The Association of Polish Cities is the nationwide organization of local government, which represents the interest of over 300 local governments, participates actively in supporting the self-government policy and decentralisation, and it aims at better development of Polish cities. These tasks are realized through: legislative lobbying, experts support, sharing experiences, promoting of cities, foreign relations as well as informative
and editorial activity.
The Association of Polish Cities has existed since 1917 and already before the war, it had many successes. After the Second World War, the Association could no longer operate.
However, after the first post-war, free, local elections (27th May 1990), the initiative was taken to revive the Association. Within a few months, the councils of about 60 cities issued
theresolution about forming the Association and in January 1991 in Poznań – the statutory seat of the Association – hosted its Reconstitution Congress. Currently, the Association includes 300 cities. About 72% of the country’s urban population inhabits them.
The Association is the only self-government organization, where leaders of cities of various size, representing various political options, share experiences about the daily governing
and develop together a uniform opinion on issues important to all Polish cities. That variety of our members, is the unique value of the Association and its strength. Within years, we have managed to work out a form, which ensures a non-political character of the actions taken by the Association. Since the beginning, the Association has been a self-government organization, where the statutory members don’t receive any remuneration or allowance.
The opinions and resolution drafts concerning local governments, as prepared by the Board, or the problem committees, or the membership cities, are presented to the Joint Government and Territorial Self-Government Commission and to its working teams, commissions of the Polish Parliament as well as the relevant ministry offices. The Association supports the cities, which apply to the Polish Constitutional Court concerning
legal solutions unfavourable to them. It also applies to the President of Poland so as not to sign the acts. It prepares own draft acts, recently, for example, the act on revitalisation
or a package of draft acts concerning the finances.
In 2012 the Association organised, in collaboration with other organisations, especially with the Association of Rural Communities and the Association of Polish Counties, the campaign “Rate higher than 8 billion”, to get attention of the Polish parliament to the consequences of changes in the local government budgets. The basic document was the draft act
concerning revision of the act on revenues of local government units, which increased the community share in taxes on revenues from physical persons. Over 300 thousand signatures were collected under this draft act. In 2017 the Association prepared also in collaboration with other local government corporations the Local-Government Forum in Warsaw, during which an open debate was held with participation of one thousand and a half of local governors, to protect the constitutional rules of self-government and signing of the Self-Governing Card.
The Association provides experts support for cities. It orders legal expertise, conducts surveys and monitors public services through the System of Local Government Analysis (SAS). SAS is a database of statistical data (1000 indexes for all cities in Poland) obtained directly from cities and various sources of public statistics concerning important sectors of urban local governments activities. It is the only undertaking of this kind in Poland ( and the second in Europe, after the Norwegian KOSTRA), which on such a broad scale supports the cities governors in day-to-day and strategic management. SAS is available on: http://www.systemanaliz.pl.
Good Practice Share involves presentation and popularisation of good practice between cities, and preparation of conferences, seminars and workshops. Interesting solutions are promoted through numerous projects done by the Association for cities with financial means from outside. Currently, we are doing the projects on: energy effectiveness, PPP, education management, participation in zone planning, higher quality of administration, monitoring of public services, or supporting of democracy in Ukraine. This year the Association will start the biggest project in its history, a 4-year project (financed
also from EEA means), which will support the development of cities, especially those that are included under the government programmes. Based on the Association’s and its
experts support, the cities will be able to apply for investment grants of which the trustee will be our main partner – the Ministry of Development and Investment.
Through participation in many national and international meetings, the Association is an active and effective ambassador of local-government issues in European organisations,
such as the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities – Council of Europe (CLRAE) or the Committee of Regions. The Deputy President of the Association, president of Kraków, Jacek Majchrowski was elected the co-president of CEMR on the 7th December 2015.
The Association runs a website www.miasta.pl, publishing texts from the Association and membership cities, it issues a monthly magazine “Urban Local Government”, it runs
a profile on Facebook and it prepares texts on management and quality of public services.
The effectiveness of the Association depends on many factors, also on its strength, and its strength means also its number. Cities entering the Association fight jointly for their interest and reinforce the common stand of the local governments. According to the status of the Association, its members may be the Polish cities. The members are admitted by the Board. The condition for membership is adopting by the city council a resolution on entering the Association. The Association Funds are, among others, membership fees that constitute about 50% of the whole budget. The fees are proportional to the number of citizens in a city – being the member of Association, acc. to Statistical Office. The present fee is 0,30 PLN per citizen yearly.
More about the Association on website www.miasta.pl