The team, working closely with municipal departments and the thematic groups will develop series of ‘SMART’ strategic objectives and prioritise these. The process of setting objectives is often done using brainstorming techniques, which can result in a number of different options. Having a number of options allows for comparison, and the ability to choose the best objectives to achieve the vision. Each objective will be accompanied by indicators to measure performance. The data collected as part of the situation analysis (phase 1.5) and in the data and information management (phase 1.7) sub-phases, provide good baseline information for developing the indicators.

The team will organise events to discuss, get feedback and build consensus on strategic objectives and the directions and choices they imply. They will also meet with the thematic groups in a wider forum. The way to organise these discussions and design the events will be part of the marketing / communication strategy and the participatory set-up.

The team, working with the budgets of the municipal departments, will set up the framework for a structured, multi-sector strategy and multi-year budget. This will be the framework for prioritising the projects that the city will implement. Though the departments of the city will use this budget extensively in the next phase, it is important to start setting up the structure at this point.

A key input for this step is the resource assessment undertaken as part of the municipal institutional assessment (phase 1.2, step 5).

The reason for starting this process at this stage is because coordination of budgets and getting commitment on sources of finance take some time. The multi sector strategy and budget should be linked to the municipal and national budgeting system and approval procedures. This is a good time to start opening up discussions with the national government and donors.

For more information, see Kaganova 2011, Guidebook on Capital Investment Planning for Local Governments of the World Bank.


What if there is too little money?

Access to funding for projects is often a serious constraint. A number of strategies can be used to address this:

  1. Strategies to increase the level of resources;
  2. Strategies to make more efficient use of existing resources and:
  3. Developing synergies which make better use of investment to meet objectives.

This is the moment to start thinking about resource mobilisation strategies. There are a number of different ways to mobilise resources, also including looking at ways to work more effectively with limited funds.

Resources can include many different things, not just money. Resource mobilisation is actually a process of raising different types of support for the departments of the municipality. It can include both cash and in-kind support.

Apart from money, it is possible for the city to raise support from volunteers, look for material donations or get in-kind contribution from the community. The types of strategies that team can consider are as follows:


Increasing resources

  1. Proactively search for funding from donors and other funders. This is the most conventional way of getting support. This requires knowing the criteria that donors use for selecting a project and coming with a well-conceived project.
  2. Volunteer support where volunteers provide their time and resources to support the work of a project or a department. Cities in the Netherlands, for instance, engage in public-volunteer partnership for the provision of certain social services.
  3. Partnering with the private sector in a project, to which the private partner brings investment.
  4. Support for community initiatives, where the community takes over the provision of a service or an activity with government support. Some schools in NYC, for a learning experience, engage students to clean solid waste from certain areas of the city.
  5. It is also possible to think out of the box. For instance, the city could 1) organize fundraising events to request donations for city initiatives or 2) request small amounts of money from the public (i.e. crowd funding) or 3) collect in-kind contribution such as used clothes, furniture, books, vehicles or even buildings.

Increasing efficiency (using less resources)

  1. Looking internally in government departments at ways to work more efficiently. The expectation of the organizational change and HR benchmarking toolkit that are part of the CDS is that finding better ways of working are a priority.
  2. Reviewing design options – changes in layout and density can make infrastructure and transportation services much more efficient

Increasing synergies (working smarter by connecting actions to multiple objectives)

Often funds for local government are tied to sectoral targets, but with a clear vision and creativity projects can be planned and managed in such a way that they provide wider benefits – thus increasing effectiveness in reaching a wider range of objectives.  Examples include:

  1. Improved water supply in poor areas can help meet health objectives and at the same time, through lower costs to poor families, improve family affordability for housing.
  2. Breaking large contracts into smaller parts can allow for work for local small contractors or community contracting – thus improving local incomes.
  3. Community-based monitoring of local contracts can help improve transparency and achieve better results

These are examples of the benefits of looking at issues and solutions in a cross-sectoral manner.

The team will, at this point, start structuring and preparing a coherent CDS strategy document to communicate the vision and the strategic objectives. This document will be one of the tasks defined in the marketing and communication strategy, and will contain the outputs of the different phases. Sections will be added as these phases are completed. It is important, however, for the team to decide early on how the strategy document should be ‘packaged’, the precise contents in chapters, and how it will be disseminated. For further information see Tool 6: Communication Strategy.

The final document will be the CDS of the city and can be used to market the strategy to different interested parties. In many situations, cities develop a short and long version, so that these can be used in different situations. Often cities also design webpages that contain the different chapters of the document.


Visioning and strategic objectives; gender and poverty

It is a challenge to get the correct type of representation of women, men and the poor during the visioning and strategic objective setting process. When designing the participatory process, the city will have to decide how to do this in a way that provides these groups of stakeholders with real ‘voice’.


Taking part in discussions, coming with ideas and providing feedback can be a challenge for some groups, as they often perceive issues and prioritize problems in a different way than municipal staff. Often problems are more immediate (shelter, water and food are priorities), than problems perceived by municipal staff, who think at a more structural level (strategic objectives, service provision). It is important to provide women and the poor a ‘safe’ place and the time to talk, a place where staff will listen. In addition, the interaction should provide alternative ways for participants to communicate needs, interests and points of view, to avoid any potential communication problems. The approach should foster the innovation of these groups.


Output of this sub-phase: prioritised strategic objectives