THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY
The Center for Public Policy (CENPO) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The organization was founded in 2003 with the purpose of undertaking activities that contribute to inclusive and transparent public policy development at local level, thus aiding the advancement of effective local governance and improve the democratic character of public policy making in Romania. The mission of the Center for Public Policy is to contribute to the improvement of public policy elaboration process by conducting independent research, enhancing the information flow and facilitating policy debate among various policy stakeholders.
During the 12 years of activity, the Center for Public Policy has formulated numerous recommendations of public policy for local and national public administrations. CENPO has been involved in the dialogue between Civil Society Organizations and Public Institutions (from the local to the European level). Most recently we submitted are the following recommendations:
(1) The weak institutionalization of European Social Fund supported education and inclusion interventions,
(2) European Social Fund commissioning regulatory framework weaknesses in educational social inclusion. (3) The poor articulation of the commissioning policy significantly limits the potential benefits of the EU structural instruments and
(4) The weak regulations of 41 regional governments in Romania and the capital city of Bucharest regarding transparency measures (annual activity reports of elected officials)
(1), (2) and (3) recommendations mentioned above were addressed to the European Commission and (4) to the local public administration at county level in all the 41 counties from Romania throurgh? a national campaign.
CENPO has 3 main directions of activity:
1. Administrative reform:
a. Formulating recommendations of public policies.
b. Capacity-building of public sector servants in the field of public policy.
c. Capacity-building for non-profit organizations.
2. Community development
For a period of 4 years (2011-2014), CENPO has been the national coordinator of a network of more than 30 Grassroots organizations in Romania, active in the field of education and social inclusion, together with other 7 partners across Europe as part of an European initiative. The mission of the network was to develop and encourage the member organizations to act for solving community problems with the help of community members. By supporting grassroots organizations in Romania to become more involved in local policy and European policy development, CENPO had a key-role in the development and implementation of the Grassroots Europe network. CENPO has created the Grassroots Network in Romania as a national partner of Open Society Foundations – Education Support Program in the project “Grassroots Europe for Local Wellbeing” (2010-2014). The initiative gives European citizens active in the field of education and social inclusion the opportunity to interact among themselves, with policy-makers, civil society organizations at local, national and EU level.
CENPO has been involved in the field of community empowerment, by:
– Initiating, developing and facilitating partnerships to improve the practice of public policy regarding social inclusion.
– Developing and encouraging actions of direct citizen participation in public policy making process and social inclusion.
In 2015, CENPO has also contributed to community development through a regional project aimed at developing the social economic sector. In a one-year project, CENPO facilitated the creation and functioning of 2 social enterprises in the rural area and helped bringing an investment through the Social European Fund Program of approximately 310.000 EUR in order to empower vulnerable and marginalized groups and create opportunities for them to become active in the labor field.
3. Research – publications in the field of public policy, transparency, education, social inclusion, etc.
Online research results: In 2015 CENPO started a research program regarding fundraising capacity in Romania, publicized online. The main objective of the research is to study the capacity of donors, the transparency of the process regarding fund transfers, the capabilities and impact obtained by the beneficiaries of public finances. CENPO also started a research study on transparency issues regarding the political activity of elected local officials in Romania. The immediate result of the research show significant variation in the extent to which different local authorities enforce relevant regulation on the transparency of activities by elected officials.
- PROJECT NAME: SISES – Integrated Support for Social Economy Structures, financed by the European Social Fund (Project ID POSDRU/168/6.1/143849) (October 2014- December 2015). The project aimed to increase employment for persons belonging to vulnerable groups from the North-West, West and Central regions of Romania, especially in rural communities through the development of new social economy structures which unlocked the potential of local development. CENPO facilitated the creation and functioning of 2 social enterprises in the rural area near Cluj-Napoca and helped at bringing an investment through the Social European Fund Program of approximately 310.000 EUR in order to empower vulnerable and marginalized groups and create opportunities for them to become active in the labor field.
- PROJECT NAME: Active Citizenship for Transparent Local Governance financed by the Norway Grants (EEA GRANTS) under the C1 Programme- Involvement (2015-2016). The project addresses the reduced pro-active transparency measures and practices in 41 regional governments in Romania and in the capital city of Bucharest (county councils and local councils in Bucharest) regarding the local elected officials’ activity for the past 3 years (2012, 2013, and 2014). The objective of the project is to promote and support active citizenship for improving local public policy in terms of transparency and accountability of local elected officials. The quality of regulatory governance is underpinned by the extent to which adopted policies have been community-driven processes, which could then enjoy strong community support and ownership. We have found that decision making and policy deliver stillfunctions behind closed doors decisions that limitedly if at all are related to community realities and we launched several actions to help resolve the issue.
- PROJECT NAME: Supporting Partnerships between Local Authorities and Civic Organizations for the Development of Sustainable Local Policies and Strategies (financed within the European Social Fund – Administrative Capacity Development Operational Program (PODCA) SMIS 40720/2012) was developed in order to continue the work carried within the “Grassroots Europe for Local Wellbeing Initiative” and its aim has been to increase the grassroots organizations’ capacity to highlight the needs of the most vulnerable segments of the communities and to plan and implement sustainable actions in partnership with local authorities in order to efficiently approach the vulnerable groups’ most stringent problems. The project was financed through the Romanian Structural Funds, Operational Program “Administrative Capacity Development”. Specific results: 56 employees and volunteers in Public Relations, Strategic Planning, Public Acquisition, Project Management and PR fields trained, 1 Public Policy Incubator
- PROJECT NAME: Training program for participatory development of local public policy for civil servants (financed within the European Social Fund – Administrative Capacity Development Operational Program (PODCA) was developed in order to increase the public authority results regarding the quality of governance and community based public policy optimization. Specific results: 270 days of training, 45 persons certified, 4 local public policy proposals, 1 policy paper.
- PROJECT NAME: Video guide goes Europe, financed by Youth in Action Program (AT-1331-119) applicant- Plattform Rechtsberatung, Berlin (Germany), CENPO acted as a partener
The projectbrought together young people from different cultures to get to know one another and discover the enrichment of diverse cultural backgrounds as well as cultural diversity. They reflected on the common attitudes, laws, practices and procedures regarding the area of asylumand situations of asylum seekers that exist in Europe and in the European Union.
- PROJECT NAME: Incredible Citizen! Financed by Youth in Action Program (ES-11-E136-2013-R2) applicant: Puente Genil Jovenes, Spain, CENPO acted as a partener
Incredible Citizen! Was a project targeting European Citizenship, in which it is essential to transmit the importance of being active into a European context and understand that youth is able to contribute with ideas and take part to the 2014 European Elections.
- The Grassroots Europe for Local Wellbeing was a 4-years initiative carried out byOpen Society Foundations in 5-8 European countries in order to support European community-based educational grassroots organizations that are able to mobilize their communities and public opinion around issues of marginalization in education and help the most vulnerable groups of society. The project gave European citizens active in the field of education and social inclusion the opportunity to interact among themselves, with policy-makers, civil society organizations at local, national and EU level. At the local level it pursued a community-based, participatory approach and involved a diverse array of educational grassroots organizations that work towards promoting factors for local development (culture, creativity, and innovation of citizens) and fostering local wellbeing through formal and informal education. The main result was to enable local voices to be a part of the Europe 2020 policy discussions, ensuring valuable interaction between EU decision makers and those directly affected by EU policies.
CENPO was the National Coordinator in Romania and had a key-role in the development and implementation of the Grassroots Europe network. The Grassroots Europe for Local Wellbeing initiative was implemented within different grants across the 4 years of implementation:
- PROJECT NAME: Grassroots Capacity Building – Empowerment & Involvement (2013-2014)
- PROJECT NAME: Mobilizing Community Action: For Citizenship, Against Poverty, financed by Europe for Citizens 2012-3735/001-001, applicant: Open Society Foundations, Budapest, CENPO acted as a partner (2012-2013)
- PROJECT NAME: Grassroots Europe for Local Wellbeing Initiative, Europe for Citizens 10-2765/001-001, Applicant- Open Society Foundations, Budapest (2012-2013)
- PROJECT NAME: The development of wellbeing indicators for participatory EU strategy planning for Europe 2020, Europe for Citizens 10-1714/001-001 (2010-2011)
2015- “The governance of educational welfare markets” Peter Lang, ISBN 978-3-0343-1899-0.
2011 – “Rethinking the Quality of Life in Europe. Approaching the current state of wellbeing in Romania, Croatia and Slovakia”, in partnership with Public Policy Centre (RO), Network of Education Policy Centers (NEPC) (Croatia) și Nadacia Skola Dokoran (Wide Open School Foundation) (SK), ISBN 978-973-8973-37-4.
2011 – “Wellbeing: Aspects and Evaluation. Overview of the Literature”, in partnership with Public Policy Centre (RO), Network of Education Policy Centers (NEPC) (Croatia) și Nadacia Skola Dokoran (Wide Open School Foundation) (SK), ISBN 978-973-8973-38-1.
2011- “Developing Wellbeing Indicators for EU 2020 Strategic Participative Planning. Case Study: Romania”, Diana Moraru, Andrei Mureșan, Andreea Suciu.
Centrul pentru Politici Publice (Public Policy Centre)
21 Tebei Street, Cluj Napoca, Cluj, 400305, Romania