defined and clear instrument with detailed criteria analysis and outlined comparison factors. By learning you will surprise your colleagues with the high level of professional competences – very few in Russia are familiar or have any knowledge of how to implement this European standard. You have a unique opportunity to become among the first to advance necessary skills. Do not miss your chance – a greatly demanded course offered fully on line and open to all!

Course format

Total estimated learning hours are around 18 hours. The course comprises of twelve training modules, each corresponding to one of the principles of good governance, and includes:

  • Analysis and explanation of the CE standard;
  • Practical examples from Russian and European day-to-day operations;
  • Tests, video-cases.

Course structure is simple and easy to understand

Course is designed with a simple and easy to follow structure, due to its practical and functional approach.

Introduction explains the idea behind the development of twelve principles of good governance method, following its evolution and Council of Europe work to define and promote the adopted strategy.

Course is aimed at teaching students to foster their own pragmatic approach to each principles implementation in their future professional work and community life. All practical quizzes have utilized examples from current Russian media – publications, TV and internet sites.

Course practical component

Course includes excellent examples from current Russian real cases taken from the relative media. Voluminous good practice library ideally demonstrates the vast possibilities to apply this comprehensive evaluation system in Russia, as well as the advisability to use the principles of good governance.

Who should take this course

Online course is created for general public and do not require any prerequisite knowledge to start.

Recent instances demonstrate that the course is of interest to elected local government officials and city administration staff. Also this course can be useful to current full-time students at various universities and colleges. At the same time the course will help citizens to understand better the local government structure and how to use modern European standards to carry out local governance evaluation.


All students successfully completed the course will receive a certificate of achievement from CE and E-Learning Municipal Network University.

About the concept

Concept of 12 principles – how to evaluate the governance efficiency at the local level: joint project of E-learning Municipal Network University and the Council of Europe

Our University has launched this new introductory course together with the Council of Europe. This is the first course developed in partnership with the CE. The project goal is to support the cities services modernization process and to increase the citizens’ awareness level. It is based the Strategy adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the CE in 2008 as a tool which twelve principles of good governance encourage local authorities to assess and if necessary improve the quality of their governance. The Strategy is accompanied by a European Label of Governance Excellence.

Experts and municipal leaders agreed that regardless of modalities in national, economics, cultural systems, the unified local government standards can be defined and implemented. And complying with these standards, but mostly important, trying to comply with these standards may lead to a substantial increase in quality of local governance.

System of 12 principles-standards

What is this system? A complete system of twelve principles-standards, and when used in any specific municipalities, all standards can be traced based on objective criteria. Any citizen or a municipality can apply this strategy and utilize “12 principles of good governance: express-evaluation based on European standard”. They get a clearer understanding of discovered shortcomings, initiate specific adjustments, measure achieved progress. Furthermore, they receive public support and approval, as well as capacity to present own accomplishments at any level.

Can you find an “ideal city” with “twelve governance commandments” working like a clock?

Of course, in Russia, Europe or any where in the world you will not find an ideal city where all “twelve governance commandments” work like a clock – also you will not find any city that has nothing significant to present under each of the principles. This training course is loaded with practical examples from many regions of the Russian Federation. It demonstrates that no one starts from ground zero, all throughout there are some positive practices and perspective accomplishments. This strategy can be applied in any single municipality.

The importance of “translating from European into Russian”. Interview with the course author Professor Alexander Pertzev

Alexander Pertzev

Why is so important to “translate from European into Russian” the Council of Europe Toolkit on good governance? Find out the point of view of the content expert, professor and business-tutor Alexander Pertzev

Local government leaders often use term “local particulars”, and you cannot argue with this – they do exist. Should then you look for some common denominator in such a diverse world?

Indeed, every person feels certain fondness towards the native place. One will always mention the uniqueness of “the small town” and that general rules are not applicable there. But now days with the globalization and vigorous international cooperation, one city simply cannot be governed in some unique manner. Yes, it is exclusive and distinct, nevertheless there is a standard to be followed by good municipal governance. If you are not able to institute such standard in the municipality, then you will not be able to attract investments in industrial and cultural development, draw tourists, generate quality services provisions to the community.

12 principles are precisely the standard that needs to be set for achievement.

What’s so new and valuable offered through twelve principles of good governance?

The concept of twelve principles represents a new step in the local government development. In any process you have three stages pertaining to start and growth. At the initial stage it is an art, when failures and successes have equal probability. You have great masters - winners, and you have losers, allowing failure. Instead of common rules and principles, you often see unconstrained improvisation. Second stage comes with accrued experience dissemination. More or less the first step effective outcomes are absorbed and reproduced, thus becoming a routine practice.

And only at the third stage people find it is not sufficient to simply duplicate previous experience, to mere repeat the accidentally discovered. They start to analyze this experience scientifically, abstract from practice, in order to come back to it with totally new, well thought technological advances. Such technologies are presented in a united system and in all their diversity. We can conclude, that problem receives theoretical rational, and as a result transitions to the highest level of usability.

What you just said can be applied to any people activity – from making coffee to driving an automobile.

Yes, of course, and it can be applied to municipal governance too. At the first stage, when it is viewed as an art, only a few are capable to perform, we may see genius administrators, almost every day inventing new rules and procedures. Their names stay in history. But at the same time the history keeps the memory of the great failures and setbacks, described in satire forms, for example, in “History of one town” by Russian writer Saltykov-Schedrin.

During the second stage, when we accumulate local government knowledge and experience, all concerning towns adopt from each other successfully developed forms of governance. And, finally we have “the 12 principles”, resulted from efforts by specialists and practitioners from different European countries, an integrated theory model on good municipal governance. Besides, this is a theory of а special kind, it allows to use quality measurements - precise, impartial definitions of how far each municipality has progressed in the art of self-government.

Do you want to say, that now, generally speaking, we can hold a municipal good governance European championship?

The creators of the 12 principles concept have thought of this. Municipal staff work is hard and demanding. Therefore, the moral satisfaction, or simply speaking, peoples respect and recognition of their achievements plays a significate role. Let me give you an example. Producers make movies, actors play in these movies, but not for just receiving an Oscar, though such an award adds self-respect to the creators. It pushes up ratings, drives international acknowledgment, attracts viewers’ attention.

What are the specifics of this online course?

Let’s prioritize. Firstly, there is a toolkit, which is the outcome of long-term collective work by local government specialists and practitioners from all over Europe. It deserves a close look. Secondly, this tool is produced in the language familiar to local government profession in Europe, but needs some adjustments for and explanations for Russian professionals. Most of the commentaries is devoted to this. Thirdly, in the local government sector in Russia there always worked excellent practitioners, some often flaunting that they are “not formally educated” and do not comprehend “theoretical wisdom”. Specifically targeted at such, we have collected a vast depository of representative practical cases from local life, acquired from media resources. This was done in order to demonstrate that all problems, described by Europeans, do exist in our country, in Russia, in today’s life, and we need to find solutions.

This course is not a mere list of rules and illustrations to them, as in an alphabet book. Materials are compiled in such way that a student obtains an information to prompt his or her own thinking and to develop own opinion.

What exactly can practitioners gain from learning this standard?

Local governance novices, who are yet far from receiving awards and recognition, should take the table describing the twelve principles, read expanded comments to each of the principles – and simply understand what he or she needs to do. Additionally, it will be combined with their own experience and colleagues advises.

Besides, learning the twelve principles and explanations, will be useful to local government staff, who has previously worked in one, narrow area. With this instrument, these people will be able to see the full complexity of tasks faced by the municipal government, and to discover that one problem solution, even very successful, does not do much. Citizens evaluate local authorities’ efforts only as a whole, that’s why the course is developed to show how some principles are derived from the others.

Lastly, the most advanced students will be able to understand that the most important aspect in local government work is not even the sum of problems solved, but inclusion of the most members of the local community in decision making and problem solving, thus building in the community the spirit of cooperation, mutual support, tolerance, social creativity. With this knowledge, they will be able to represent their local government interests at any level.

Modern economic and political situations demand for spending cuts in municipal administration staff and expenses. Does it undermine the purpose of the local government training based on the twelve principles?

On the contrary, especially in such difficult times local staff needs to be trained under the umbrella of the conceptual principles. Because staff reduction always means overcoming narrow specialization: the scope of responsibilities remains as there аre no unnecessary duties in the municipal work. Therefore, during costs reduction period the scope of work of each staff member inevitably expands. In these circumstances, the ones with the understanding and user skills based on integrated approach, will have an advantage. That is the objective behind our course training concept.

Course name:12 principles of good governance: express evaluation based on European standards
Project director:Victor Pankrashchenko
International expert/Council of Europe:Pr. Robert Hertzog
Content-expert:Alexander Pertzev
Course curator, project manager:Victoria Brailitsa
IT implementation and delivery:Stanislav Lakhtin
Teaching assistants:Victoria Belikova, Irina Sokovnina
Course editor:Constantine Zhvakin
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