Local Government

The working group on Local Governance deals with all sub-national levels of governance from several points of view: regulation, structure, organisation, functioning, finance, representation, election and public policies, etc. The WG especially welcomes empirical research results, comparative analysis, theoretical contributions, and interdisciplinary approaches are, of course, supported, too.


During this year's NISPAcee conference, four sessions of Working Group I on local governance were held, featuring 15 papers. The sessions discussed local government service delivery developments and democratic practices in Central and Eastern European countries.

This year, the topics focused on various aspects of local democracy, including:

  • The factors explaining developments in local democracy, such as the notions of democracy among local councilors
  • The career patterns of local councilors;
  • The role of the ombudsman;
  • The role of local financial autonomy;
  • Socioeconomic development;
  • Digitalization;
  • The role of good governance.

Several papers addressed new forms of local democracy, specifically the developments in participatory budgeting in municipalities. The methods used in the papers varied from single case studies to advanced modeling and regression analysis. Presenters came from various countries in the Central and Eastern European region.

The sessions were well-attended, and the discussions among participants were robust and engaging. Overall, this was one of the best sessions of this working group ever, with papers of a high quality presented.


Iwona Sobis and Michiel de Vries (Coordinators)


Michiel S de Vries

Chair of the department of Public Administration, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, m.devries@fm.ru.nl

Michiel S de Vries holds the chair in Public Administration at the Radboud University of Nijmegen and is visiting professor at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. He is president of IASIA, full member of the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government of the Council of Europe and member of the editorial board of numerous journals on Public Administration. His research concentrates on local government, public sector reform, policy evaluation, policy change and comparative public administration.

Iwona Sobis

School of Public Administration, Gothenburg University, Sweden


Her research over the period 1995-2010 can be summarised as a collection of in-depth case studies on Western assistance to Central and Eastern Europe during the transition from socialism to a market economy, seen from the perspective of recipients, foreign advisors, donor organisations and responsible politicians. 

Her later empirical research concerns: public sector reforms with a special focus on care for the elderly, performance management, policy evaluation, job satisfaction, and free movement of EU citizens. She lectures on leadership, management, and governance in public administration.

    Invitation to the 33rd NISPAcee Annual Conference 2025