Regional Administration plays an important role in improving the living standards of citizens, which is reflected in the wide range of its jurisdiction and responsibilities and includes the development of infrastructure and provision of services such as water, sanitation, transport infrastructure, public spaces, healthcare services, educational services, etc. Additionally, it has a key role on issues related to spatial planning, environmental protection, employment, disaster prevention. Good local governance is crucial to democratic participation, political dialogue, social cohesion and achieving economic benefits that can improve the quality of citizens’ life. The economic, political and social conditions that have been changing at European and global level lead to the alteration of Regional Administration role, which should be more effective and more efficient.
At European level, the role of regional and local authorities regarding the planning and the implementation of development programs, as well as the services provision to citizens, constantly expands. Citizens seek answers at regional and local level on issues of employment, social welfare and cultural identity. The complexity of the problems addressed mainly at regional administration level is nowadays quite large, and therefore its role in many areas is not auxiliary but essential. Therefore, the challenges should be addressed in the context of an integrated plan, coordinated actions and targeted interventions.
In Greece, the new architecture of Local Government and Decentralised Administration – the so called “Kallikratis” – has brought a radical change in the administrative structure of the country, establishing for the first time, the Regional Administration, creating less and more powerful municipalities, transferring the powers to a more appropriate level, creating economies of scale and establishing developmental perspective.
Regional Administration acquires multiple responsibilities and there is the opportunity to undertake significant developmental initiatives and operations, exceeding its traditional and supervisory role, while it is required to provide more adding-value services and possess increased know-how.
The current economic environment, which is now governed by more restrictions, and the Structural Funds Programmes 2014-2020 that have a new philosophy and characteristics compared to the previous programming periods, require a different manner of action by both the central government bodies and the Regional Administration.
The new Structural Funds Programmes involve complex and complicated requirements and focus on promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, “smart specialization”, employment, social oriented actions and integrated local development programs. Operational Programmes are “competitive” – in terms of projects’ planning and maturation– and the actors that will have a clear advantage to claim funding are those who will be prepared in time.
The Regulations of the new Cohesion Policy provide to Local Authorities the opportunity to benefit, in the best way possible, of the new financial and implementation instruments, utilizing more efficiently the already reduced resources, compared to the previous programming period. Instruments such as the Community-led Local Development (CLLD), the Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) and the Sustainable Urban Development (SUD), enables local bodies to take initiatives and facilitate the absorption of EU funds, bypassing the uncertainty and the bureaucratic delays.
Developing partnerships with the private sector and the social and economic actors, but also between the same local government bodies for the effective planning and implementation of programmes and projects, constitutes one of the key points to achieve regional/local development and social prosperity.
Taking into account the changes of the reforms that have taken place in Regional Administration, the prevailing socio-economic conditions, the opportunities and requirements of the new programming period and the current needs of regional and local governments, PLANET has the readiness to provide a wide portfolio of services covering the entire range of Regional Administration operation.
The service portfolio of PLANET in the specific sector includes services from all service lines of the company, which can be grouped in the following categories:
- Strategic – Business Planning
- Local development programs
- Organizational Restructuring and Operational Reengineering
- Human Resources Management
- Identification of funding resources for the development of Local Authorities deriving from National and European development programs
- Design and management of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) projects
- Utilization of new financial instruments (JESSICA, ELENA, Green Fund, etc.)
- Design and implementation of sustainable urban development programs
- Development of Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship
- Utilization of new technologies
- Integrated water resources management
- Energy saving and facilities introducing RES systems
- Integrated waste management
- Utilization of real estate and other high value-added assets.
- Creation of initiatives in the primary sector and food industry to assist local economies