What Really Matters Concerning Local Government Evaluation: Community Sustainability

  • Paulo Caldas University of Lisbon, Instituto Superior Técnico, Center for Urban and Regional Systems, Avenida Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa
  • Brian Dollery University of New Eangland, UNE Business School, Armidale NSW 2351
  • Rui Cunha Marques
Keywords: Local government, Performance measurement, financial sustainability, governance, Portuguese local government, Community sustainability


How to evaluate local government or what really matters concerning local government evaluation and who cares about it are questions which are on the table currently across the world. This paper carry out a survey on the wide range of indicators and evaluation models of local government used worldwide and shows that they are based mainly on performance evaluation and financial sustainability ratios. We conclude that they address only part of the problem of strategic management, financing, and sustainable development issues of local government. In particular, the governance dimension is absent. Therefore, a broader vision is proposed that integrates our usual local government evaluation into the important issues of governance and sustainability. This article focus on “measuring what matters” in local government and presents the need of a new evaluation model, a Councils’ Sustainability Index, based on the integration of council’s financial performance with communities’ sustainability and governance dimensions. Thus, it might be an important contribution for the creation of a new paradigm on local government evaluation and councils’ strategic management. The Portuguese case is used to illustrate this purpose.

Author Biographies

Paulo Caldas, University of Lisbon, Instituto Superior Técnico, Center for Urban and Regional Systems, Avenida Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa
Brian Dollery, University of New Eangland, UNE Business School, Armidale NSW 2351
Rui Cunha Marques
University of Lisbon, Instituto Superior Técnico, Center for Urban and Regional Systems, Avenida Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa


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