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Peshkopi joint works supervision

From Municipal Cooperation

Peshkopi joint works supervision
Service Areas: Administrative Services and Tasks
Country: Albania
Municipalities: Peshkopi Municipality, Bulqiza Municipality, Melan Commune, Muhur Commune, Fushë–Çidhen Commune, Arras Commune, Maqellarë Commune, Zall-Dardhë Commune, Kastriot Commune, Zerqan Commune
Contact persons: Zenulla Mehmeti
Legal form: Contractual
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Coordinates: 41° 41' 37" N, 20° 26' 28" E
Photo 1 GP Peshkopi joint works supervision 210509.jpg
Photo 2 GP Peshkopi joint works supervision 210509.jpg
Photo 3 GP Peshkopi joint works supervision 210509.jpg

Description of the problem/need for IMC

Cooperation to jointly tender and contract monitoring and supervision of infrastructure works, is a spin off the 'Trust Fund initiative'[1]Trust Fund initiative refers to the 'Support Programme for Strengthening Local Governance in Dibër Region, Albania', funded by the Dutch Embassy and aiming at assisting municipalities and communes to implement their strategic development plans (through the Trust Fund) and capacity building for the administration of the regional council, communes and municipalities. that articulated cooperation between all municipalities and communes in the Dibër Region. Within the trust Fund initiative, first level local units obtain funding for accomplishing projects within their local development plans and strategies as well as receive assistance to increase their capacities in several policy areas. The Regional Council is managing the Trust Fund on behalf of the municipalities and communes[2]Municipalities and communes are both first tier of local government in Albania, exercising the same set of functions and responsibilities with the difference that municipalities are mainly urban while communes mainly rural., continuously assisted by The Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) and financially supported by the Dutch Embassy.

The rounds of applications and financing have enabled first tier local units in the region to start implementation of priority infrastructure projects. Despite the assistance provided within the programme to help with projects' monitoring and evaluation a technical monitoring of the works has to be carried out by the municipalities.

Time and capacities to arrange for works supervision was limited, given the defined timeframe for contracting out the works and reporting back to the Trust Fund; limited number potential qualified supervisory companies in the region; workload of local units that had to individually compile ten times the same documentation to submit to the central Public Procurement Agency; the bureaucracy associated with contracting and collating reports of the supervisory company which had to be repeated in each individual local unit; the small amounts of contracts value for the works supervision that might not attract adequate interest from qualified supervisors if local units applied individually.

Impeding factors listed above, lead towards a non-satisfactory quality of services in supervision of construction works. Furthermore, the Regional Council as the financer was lacking the necessary data on investment projects’ progress. When projects were not progressing as planned, there was no trigger to encourage actions from the contractor. Considering the fact that most of Communes lacked the capacities for selection of a good supervisor and to solve some of the needs and challenges mentioned above the communes and municipalities in the arrangement, assigned the Municipality of Peshkopi to be the leader of 'Central Purchasing Body' on their behalf. Despite the delegation of procuring and purchasing of supervisory services to Peshkopi municipality, each local unit through its office of public service, works in close cooperation with the supervisor

Municipalities and communes through this joint arrangement try to decrease the administration costs for processing procurement and contracting documents and increase also chances to get a well-qualified supervising firm by tapping into service providers across the region.

Description of the IMC practice

The arrangement between the 10 municipalities and communes provided delegation of competence to Peshkopi municipality for conducting the tendering process for works supervision and contracting joint supervision for construction works in all participating local units.

The communes and municipalities that decided to get together for joint procurement are already members of a bigger scale cooperation that involves all local units in the region (Trust Fund Project). Within the bigger scale IMC initiative, participating members have obtained financing but also developed trust and mechanisms to cooperate with each other.

This particular IMC dealing with supervisory works, included a total of ten infrastructure projects, funded thought the Trust Fund facility (each project financed by the Regional Council through the Dutch Embassy funds, by each local units and the central government covering the VAT share of each infrastructure project). Direct beneficiaries included 9 villages and 2 cities in the Dibër region, with respective beneficiary population of 15.457 inhabitants while the total population of local units involved in the arrangement amounts to around 93,000 inhabitants.

Legal delegation of the purchasing authority, to Peshkopi municipality was done through a joint agreement signed by the Mayors of each unit. Municipalities jointly decided upon the final version of Terms of References for the supervisory company, while Peshkopi municipality, prepared necessary documentation and organised the tendering process. In effect Peshkopi staff, in close cooperation and assisted by the Regional Council, carried out a process that would have otherwise involved 20 staff members from administrations of participating local units.

An equivalent of 15,000 Euro (1,787,000 ALL) was the total amount tendered for supervision works of ten projects located in participating communes / municipalities.

This is a 'one off' arrangement and not a permanent agreement between participating local units. Nevertheless, at least within the Trust Fund initiative implementation, when construction projects are implemented simultaneously (based on the opening calls for proposals), within the same region, financed by the same source creates a precedent for similar future cooperation.

Establishment of the IMC practice

Several steps were undertaken to make this cooperation work.

Initially the idea was discussed with the members of the monitoring groups from the Regional Council. These groups are set up within the Trust Fund project to monitor progress of successful projects applications in several communes and municipalities in the region. Monitoring groups needed also the data on technical accomplishments of works financed therefore suggested having municipalities / communes applying jointly for a supervisory firm that ensures good quality of supervision.

The proposal was discussed and approved by the Steering Committee of the Trust Fund programme, composed by Dibër Regional Council, Dutch Embassy and SNV.

Several consultation meetings were organised supported also by SNV and the Regional Council, the two actors jointly implementing the Trust Fund programme.

The opportunity was presented to the communes / municipalities, explaining the potential advantages. Suggestions were legally founded in the procurement legislation (article 11, Law No. 9643).

Based on the legal grounding and on the fact that most communes lack capacities to contract good quality supervisors for works, it was agreed to proceed with this IMC activity.

All steps carried out to set up the IMC were supported by the Training Unit within Dibër Regional administration. The training unit is introduced by the Trust Fund programme to assist municipalities with advice and trainings. In this case it facilitated the process of introducing potential IMC, to participating communes and municipalities, preparing the terms of agreement between participating local units, raising awareness on benefits and guiding consultations up to reaching a common agreement.

Peshkopi Municipality took the responsibility of "Main Purchasing Body" regarding conduct of the procurement procedure. It drafted the terms of reference related services for the supervision of the technical works, it communicated with the National Procurement Agency to streamline procedures. According to the Law, the municipality as the responsible procurement body started with forming the procurement committee, preparing tendering documents, and publishing official announcement at the Public Procurement Agency.

Upon completion of tendering process and announcement of the winner, Peshkopi Municipality will inform all participating municipalities / communes. After the supervisor is selected from the contracting body (Peshkopi Municipality) each LGU independently will sign contracts with the service provider.

Main success factors are:

  • Good will of the leaders of the local government units to cooperate and come with a joint solution;
  • Good local knowledge of the legal frame (rules and procedures) for the tendering procedures
  • Fund availability and simultaneous launching of the winning projects (completion of application round) therefore all projects being implemented almost at the same time
  • All the LGUs implement the given projects as part of the same programme, therefore rules and requirements are unified.
  • Very good initiating phase, where all the steps were carefully considered (awareness of the municipalities, good feeling on the advantages of the IMC)

Benefits and shortcoming of the IMC practice

Benefits:

  • Reduced administrative costs for most of the participating local units apart from Peshkopi municipality that carried out the procedure for all units concerned
  • New knowledge obtained on mechanisms to be used when jointly initiating cooperation initiatives. Agreements and terms of references were prepared that can also be used as a template if the experience is to be repeated
  • Increased monetary value of the total sum procured attracted companies with higher capacities and experience in works supervision
  • Training unit, which is attached at with the Regional Council to offer assistance to municipalities / communes in the region acquired new skills in negotiation and preparing documents that facilitate inter-municipal cooperation
  • Willingness of municipalities of communes / municipalities to professionally perform supervision of works for Trust Fund projects increased their credits with the funding agency (Dutch Embassy)

Shortcomings:

The only observation that could be mentioned as a shortcoming is that Peshkopi municipality (and indirectly its citizens) bore the complete cost for carrying out the function on behalf of all participating units. This could also be interpreted as a solidarity principle connecting the units in the region.

Future plans for the development of the IMC practice

This is a 'one off' arrangement and not a permanent agreement between participating local units. Nevertheless, at least within the Trust Fund initiative implementation, when construction projects are implemented simultaneously (based on the opening calls for proposals), within the same region, financed by the same source creates a precedent for similar future cooperation.

Main lessons learned on how to establish IMC and make it a success

  • Reach common understanding and agreement between all actors involved by fully exploring opportunities
  • When talking about IMC, one should base the IMC on the legal framework and national legislation therefore national legal frame should allow for it
  • Good planning and considering coordination of timelines proved very important in this initiative
  • Previous cooperating experience between municipalities, in the frame of Trust Fund project, created trust between participating units
  • The area of cooperation was relevant since it proved to be cumbersome to carry out for smaller communes with limited capacities

Readiness to support other municipalities to establish IMC

Training unit of regional council administration can and is willing to disseminate the experience.


Acknowledgment

The information about this practice was collected and presented by Alba Dakoli Wilson.
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