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Best Practices in Local Government


This page contains information relating to best practices in local government programs and management. A number of organizations have made special efforts to identify and collect information about successful local government programs and management practices. This page also contains links to several local government awards programs, which are an excellent source for best practices information.

Best Practices Databases and Collections

  • The Washington State Auditor's Local Government Performance Center's Resources page provides links to "leading practices," tools and case studies, among other things, to assist local governments with evaluating services and operations, managing and improving performance and communicating with citizens.
  • National League of Cities (NLC) City Solutions and Applied Research - NLC City Solutions and Applied Research strives to strengthen communities, transform and improve cities, and assist city leaders, by knowing and learning about cities; identifying and sharing promising city practices; fostering effective solutions and innovation; and challenging cities and city leaders to lead..
  • Government Innovator's Network - This portal is produced by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, and is a marketplace of ideas and examples of government innovation. Browse or search to access news, documents, descriptions of award-winning programs, and information on events in your area related to innovation.
  • Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Best Practices and Advisories - GFOA's collection of Best Practices and Advisories have been approved by the GFOA Executive Board after careful development by various standing committees. Each practice and advisory was developed drawing on the collective wisdom of more than 50 persons with extensive and diverse experience in public finance. The best practices are intended to identify enhanced techniques and provide information about effective strategies for state and local government practitioners.
  • Best Practices of City Governments - Search the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Best Practices database by keyword, year or practice collection.
  • Model County Program Database - The National Association of Counties highlight's a number of model programs identified through their annual achievement awards program that represent innovative and creative solutions to the problems local governments face. The database is searchable by year, category, state, and county or by keyword.
  • The National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices - The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) develops innovative solutions to today's most pressing public policy challenges.
  • Best Practices Reviews - The Minnesota Office of the State Auditor conducts "best practice reviews" of local government services in Minnesota. 

Awards Programs

  • AWC Municipal Excellence Awards - The Association of Washington Cities Municipal Excellence Awards recognize innovative municipal projects that significantly improve the quality of life for citizens, establish partnerships, and build community support. The Project Summaries database can be searched by population category, year of submission, or by specifying one of the project categories.
  • The Governor's Smart Communities Awards - This program recognizes outstanding efforts of local communities and their partners throughout Washington state to create quality communities through achieving the goals of the Growth Management Act and other community development objectives.
  • Puget Sound Regional Council's Vision 2040 Awards - Each year the Puget Sound Regional Council honors outstanding real-life examples of how the region is achieving our ambitious vision for growing wisely and creating great quality of life in all the region's communities. See the 1996 - 2011 Winners.
  • National League of Cities City Showcase - The City Showcase is NLC’s premier program celebrating city achievements.
  • Innovations in American Government - Sponsored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation in Harvard's Kennedy School, the Innovations in American Government Awards is the nation's preeminent program devoted to recognizing and promoting excellence and creativity in the public sector. The program highlights exemplary models of government innovation and advances efforts to address the nation's most pressing public concerns. The Innovations Database is searchable by year, location and topic/theme.
  • NACo Achievement Award Program - The National Association of Counties’ Achievement Award Program is a non-competitive awards program that recognizes innovative county government programs. Awards are given in 21 different categories including children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, health, and many more. The Achievement Award Archives are searchable by year, category, state and county.
  • America's Crown Communities - Awards for America's Crown Communities are presented annually by American City & County to recognize local government projects that are unique, cost-effective and have a short- and long-term impact on the community. Program descriptions are available for past winners.

Last Modified: January 22, 2015